Known for her punchy use of color and encyclopaedic knowledge of pattern, Jessica Buckley is an interior designer who understands how to layer and balance. It was these attributes that her latest clients, the new owners of an Edinburgh townhouse, especially sought out.
‘The young couple approached us because they felt if they came up with the interior schemes themselves, they would be too safe,’ says Jessica.
The property, on one of Edinburgh New Town’s most desirable streets, was in a state of neglect when her clients bought it, so a full renovation was in order.
‘The layout was confused and it wasn’t clear why certain decisions had been made,’ says Jessica. ‘The old pine floors were creaky and the colors were drab. The kitchen was also tired so everything was due for a rip out and start again.’
Despite its poor condition, the architectural details like the cornicing and ceiling roses were intact ensuring that the new interior would have an elegant backdrop.
While the planning stage of the renovation went smoothly, the work on site was stymied by the pandemic. ‘We placed orders for everything and then the world just stopped with the project put on hold,’ says Jessica. ‘We spent a few weeks waiting to make sure each company would fulfil our order but ultimately it all worked out.’
The living room adjoins the kitchen and has become a relaxed space where the children can play.
Living room ideas, such as cream walls and curtains allow the pretty prints to become the focus.
The old iteration of the house had placed the kitchen on the first floor to the rear so it was moved to the ground floor where it would be more practical for a family.
The clients opted for pale hues to counterbalance the north-facing light. The mantel and herringbone tiling provide decorative kitchen ideas.
Noting the couple’s desire for a more exclusively grown-up space, Jessica portioned the open-plan space on the first floor where the old kitchen had been to create a drawing room with the main bedroom next door.
'The clients wanted a relaxed and welcoming family home with nothing too shouty or standout. They love blue and pink as much as I do, which was fortunate, but they were generally drawn to a very soft palette. I felt that it would need a bit of punctuation so I wanted to inject some darker blues, greens and raspberry tones to counterbalance the pale, pretty colors,’ Jessica explains.
Encouraging her clients to embrace bolder choices, the blue drawing room is one of the most distinctive of the renovation.
‘It’s used mostly after dark so I opted for a deeper more dramatic saturated colour that would be cosier in the evening. The clients were reluctant to paint the cabinetry in the same color as the walls so I had to gently push them out of their comfort zone but now they’re delighted with it,’ says Jessica.
Bedroom ideas remain simple, relying on color and pattern to create characterful spaces. The greens, blues and pinks in the headboard fabric tie this delightful look together.
Pink accents bring extra vibrancy to the multi-layered scheme where pattern is the star.
Bathroom ideas, like those throughout the rest of the house, are kept subtly elegant. The lowered wall behind the vanity neatly conceals the shower and WC on the other side.
To make impact upon arrival Jessica found a charming timeless wallpaper by Lewis & Wood for the entrance hall.
‘It was an extravagant choice but because of the amount of cabinetry and the dado rail, we were able to keep it in budget. We color-matched it for the stairwell, which isn’t much changed from how it would have been in Georgian times,’ Jessica notes.
Fulfilling her duty as skilled curator of color and pattern, Jessica has given this once pale and uninspiring interior a vibrant new identity.
Interior designer/ Jessica Buckley Interiors
Photography/ Paul Massey
Text/ Juliet Benning
Interiors have always been Vivienne's passion – from bold and bright to Scandi white. After studying at Leeds University, she worked at the Financial Times, before moving to Radio Times. She did an interior design course and then worked for Homes & Gardens, Country Living and House Beautiful. Vivienne’s always enjoyed reader homes and loves to spot a house she knows is perfect for a magazine (she has even knocked on the doors of houses with curb appeal!), so she became a houses editor, commissioning reader homes, writing features and styling and art directing photo shoots. She worked on Country Homes & Interiors for 15 years, before returning to Homes & Gardens as houses editor four years ago.
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