Cheshire Interiors - A Victorian property in Frodsham
PUBLISHED: 00:00 06 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:25 27 August 2014
A 'perfect' family home in Frodsham now has an ideal space for guests, thanks to a collaboration with a local interior designer
Summer is an idyllic time for Pip Calder and her family, because it is then that she can truly enjoy the beauties of her Victorian home which nestles amidst 22 acres of stunning garden in Frodsham.
But she also loves sharing this stunning house with friends and family, which is why she called in the services of local interior designer Chris Blythe to transform a little used attic space into guest accommodation.
‘The house was ac tually built by an industrialist which pleases my husband immensely as he’s one himself,’ says Pip as we relax in her huge elegant sitting room, overlooking the verdant garden which rolls down to woodland and the countryside beyond.
‘The man who originally had it built was William Mortimer, a tanner who traded in buffalo hide from America. The house’s history is a bit sketchy actually. There was a period when it was a mother and baby unit which I think was part of the National Children’s Home and when we moved in, the tiny room at the top still had old nursery wallpaper and curtains up there. It can only be from that time because there were no children in the house - not until my lot anyway!’
Having lived around Frodsham for about 20 years the family didn’t want to move away from the area which combines village life with great connections to the city and beyond. Fortunately the seven bedrooms and three reception rooms were exactly what Pip required for her busy daily life.
‘We needed somewhere that would suit my husband’s business as we often have to entertain and have people staying over,’ she explains.
‘So we had to make the top floor almost like a stand-alone guest apartment and got the builders in. One was what the children used to call “the spooky room”. You wouldn’t know it now but it was really just a box room and crammed full of junk. We wanted to make it into a sitting room and I really needed help and advice so Chris came recommended .
‘I already knew I wanted the design to be quite traditional but there’s too much choice out there and it can be quite overwhelming. Fortunately, Chris very quickly worked out my character, the character of the house and colours.
Chris takes up the story: ‘As soon as I came round I said “I’ll bring you a few samples but there is one particular collection that I think will suit you”. I know you weren’t quite convinced at first but then you saw how it could work.
Says Pip: ‘It’s absolutely stunning. We took on board an old single bed that had been my father’s and which I didn’t want to get rid of, as well as a few personal items that created the feel of the room and the result was perfect.’
The rest of the house is totally family-friendly and designed around the hustle and bustle involving children aged 16, 13 and nine, visitors and an excitable dog named Dylan.
‘This room had already been done when we moved in, ‘ says Pip surveying the main sitting room. ‘The previous owners even left the furniture. We just did the basic decorative things. For example, the picture on the wall was a wedding anniversary gift from my husband when we were in Provence. The most important concern for us when we moved in was it had to fit around us as a family and although, I admit, it IS a beautiful house , it’s not precious. It’s lived in. The children have a lot of friends around, parties and at the end of the day it’s where we live.’
Pip takes care of the house herself but one of the things she definitely needs help with is the superbly maintained garden, complete with what she calls the ‘pond’ which even has its own heron.
‘We have a gardener two days a week because we couldn’t possibly do it ourselves,’ she says.
‘ I haven’t got the interest. I can appreciate the garden but I wouldn’t really know where to begin.’
It was a similar story with regard to the interior design and that’s when she contacted Chris at CB Interiors, a Frodsham-based interior design company, initially with some apprehension.
‘I felt huge trepidation as while this is a big house it will never be a show home. it has a huge amount of history and I didn’t want to lose that character,’ explains Pip.
‘Part of the trepidation wasn’t just about making sure the house hangs together but I didn’t want to be re-doing things too quickly. Fortunately Chris and I got on really well and she instinctively seemed to know what I wanted. We have a basement and are now working on plans for that.’
The upshot is that Pip’s husband’s old teddy bear and her father’s old bed have been worked into the design in the newly decorated rooms.
Says Chris: ‘I feel very privileged as the house is so beautiful and it certainly isn’t something you get to do every day. It has got a lovely warm feeling. It’s very, very homely. I’m a great believer that the client keeps pieces that mean something to them. There’s no pressure and we return and return until we get it right. When the client’s happy, I’m happy.’
Chris Blythe is an interior designer at CB Interiors Frodsham. Here she explains how she achieved the look for the bedrooms.
‘All the fabrics used are from Prestigious Textiles from the Springfield Collection, the main bedroom was done in Apple colourway and the second bedroom in Fuchsia and the office in Bluebell. The poles and tie-backs were from Hallis Hudson. The throws were from John Lewis.
The sofa was by Camerich who made it in Cappuccino Damask with matching cushions. The overhead lamp was also sourced from London and carpets throughout were Westex Ultima Major carpets in Alabaster colour.
The mirror in the bedroom was a find in an antique showroom in Manchester, the lighting was BHS, all the bedding and headboards were made and supplied by CB Interiors. The baskets were from Next and accessories were owner’s own.’
77 Townfield Lane, Frodsham, Cheshire WA6 7RF
01928 739249 www.cbinteriors.co.uk