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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (opens in new tab) design, one of Lizzie’s favourites.
Dave and Lizzie were frequent visitors to the William Morris Gallery (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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.
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.
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.
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
This house is taken from H&G's sister brand, Period Living magazine
Subscribe to Period Living for more inspiration (opens in new tab) Period Living is the UK's best-selling period homes magazine. A subscription provides you with all you need to know about caring for and improving a traditional house and garden.