Name: Vicky and Ross Smith, and daughters Olivia & Florence
Location: Guildford, UK
Size: 1,200 square feet
Years lived in: 3 1/2 years
With its pared-back yet warm feel, understated color palette and abundant natural light, this family home in the Southern-English county of Surrey is inspired by many elements of contemporary Scandinavian style. Homeowners Vicky and Ross have given priority to maximizing the light by creating an open-plan kitchen and dining space with large windows on two sides; keeping window treatments minimal for an uncluttered look; and a clever use of mirrors. They've added warmth and texture with wooden flooring, furniture and accessories, warm metallic accessories such as the brass tap and drawer handles in the kitchen, as well as tactile textiles and plenty of plants.
With her background in the fashion industry and currently working as a hair stylist for Aveda at Mary Ann Weeks, Vicky knows how to combine different elements to create an effortlessly beautiful and not too put-together look. She has chosen both contemporary and vintage pieces for her home — each one chosen because she finds it beautiful — drawing on a range of eras from Victorian to mid-century, with Victorian sofas reupholstered in contemporary fabrics and Arne Jacobsen-style dining chairs.
The house had been untouched for decades when Vicky and Ross moved in, and it was in need of a complete renovation. The work took them six months to complete, and Vicky and Ross did most of the work themselves, from tiling to electrics (Ross is a qualified electrician and works as a manager in construction) to the interior design and finishing. They continued to live in the house throughout the renovation — and although it was something of an adventure for their two girls to sleep in the opened-up space upstairs with only one remaining internal wall, filled with brick dust, it proved something of a challenge at times for Vicky and Ross! But it was undoubtedly worth it, now the work is complete and the family can enjoy living in their beautiful and comfortable new space.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: A Scandinavian-inspired blend of country, modern and industrial
Inspiration: I draw inspiration from all kinds of art — my favourites are Picasso and Barbara Hepworth sculptures — as well as fashion and nature. I'm also really inspired by historical houses such as Farley Farm in East Sussex and the houses of the National Trust.
Favorite Element: The light. Being from Leigh-on-Sea with its amazing coastal light, the light in my home is really important to me. I maximise it by using large mirrors wherever I can, such as in the fireplace.
Biggest Challenge: Living on a building site with two children while the house was being renovated — it took six months.
What Friends Say: It's beautiful yet homely
Biggest Embarrassment: Buying a flea-ridden Victorian sofa. After we got it home, it took months to realise it had fleas — but after being stripped and rebuilt, it's now good as new.
Proudest DIY: Hand-painting the kitchen — it took four coats and was a lot harder than we were expecting!
Biggest Indulgence: We splashed out on the Gandia Blasco rug from Heals for the living room.
Best Advice: Choose timeless pieces that you absolutely love. I always imagine the item sitting alone on a shelf or in a room and think, do I love it? rather than worrying about whether it fits with other pieces. If you love it, it'll work.
Dream Sources: The Conran Shop, Abigail Aherne; and for antique pieces, the antique shops of Petworth and Arundel as well as Ormston Saint
Explore This Style:
PAINT & COLORS
Farrow & Ball Strong White (living room); Ammonite, Railings, Pigeon (kitchen); Cornforth White (master bedroom); Vardo (child's bedroom)
Dulux Brilliant White (dining room)
Crown Chance (bedroom with bunk beds)
Mirror — antique shop, Broadway Market, London
Rug — Heals
Cushions — Nikki Jones
Victorian 2-seater couch — covered in Ian Mankin fabric
Alpaca throw — Elvang
Corner sofa — Ikea customised with Superfront legs
Blinds — Romo Linara "Porridge"
Mirror — Ikea
African art — ebay
Pendant light — Ikea
Blinds — Romo Linara "Feather Grey"
Machinist's chair — from an antique shop in Arundel
Cabinet — Amara, and painted in Farrow and Ball Off-Black
Crockery — Wattle & Daub and Muji
Macrame hangers, pots and plans — Bunches, Leigh-on-Sea
Kitchen — British Standard
Island — painted in Farrow and Ball Railings
Larder —painted in Farrow and Ball Pigeon
Brass tap — Tapwell
Handles — Arts of Brass on Etsy
Pendant lights — Olde Brick Lighting
Bed — Ercol
French antique mirror — 1600 from Northcote Road
Bunk bed — Argos
Bedding — Smallable