Style stories

Notes on the Old School House

This characterful old school house in Oxfordshire was due a big over haul.

When Katrina got in contact with me, she’d already renovated her kitchen and dining area and was ready to embark on every other room of the house!

She had a busy job, so didn’t have the time to put to it and was also keen to use colour but didn’t have the confidence- a combination that many of my clients seem to have!

Living Room

This is what the living room looked like when I began to put the schemes together.

There were a number of practical issues to sort out before we began to look at the colour scheme. They were:

The front door opened straight into the living room with nowhere to put coats or keys or any of those bits that tend to hang around the front door!

The living room was long and sadly, one end wasn’t being used at all which was a real waste.

There was little storage throughout the house and so Katrina asked me to incorporate built in storage wherever possible.

The light levels were low in the house (mainly because the older part of the cottage has small windows typical of the period) so we needed to look at what could be done.

 Very quickly, we agreed with the idea of dividing the room with fixed wooden open shelves. They needed to make an impact but not divide the space too much.

(Ignore the filled in panels on the left- that was drawer error!)

This concept helped Katrina and Stuart visualise the space as well as communicate to the carpenter what the idea was. 

One end of the room was to be the ‘cosy’ end next to the fire and the other end, a lighter ‘morning’ space for reading.

Katrina had already used an aubergine purple feature wall behind her sofa so I knew she would embrace a dark palette. We looked at these images on Pinterest and she decided on the deep blue. That meant we could use a fresh pale blue for the opposite end.

Not only does the architectural shelving create a visual break to the front door, it also created this new reading corner next to the window.

Katrina requested a bar cart but we went one step further and created a built in bar instead!

The cupboard under the stairs was quite difficult to access and use effectively, so instead we blocked up the top to make the shelving unit and a very deep cupboard underneath (used for easy access suitcase storage!)


This little office space was really in need of some TLC…. so I gave it some!

I used a beautiful wildflower illustration mural across the back wall (which you can see as you walk past the room) and we had these floor to ceiling cupboards built which houses all the usual office paraphernalia.


Moving on to the dark stairway, the previous owners had attempted to borrow some light by building a wall of glass bricks in the bathroom… it really didn’t look very pretty or was very effective!

I suggested installing a light tunnel (and even on dull days the light is amazing!). They really are a cost effective way of getting light in to a top floor ceiling.

We used one like this from Sterlingbuild. It is such a simple idea and well worth a consideration if you have a landing like this once was.


The bathroom was small so the layout couldn’t really change but the owners decided to do away with the bath and have a large walk in shower instead. See those awful glass bricks?!

This was the solution. We used beautiful Fired Earth tiles laid in a vertical offset stack to mirror the end wall dimensions and wrapped the tiles around the shower area.

We packed a punch with this vanity unit with a marble top and wall mounted fittings.

We tidied up this area outside the bathroom to provide more storage.

Bedrooms & Dressing Room

There are 3 bedrooms upstairs but the owners wanted to create a dressing room with access directly from the master bedroom. Here are the 2 rooms before…

A bright reading corner from the Crowell Hill project

We knocked through the wall and added the sliding door and matched it to the new fitted wardrobes in the dressing room.

So there you have it! The walk around of the Old School House. I hope this gives you some inspiration of how to put some colour palettes together for yourself. If you need a helping hand to find a colour palette for yourself, do get in touch!

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. more information