House Design

This home – full of art and heritage prints – makes Christmas merry and bright

More is more in this Cornish home – with William Morris prints and bright textiles creating a colorful celebration

colorful william morris prints
(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

An abundance of William Morris designs, colorful textiles and all shades of green make for a cozy Christmas celebration in this characterful home. 

Arts and crafts play a huge role in the lives of homeowners Lizzie Houghton and her husband Dave Puddifoot. So when they left their London home of 40 years for the quiet of Penzance, in Cornwall, it was inevitable that their new home would be a creative kind of place, fit for one of the worlds best homes.

The home was built in the mid-18th century, then remodelled in 1820, and its kitchen is full of inspiration for those looking for kitchen ideas. William Morris wallpapers and fabrics feature in almost every room, along with shades of green, piles of Lizzie's hand-embroidered cushions and homemade rag rugs, and Dave’s distinctive original paintings and sculptures.

exterior side view of Regency style home in winter with palm trees and bare branches on trees

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

The couple had agreed that they would only move to Cornwall if they could find a house they loved more than their home in London. Over time, and after many viewings, they eventually came across the house that was to become their Cornwall home.

‘We loved its Regency architecture, spacious rooms and beautiful garden,’ says Lizzie. The fact that it also has six bedrooms, including a studio each and a music room, both for playing and listening, and plenty of space for family and friends to come and stay, was a great bonus. 

Kitchen

dining table with red cloth and festive details with dark kitchen cabinets and aga behind

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

The house comes into its own at Christmas when extended family and friends fill the house for a festive meal around the kitchen table on Christmas Eve. There's an old Aga and a Lacanche range cooker in here, so it's easy to cater for all occasions – including big Christmases. 

dining table with red cloth and christmas details with period fireplace behind

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

An elegant chandelier above the kitchen table adds extra sparkle – a great way of getting a period look for those interested in vintage kitchen ideas. This elegant example was one of the many special fixtures and fittings inherited with the house.  The dining chairs came from a junk shop in Penzance and the table is laden with antique crockery, usually stored in the dresser that came with the house. One of Lizzie’s embroidered pictures, based on Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst Castle Garden, takes pride of place on the mantelpiece. 

Details like these create a warm, welcoming mix of old and even older – family heirlooms fitting in alongside antiques bought over the years, with layers of craft work, pottery and paintings adding a colourful reminder of Lizzie and Dave’s artistic talents. Dave still paints and Lizzie continues to create clothes, rag rugs and beautiful cushions, which give their home its unique character.

Entrance hall

colorful china on a dresser with fairy lights and floral print wallpaper behind

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

The collection of decorative china and crockery is so extensive that it overflows onto a second dresser in the entrance hall. Lizzie loves decorative details of all kinds, but her real passion is for William Morris prints. The wallpaper here is William Morris’ Bird and Pomegranate design, one of Lizzie’s favourites. 

Living room

Living room with christmas tree and fireplace and traditional wallpaper with fruit print and dado rail

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

Dave and Lizzie were frequent visitors to the William Morris Gallery in east London. When the gallery was refurbished it sold off some of the carpet. Lizzie bought the carpet and when they moved to Cornwall, the local carpet shop adapted it for the living room and stairs. It was quite a responsibility but the couple are delighted with the results and the carpet is Lizzie’s pride and joy, along with the William Morris Fruit wallpaper that covers the living room walls, and other prints elsewhere in the house. The designs reflect her other great passion in life, flowers and greenery, and the house as a whole is a great showcase for traditional decorating ideas, with inspiring schemes for fans of classic wallpaper and fabric designs.

Bedroom

Victorian chaise longue with floral print and needlepoint cushions by the bedroom window with festive foliage and leafy wallpaper design

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

The rooms where the couple spend most time all face the garden, so there is a direct link between the view outdoors and the interior décor. One of the enviable bedroom ideas here, is the Victorian chaise longue reupholstered in William Morris woven Dove and Rose fabric, with needlepoint cushions from a charity store. Positioned right by the elegant Georgian sash windows to make the most of the garden and sea views, the chaise complements the Morris Bird and Pomegranate wallpaper and Liberty carpet bought from a house clearance. 

double wrought iron and brass bed with bright quilts and leafy patterned wallpaper and curtains

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

The curtains are also a William Morris design, and were repurposed from the couple's London home along with the Indian quilts on the antique French bed, all bought many years ago in London.

Bathroom

bathroom with green walls and roll top bath with marble effect sides and period style shower enclosure and large plant and rag rugs on limestone style floor tiles

(Image credit: Mark Bolton)

The traditional-style roll-top bath and shower surround were already here, but the  walls have been given a coat of rich green paint and the travertine flooring softened with colorful Indian scatter rugs. 

Thanks to a forest of different greens and layer upon layer of William Morris prints all round the house, the interiors are full of color and pattern. This is a home where more is most definitely more.

Words/ Heather Dixon
Photographs/ Mark Bolton

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This house is taken from H&G's sister brand, Period Living magazine

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Karen Darlow
Karen Darlow

I'm the homes editor of Period Living magazine and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. I've also moved house quite a few times – totting up 10 homes in 12 years during a particularly nomadic time in my life. I like to think that makes me quite the homes expert, or at least very experienced and with a clear idea of what I like and don't like in a home. 

I love visiting and writing about old houses for Homes & Gardens' sister magazine Period Living and working with photographers to capture all kinds of historic properties. It's inspiring to talk to people about their traditional homes and to hear the stories behind their furnishing and decorating choices. And by the time I've finished an interview with a homeowner I've always got a handful of new ideas to try in my own house, as well as plenty of good stories for the magazine. It's the perfect work-life balance.