Cheshire Interiors - a charming family home in Lymm

PUBLISHED: 13:00 07 June 2013

Kitchen Dining area

Kitchen Dining area


A collaboration between Dusty Colclough and interior designer Andrea Murphy has resulted in a charming home in Lymm to bring up five children.

With its magical woodland at the edge of a beautiful garden and masses of bright airy space, the Lymm home of Dusty and David Colclough is the setting for an idyllic childhood for their five children.

The interior is a stunning contemporary take on country living that’s actually a little deceptive: because while it looks ultra chic and rather expensive the effect has largely been created with pieces bought on the internet or on the high street.

It was an encounter on the school run with interior designer Andrea Murphy which led to a collaboration on a look for a house that is not only visually stunning but also very practical - and indeed it had to be practical because Dusty’s five children are aged from three to 11.

‘I’ve never had an interior designer before and probably what I would have done is bought lots of things for the house and got it all wrong,’ admits full-time mum Dusty.

‘ I had visited a local interior design business but had felt it wasn’t for me. Then I saw Andrea’s house and I loved it. And I really trusted her, it felt right.’

The pair didn’t really know each other before they started work on the project but are now good friends.

Says Andrea: ‘We became friends in the process. You get to know clients well because you’re in constant contact over some time and we worked really well together.’ Dusty takes up the story: ‘We met in September and I was keen to get the living room and kitchen areas done in time for Christmas, which it was. Then we started on the master bedroom in February. Andrea was wonderful.

She created a mood board and would go into stores and put things together she thought I would like and take photos of them - and I would send her photos of things I liked.

‘It was not only good fun, it saved me money in the long run as left alone I would made lots of mistakes and bought things that didn’t work.’

Andrea explains the starting point were key pieces such as sofas and chairs that complimented each other without being matchy-matchy and then adding accessories that ‘brought the room to life’.

And it wasn’t just about choosing the right pieces but arranging furniture to suit the space too, so for example the enormous living room area has been ‘divided’ into sections with a clever arrangement of John Lewis sofas in neutral colours and witty pieces such as the armchair in a dachshund fabric, also from John Lewis, while a wooden sideboard from Halo in Altrincham adds character as well as storage space.

A feature wallpaper from Laura Ashley, quirky extras like the stag’s head from Next and the mirror - an E-Bay find - transform what could be in less skilled hands a large cavernous space into a comfortable and welcoming room. The log burner is in an area marked out as a space for the grown-ups while the other end is designed as a family area.

One small pine antique cabinet is the only piece in the room that Dusty transferred from her old house in Bowdon but it looks far from incongruous and Andrea insists that she designs for her clients rather than imposes trends and looks that don’t fit in with their lifestyle.

At the back of the ground floor the kitchen diner is another wide living space that with its rustic Smallbone units and exposed brickwork already had the feel of a country kitchen. Dusty had already bought the blue and white striped sofa and the curtains from Ikea that gives the room its fresh New England vibe but it was up to Andrea to bring everything together in a more coherent way.

‘I didn’t want everything to be too expensive as the kids would be running in. I wanted it to be child friendly,’ says Dusty.

‘With the garden being there I wanted them to be able to come in and jump on the sofas without me fretting.’

The boldest piece in this area is a fabulous scrubbed wooden table custom-made by an internet retailer that is big enough to accommodate the entire family and assorted “other people’s children” and there’s an eclectic mix of chairs, some from Sylvan Furniture in Warrington that were painted to coordinate with the colour scheme.

‘My favourite piece is the dresser. I had always wanted one and we found this on the internet,’ says Dusty.

‘The tins on the kitchen counter were also off the internet and next to those are my cookery books. I really enjoy baking and used to make a loaf of bread nearly every day.

The bunting is from Wilkinsons and the Dualit toaster and Tala baking bits and pieces are from Selfridges.’

There is a more formal dining room across from the sitting room and this has been designed around a circular table - from Dusty’s previous house - and her daughters’ piano and decorated in Laura Ashley wallpaper and paint. A John Lewis mirror adds some glamour.

Upstairs the master bedroom has a New England coastal feel in fresh creams and pale blues. It’s a fantastic space with a flight of stairs that leads to a window seat and which Dusty says her children like to treat as a ‘stage’.

Wicker baskets which are beneath the bed provide a neat storage solution, lights are from IKEA and the bedroom mirror was from Dunelm Mill.

Explains Dusty: ‘Originally I was going to keep the wallpaper in here because there was nothing wrong with it but Andrea asked me if I liked it and I didn’t really. It was dark. I would have left it as it is but I am so glad I took her advice because I love this room.

‘And I am so pleased I let Andrea design the interior. It was good to have the honesty and really, if it had been left up to me, I wouldn’t have known where to start.

‘She fulfilled the brief of ‘homely’ beautifully and I am so pleased that Andrea did this for me.’

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