An old post office became a welcoming country home with a smart open layout

A dilapidated rural post office is transformed into a luxurious home – tranquil grays and warm whites keep things calm

Kitchen with white walls and flagstone floor with black aga and gray cabinets with sitting area at far end and shelves with ladder
(Image credit: James French)

Looking at this elegantly renovated Edwardian home in rural Nottinghamshire, UK, you'd find it hard to believe it wasn't originally a house at all. It was a small village post office, built in 1905. It was no longer in use and was in a poor state of repair, its garden overgrown and neglected. Yet there was something very appealing about its redbrick exterior, well proportioned rooms, high ceilings and original features. And following a full-scale renovation, a reconfigured layout and two extensions, the house truly is one of the world's best homes

With a practical open-plan layout, the house now celebrates its original features in style. A harmonious interior scheme of warm whites and soft grays, teamed with natural textures and luxurious furnishings, enhances the new look. There's an incredible sense of calm in this home, and we pick out our highlights below. 

Open-plan kitchen

kitchen with white walls and gray blue island unit with white bar stools and mirrored fridge

(Image credit: James French)

A new kitchen was created from the original building's three dark and disconnected rooms – the shop at the front, a middle room that served no purpose, leading to a tiny galley kitchen. Those three rooms have been combined into one long open-plan space, that included a sitting area and the kitchen. The new layout allows light through while the kitchen wraps around the back of the house to flow into the garden room. Kitchen ideas include the new central island and freestanding units to match the bespoke kitchen design. The beautiful flagstone floor was reclaimed from an old mill. 

Smart monochrome details

kitchen detail with black range cooker and black shelf above on white walls with black kettle and kitchen utensils hanging

(Image credit: James French)

A traditional black Aga sets the tone in the new space, with black shelving and accessories contrasting against soft white walls. 

Living room and reading nook

living room space with flagstone floors gray sofa and gray open shelves with ladder

(Image credit: James French)

At the front of the house, this living area and reading nook in the new kitchen was once the post office shop. In the corner next to the window is the original cupboard that caught any mail posted through the post box at the front of the house. Anyone looking for reading nook ideas will find inspiration in this cozy space. A freestanding bookcase with a ladder, provides storage and display space, and finished with a sharp gray shade it tones with the gray blues used elsewhere in the room. 

Cozy main living room

living room with white walls white sofas woodburning stove and chandelier

(Image credit: James French)

Living room ideas for the main seating area are serene and calm, with a continuation of those restful warm white and gray shades used elsewhere in the home. Keeping to a limited palette in this way creates a more relaxing backdrop and a harmonious flow from one room to another, with no visual shocks. 

Garden room

conservatory with roof blinds and round table with upholstered chairs and view to garden

(Image credit: James French)

A garden room was added to the property as part of a second phase of building work. French doors lead to the landscaped garden. Garden room ideas include a a lantern roof with bespoke heat reflecting electric blinds. Engineered oak flooring in a warm shade is a good choice for a room with direct access to the garden, and can disguise the occasional muddy footprint and paw print! 

Utility room

utility room with simple white units open shelf and deep butlers sink

(Image credit: James French)

Talking of muddy paw prints, concealed in the under-sink cupboard of this simple utility room is a doggy shower, perfect for tackling exactly that problem! Other utility room ideas well worth a steal, include the no-nonsense cabinetry and wall shelf, beautiful brass wall lights, and smart faucet. Once a dilapidated and disused outbuilding, this space has been transformed and houses the washing machine, and a downstairs cloakroom. 

Main bedroom 

bedroom with vaulted ceiling detail and view to ensuite bathroom with white loveseat and white bedding with gray headboard

(Image credit: James French)

In the master suite, bedroom ideas focus on the grand vaulted ceiling. One of the most recent additions to the house, the room was designed to look as if it had been built into the loft to reveal the original rafters. It gives incredible scale and height to the room. Layers of sumptuous textiles and an inviting loveseat chair add to the luxurious look. 

Ensuite bathroom

iron freestanding boat bathtub with white walls and towel ladder

(Image credit: James French)

The ensuite bathroom is nestled behind a stud wall. Anyone looking for bathroom ideas should note the unusual burnished iron roll-top bath, and its enviable position under a window for bathtime views out across the trees. 

Guest bedroom

guest room with cast iron bed chandelier and armoire and upholstered chair

(Image credit: James French)

Overlooking the back of the house, the French-inspired guest room has a romantic look – with gentle curves and soft bed linen. An antique chair and floorstanding mirror are the perfect accessories, along with a French-style armoire display cabinet.

Main bathroom

bathroom with slipper bath white walls large mirror and small cast iron fireplace

(Image credit: James French)

The main bathroom exudes luxury and decadence with its high ceilings, marble tiles, and jauntily placed slipper bath taking centre stage. Glass pendant lights and honed marble tiles complete the look. 

From disused post office to a stylish and much-loved home, this is one inspiring transformation.  

Original feature and styling: Marisha Taylor
Photographs: James French

Karen Darlow

Karen is the houses editor for and homes editor for the brand’s sister titles, Period Living and Country Homes & Interiors, and an experienced writer on interiors and gardens. She loves visiting historic houses for Period Living and writing about rural properties for Country Homes & Interiors, and working with photographers to capture all shapes and sizes of properties. Karen began her career as a sub editor at Hi-Fi News and Record Review magazine. Her move to women’s magazines came soon after, in the shape of Living magazine, which covered cookery, fashion, beauty, homes and gardening. From Living Karen moved to Ideal Home magazine, where as deputy chief sub, then chief sub, she started to really take an interest in properties, architecture, interior design and gardening.