Our overseas clients purchased this home in March 2019 after a single viewing; they intended to make the move from Australia to Edinburgh in time for Christmas. They enlisted the team at Jeffreys Interiors having visited our Edinburgh showroom to take on a full overhaul of the house in time for their arrival, making their transition to a new country as seamless as possible for them and their children.
Designer Kimberley Bremner, one of a team of seven at Jeffreys Interiors, took on this challenge with gusto, liaising remotely with the clients to establish their brief and commence design. This was pre-pandemic; many of the distanced working skills we established during this project prepared us for the adaptations required with home working throughout 2020. There is always a silver lining!
Ann Street in Edinburgh has a storied history – it was beloved by the Queen Mother, who always insisted driving along it when visiting Edinburgh; it was the inspiration for JM Barrie’s Quality Street; and to this day it stands as a well-preserved example of Georgian architecture with the unusual addition of long front gardens to encourage a more elite community feel.
The clients’ current home was an ultra-modern glass box in Australia. For their move to Edinburgh, they decided that a complete contrast was in order – somewhere with original character; a chance to embrace a dark, layered, and cozy interior; a place maximized for indoor living.
Their new home fit the bill perfectly, with its multitude original features with some cosy rooms with fireplaces, and a magnificent staircase spanning the property’s four levels. It was in good condition, but tired and required work to become suitable for a family.
Our designer took time to research, create and photograph mood-boards for each room before sending them off to Australia with a collection of samples. The clients loved it and not a single thing was changed from the original design which means that we have been able to deliver a cohesive, top to toe interior.
Taking inspiration from the clients’ art, their extensive travel history, and their desire for warm, textured layering, Kimberley set to work. She wanted each room to be tied together but have its own identity – the main linking features were the palette of rich inky blue (Basalt by Little Greene), mustards, and olive greens, and the magnificent spiral staircase. The existing runner was replaced with a new carpet by Roger Oates and was laid to perfection by Total Flooring.
The basement kitchen was provided by Edinburgh-based Peden and Pringle. It followed the basic footprint of the existing kitchen but modernized and increased storage and specification – a double doored larder is a convenient and stylish feature, while the painted cabinets in Farrow and Ball’s Studio Green continue the deep earthy tones in the rest of the house. Peden and Pringle also created a bespoke dining table and banquette seating area in this space which has the dual benefit of aligning seamlessly with the kitchen design and providing a space-saving seating solution.
On the ground floor, the lounge is decorated with a charcoal wallpaper by Jim Thompson denoting a fantastical Thai silk-weaving scene, while bespoke furniture made in Edinburgh by Charlotte James provide a tailored, but comfortable space for the family to enjoy together.
It was important to the clients that they were able to incorporate their existing pieces in their new home, so their selections were inventoried, photographed, and measured prior to shipping to the UK so that they were included as part of the design, rather than shoehorned in while unpacking.
In the lounge, this is demonstrated in the aboriginal artwork and mid-century sideboard which fit seamlessly into the room. Each piece of art was considered and pre-positioned, and a new piece by Scottish artist Alan Davie was purchased to commemorate this move – it has pride of place on the landing outside the master bedroom.
The master bedroom suite is the jewel in the crown of this home. Originally used as the lounge, the first-floor bedroom runs along the entire frontage of the house boasting three magnificent windows and a wood-burning stove.
Contractors, Bann, were commissioned to transform the adjacent storage space into a serene en-suite shower room, while Peden and Pringle brought their bespoke cabinetry talents into the box room next door, transforming it into a sublimely organized dressing room with an extra touch of frivolity coming from the House of Hackney roman blind.
Kimberley adores the bedroom and the finishing touches that serve to take it over the edge into pure luxury. The fringed Dedar trim round the headboard, the patterned trim and lining on the curtains, and the silk inlays in the drawers are all special touches, while the Porta Romana ceiling light finishes the room beautifully.
Up on the second floor, two cramped, coombed attic rooms have been transformed into a vibrant bedroom and chill out space for a teenage girl. The verdant wallpaper (Bonsai, by Pierre Frey) and Tuscan red walls are a palette departure from the rest of the home, but maintain the deeply personal feel of the rest of the house as the colours are inspired by a trip to the Simpson Desert in Australia.
This project moved quickly. From first meeting to installation was a mere nine months, but this was achieved by excellent communication, drive, and vision between the client and designer. The result is striking – from a pristine Georgian façade, you are welcomed into a rich, enveloping home with a tailored yet accumulated feel where everything just… works.
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