Gorgeous Home Guide: Fenella George’s 1950s country renovation

Interior designer Fenella George lives in this beautiful four-bedroom detached house in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside with her husband Andrew and their daughter. Take the home tour now…

‘Relocation due to Andrew's work in TV production brought us to the Cotswolds,’ says Fenella. ‘My mother drove through the area one day and remarked on what a good central base it would make for us. We spent the next ten months renting a modern property while looking around for somewhere off the beaten track to buy.’

The couple noticed this 1950s property for sale in a local newspaper and decided to take a look. ‘It needed updating, which I think was putting people off from buying it,’ says Fenella. ‘It had rusty, brown metal windows, an abandoned swing seat outside and an avocado and brown bathroom suite - it definitely had room for improvement and we were ready to take on the task of doing it up.’

The couple work well together as a team as they share similar tastes, and set about stamping their mark on the home. ‘We both like things to be fairly uncluttered, so we focused initially on making the spaces free-flowing throughout the house,’ says Fenella. ‘As Andrew is a keen cook, he had the major creative input in the layout of the kitchen cabinets, and I picked out all the pieces of furniture, lighting and accessories. The main task for the builders was to knock down three walls downstairs, to make way for a contemporary kitchen and seating area. Glass sliding doors were installed to give a spectacular view of the garden.’

‘We didn’t want to fit bi-fold doors, as for most of the year they would be closed, obstructing the vision with rather a lot of frames and we wanted to maximize the view,’ says Fenella. The couple created an open-plan kitchen and seating area, looking out onto the lush green, tree-lined garden. The copper pendant lamps are one of Fenella’s favourite purchases. ‘I love the warmth that copper contributes to an interior,' she says.

The stone dining table has been given extra detail by placing skeleton leaves under the glass top, to add interest and soften the overall appearance. The moose adds humour to the dining room and is a great talking point for visiting friends. ‘I need to put up a ‘mind the moose’ sign because of the number of friends that have walked into him,’ smiles Fenella.

‘The sitting room is naturally a dark space, so instead of trying to lighten it, I decided to go with a cocoon effect environment, using rich tones and bold pieces of furniture.’ says Fenella.

Upstairs, the couple decorated throughout and installed new bathrooms and a combination of wide board, light-oak flooring and carpets. ‘The colour scheme in our bedroom came from the grey photographic images on the front of our wardrobes,’ says Fenella.

Fenella continued the soft tones in her bedroom, influenced by the graphic panels in her dressing room; she chose pale grey and white for a serene, luxurious feel.

Strong statement pieces adorn the daughter's room, with metallic wallpaper in a bold design and a bright pink ball chair. Fenella decided to embellish the dressing table by adding wallpaper to the drawer fronts, giving a unique touch to the room.

Natural tones, with tree design feature wallpaper, create a harmonious family bathroom.

The 1950s-style property has enabled Fenella to influence the interior with her signature style. ‘It was an unusual house to design as it is neither an old cottage, nor a contemporary glass structure,' she says. 'Keeping downstairs more modern and upstairs more cosy and classic seemed like a good solution and an opportunity to mix old and new styles -something I love to do.’

Words adapted from: Ann Broad, Photos: Colin Poole

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor