When the couple who own this house on Jersey, one of the world's best homes, first entered it, they discovered a view they wanted to build their lives around. From its vantage point on a hill, the house looks out over a sweeping lawn to Mont Orgueil Castle on the coastline and France out in the distance.
‘We’d rented two other properties on Jersey but when our landlord decided to sell we felt we couldn’t live with the uncertainty any more,’ the owner elaborates. ‘My husband was just back from a business trip to Australia and I’d lined up some houses for us to view. This was the last property we visited and even though he was jet-lagged, he was excited by it and we both had the feeling this was the one despite it being over budget,’ says the owner.
While the view was the clincher, the house also offered enough space for the couple’s three teenage children. Adding to its charms, the architecture had a decorative appeal.
‘Built in 1880, it was a wealthy Victorian merchant’s house. It had bay windows, which are unusual for Jersey, and beautiful and very rarely found elaborate wrought ironwork above the front door,’ says the owner. ‘Our timing to buy it wasn’t great though as we’d just rented our London home out for a year. Fortunately, nine months later the house was still on the market and we got it.’
After living in the property for over a year, the family established their list of priorities for the renovation and appointed Sims Hilditch as designers.
With an initial plan to make minor improvements, such as new bathrooms and carpets, the scope of the project increased dramatically.
The kitchen was flipped from the front to the rear of the house, taking up the space of an underused dining room that had the best view of the castle as the family wanted the heart of the home to be here. Kitchen ideas included positioning the hob to allow for the castle to be seen while cooking.
The neutral palette is punctuated by color on the island and armchair.
In their most ambitious move, the owners transformed a former swimming pool into their ‘great room’, a living space complete with dining area, where much of the family’s time is spent.
Dining room ideas include using oversized glass pendants over the dining table to zone the area. Paneling and built-in cabinetry deliver a sense of period authenticity.
‘It’s a fun and lovely space to be in. Sims Hilditch has excelled at dividing up the space into its various functions and it’s big yet cozy,’ the owner explains.
Living room ideas include an injection of green accents to enliven the neutral palette and link to the garden outside.
Lifting the low ceiling was one of the hallway ideas to improve the space, while a built-in window seat makes good use of the bay.
Creating a sense of luxury was key in the main bedroom. A tall winged headboard is one of the bedroom ideas to introduce a sumptuous touch. It acts as the focal point in this beautifully balanced scheme.
A statement stripe bedspread and geometric cushions give this teenager’s room a strong yet easily changeable identity.
One of the bathroom ideas to emphasise the elegant aesthetic of the house is a period-style tub.
Moving back into their improved home in January 2020, the family were able to use the lockdown to their advantage. ‘We started unpacking and nesting and once restrictions were lifted we had non-stop guests all summer.' The garden is next on the agenda. ‘We’ve put a trampoline where there was an old pond. We’re in the process of building a tennis court and also want to add a sunken firepit and pool area,’ says the owner. With impressive focus and commitment, a stunning island retreat has been created where any family would happily be marooned.
Interior design/ Sims Hilditch
Photographs/ Brent Darby
Text/ Juliet Benning
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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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