For some, decorating their entire home is a daunting, albeit exciting, challenge. For others, like interior designer Tor Vivian, it is their job. Having moved house eight times in the past 12 years, Tor, her husband, and their children, have finally settled in a 19th-century converted barn near Ripon, Yorkshire.
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‘When we moved in, we had a bit of an issue with the layout. There was always going to be one room that people would need to walk through so I decided to make this an open-plan kitchen, dining and sitting room. Structurally, we did not knock down many walls but we did convert the garage into a suite of guest rooms, complete with its own boiler, so that we can shut that wing off when no one is staying.
It was actually really easy. I already had a lot of art and furniture so I was designing around that. While I did have budget constraints, I worked in the same way I would with a client. I created moodboards and drew up room plans but, as I did not want things to be perfect, I was easier to please than most of my clients. Worrying about little things makes me unhappy so by not fussing, it was a relaxing experience,’ explains Tor.
Dining room and kitchen
This open-plan space was created to improve the flow of the rooms downstairs, while an oversized pendant highlights the original beams.
The island incorporates plenty of storage, freeing up the walls for Tor to display artwork and accessories.
Tor’s paintings, bought years before the family moved in, dictated the color scheme for the open-plan sitting-kitchen-dining room.
Tor is proud of her brave choice of strong blue for this space, which creates an ideal backdrop to display favourite pieces. ’Ive been collecting things for years,’ she says. ‘I found this straw peacock in a gallery when I was twenty-one.’
A mix of cushions in a variety of fabrics and textures, including ikats from Uzbekistan and plain belts from Oka, creates an air of comfort.
Home for Tor and her family is a converted 19th-century barn in Yorkshire.
‘I made the wardrobe doors by taking a mirrored screen apart and attaching the panels to MDF,’ says Tor.
Despite opting for a more neutral palette, Tor has curated a diverse collection of artwork so that the space retains a strong personality.
Having played it safe with the scheme in her bedroom, Tor chose a daring wallpaper for the bathroom, uniting the two rooms with shades of yellow.
With the colors of the British and American flags as inspiration, this room has a relaxed charm.
‘I like to think about future needs when designing rooms for children,’ says Tor, who took advantage of the narrow anteroom adjoining her son's bedroom to create his own den.
Tor's love of texture makes this a perfectly crafted and welcoming space. She kept the armchair after discovering it was not quite right for one of her clients.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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