Real Rooms: A Farmhouse Filled With Colour And Books
Today, we have two gorgeous children's bedrooms to share with you, belonging to the most formidable bookworms we've come across. If ever there was a need for our book storage, it's in this beautiful farmhouse. Let's find out more!
Type of home: A North Wales farmhouse
Who lives here: Business consultant, Rachel, her husband Randal, and their two daughters, Maria (8) and Matilda (6).
Room(s): Maria and Matilda's bedrooms
Can you tell us a little bit about the rooms and how they're used?
We renovated the bedrooms in 2017 as part of a much bigger project with Raise Architects to extend and update the farmhouse in which I grew up, after my parents downsized. The girls are usually very happy to have their own room although just occasionally they make a huge fuss about wanting to share. As a result I decided to set up Matilda’s room as a twin room to cope with this eventuality. It’s also great for sleepovers, which we are just getting into.
How much of the décor is down to you? Did you let the girls have a say?
I was pretty harsh when it came to the décor. At one point, I stood in a fabric shop saying, 'you can choose your own fabrics for your rooms'. As the words came out of my mouth, I realised that could lead to disaster as their tastes change so quickly. From then on I back pedalled fast!
I decided the walls would be the same as everywhere else in the house (Keim 9335 breathable paint). Both girls also had the same curtains in a pale grey fabric. I then focused heavily on the (one or two) things the girls could choose for themselves – cushions and a large rug for the floor basically!
On the whole, it didn’t lead to any problems – although Matilda desperately wanted a bunk bed and still hasn’t quite forgiven me for going with two single beds. Obviously in saying this I’m reminded that I’m a complete control freak.
What do the girls like best about their rooms?
Matilda loves her canopy. It’s a sort of compensation for the lack of a bunk bed. For Maria it would be a toss-up between her bed and the big spotty floor rug that she loves to sprawl all over (a necessary addition due to the unforgiving wooden floors underneath).
If you (or they) could make any changes, what would they be?
Matilda would have the bunk bed she dreams about. Maria seems pretty happy with everything. I would probably try to find more solutions for book storage as they seem to be multiplying fast and I’m reluctant to get rid of them once they’ve been read.
You're brilliant at mixing old and new. Do you have any tips for successfully combining antiques and heirlooms with more contemporary furniture and accessories?
Combining old and new happened more out of necessity than as part of a plan. When I met Randal I was living in a chocolate box listed cottage, while he loves very modern architecture and a minimalist look… so we had an interesting mix of stuff!
In moving to the farmhouse, we knew we would also be adopting some very traditional furniture (e.g., a Welsh dresser) that would only work for the look we wanted if paired with other highly contemporary items.
It’s still a work in progress and I’m learning as I go. My advice – don’t hold back – go ultra modern when pairing with the traditional and focus on great designs that will look good wherever they are (e.g., the Vitra elephant). If you go for a halfway house it doesn’t work as well.
We notice that your daughters have a love of books. Do they have any book recommendations that they'd like to share?
Yes books are featuring heavily at the moment. The Noisy Village series by Astrid Lindgren were recommended by a German friend and have been a big favourite over the summer (The Book People are selling the set of three currently, it’s brilliant value).
We love books with strong female role models and have enjoyed both Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls volumes, as well as the Fantastically Great Women books by Kate Pankhurst.
Maria has also just discovered Megan Rix, whose books are based around animals but set during key historical events such as the Great Fire of London.
Which GLTC products are your favourites for children's rooms?
Without a doubt the rugs. The size is just fantastic and when we looked at other options elsewhere we also realised that the GLTC rugs were so much thicker too.
Our favourite GLTC product ever isn’t in the children’s room but in our bomb site of a playroom – our 5 or 6 year old GLTC shop has been used as a Post Office, a travel agent, a shop, a theatre and a drinks stall. A forerunner to the new Sixpence Play Shop, I can’t see us getting rid of it for a few more years yet.
Do you have your eye on anything else?
I love the Compass Bookcase but am not sure we’d have space for it. Instead I am very taken with the This Way That Way shelves (note the plural as I don’t think I’d be able to buy just one). The bedtime book pockets are a great idea, too.
Finally, what makes a happy home for you?
Plenty of chaos, plenty of family and a bottle of decent wine to cope with it all.
A huge thank you to Rachel for taking the time to answer our questions and show us around her beautiful home. If you'd like to take part in our Real Rooms serious, do let us know in the comments.
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