With a house built for entertaining and family on the doorstep, interior designer Anna Crecraft is looking forward to a happy Christmas. Sharon Dale reports. Pictures by Scott Merrylees.
Chris Rea’s Driving Home For Christmas will be on the playlist for many as they sit “top-to-toe in tailbacks” over the next couple of days. The zero prospect of being caught in a festive traffic jam is one of many reasons why interior designer Anna Crecraft and her husband, Bradley, are delighted to have family on the doorstep.
Thanks to an innovative self-build project, the couple live in a small gated development of three detached houses in a village near Wakefield. Bradley’s mother and brother live just steps away and there’s a vacant plot waiting for his younger brother when he is ready to build his own home.
“It’s lovely on Christmas Day. We go to Bradley’s brother’s for coffee in the morning, the children play out with their new toys then everyone comes over here to eat,” says Anna.
The properties were constructed as a crescent on the site of a large house that sat in two acres of grounds.
“It belonged to my mum so we just needed planning permission to demolish it to make way for four homes,” says Bradley.
Planning was granted and Anna and Bradley spent 16 months on the construction and fit-out. They moved in six years ago.
“We took our time to get it right and it’s solid. In a lot of new properties, noise travels but our house has solid internal walls and block and beam floors,” says Bradley.
The couple, who have three children, Mia, 12, eight-year-old Harry and Lily, two, were heavily involved in the design and project management, and decided on a large open-plan area on the ground floor, which opens out on to the garden.
“We do a lot of entertaining so it works really well,” says Anna, who chose practical, polished porcelain tiles for flooring.
The space includes a large kitchen with an island, a curved partial wall that creates separation from the dining area and two sitting areas, one of which is on a raised and carpeted platform.
“We wanted to define that area and that’s where we snuggle up to watch TV together as a family,” says Anna, who also designed an adjacent, separate sitting room with pocket doors that can be closed off or opened up for big get-togethers.
Upstairs on the first floor there are three bedrooms with en-suites and the second floor is home to the guest bedroom and Anna’s office.
Her work room is full of fabrics, sample books and accessories. She studied business at university and had a career in account management but fitting out her own home fired her interest in pursuing a lifelong love of design. She enrolled on a course at the KLC School in London and has been in demand ever since, creating interiors for everything from period to contemporary houses to show homes and a villa in the south of France.
She describes her style as “classic contemporary” and one of her design icons is Kelly Hoppen. Her own home reflects her taste for restful, luxurious and practical interiors full of texture.
“It’s a look that stands the test of time and if you use neutral colours as a backdrop they are easy to update with accessories, such as scatter cushions,” says Anna.
While she splashes out on bespoke upholstery, good-quality furniture, Villeroy and Boch bathrooms and wallpaper by Cole & Son and Zoffany, she also takes a “luxe for less” approach where she can. That applies to her own home and those of clients who have a tight budget.
“Spending money on upholstery is a really good investment but you can get some great accessories from places like HomeSense. I’ve just sourced some lighting from the Laura Ashley sale, which is a good alternative if a client can’t afford top brands like Porta Romana,” she says.
Anna’s Christmas decor follows a white and silver theme with added festive greenery, pine cones and white poinsettias. The tree is a luxury faux spruce by Balsam Hill after she gave up a battle to keep real trees alive in her newly-built home.
“It was impossible thanks to the underfloor heating. I’d water the tree every day in an effort to keep it alive but the heating dried it out and by Christmas Day it is was dead. The fake tree cost £400 so it was expensive but it will last for years so we should get our money’s worth,” says Anna, who says her “guilty pleasure” is candles. Favourites include those by Neom and Diptyque and this time of year is a good excuse to buy more and to add fairy lights for extra twinkle.
She also invests in a few new tree decorations each year. The latest additions are baubles from a maker on Notonthehighstreet.co.uk, which feature her children’s names.
“A lot of the baubles have nice memories attached,” says Anna, who will be playing host to the rest of the family for Christmas dinner.
It’s something she and Bradley enjoy. “I keep it quite simple with a white tablecloth, silver stars from the White Company, greenery and candles,” says Anna, who is looking forward to one of her favourite festive traditions.
“I usually pop out to Leeds early on Christmas Eve and pick up any last-minute presents and then we go to the local pub for a glass of wine with friends before getting back home in time for tea.
“Then we all put our new Christmas pyjamas on, have mince pies and Baileys and snuggle down to watch a Christmas movie.”
Anna Crecraft Interiors, www.annacrecraftinteriors.com