‘You would never know that this house was originally part of a brewery. From the outside, it looks like a sweet, flat-fronted Georgian doll’s house,’ says the owner of the home she shares with her husband, situated in one of the pretty streets surrounding Winchester Cathedral. The couple originally used the house as a pied-a-terre, but in 2015 they decided to sell their large home in the country and move here. This soon revealed the building’s shortcomings, so the couple turned to interior designer Stephanie Dunning to transform it into something both practical and beautiful.
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The combination of the location and the quirky architecture was irresistible. I like the feeling of living in an area that is rich with history and we’re just two minutes’ walk from the high street, which is wonderfully vibrant and full of independent shops.
It was perfectly liveable, but quite draughty. The sitting room, which faces north, was always particularly cold and unappealing. Although it has great bones, it is not a large house, just two rooms deep, and it felt quite poky.
I am really interested in design, but I rarely seek out the name of a designer. However, I saw a house featured in Homes & Gardens and was so taken with its easy elegance that I decided to look Stephanie up. It turned out she was based in Salisbury, which is just forty minutes away, so it was all very serendipitous.
The arched area was originally a narrow corridor that led to the front door. Designer Stephanie Dunning took down most of the wall to open up the sitting room and improve the flow of the space.
The south-facing kitchen is one of the couple’s favourite rooms. ‘My husband and I are both poets and we like to sit at the table and write. It is particularly lovely in the summer, as the sun warms the room all day long.’
The previous, poorly laid-out scheme has been replaced with this well-considered arrangement of bespoke cabinets and central island unit. Stephanie’s decision to use a glamorous combination of pink, copper and gold warms and offsets the dark-grey stone worktops.
As part of Stephanie’s reorganisation of the basement, the space beneath the stairs is used as a practical and stylish open boot room.
Stephanie’s husband is also her project manager. His own company makes all the joinery for her schemes, including the elegant built-in cupboards and island seen here.
‘The blue-grey colour of our bedroom walls is beautiful,’ says the owner. It also ensures the oil painting by a Russian artist, depicting the interior of a dacha, is even more striking.
Victorian-style geometric floor tiles bring depth and interest to the scheme without compromising the modest space’s restful atmosphere.
This renovated basement space is a valuable addition to the house, especially when the couple’s two grown-up sons are staying. Stephanie has cleaned and sealed the brickwork of the unusual ceiling, a legacy of the property’s brewery history.
‘Originally, we only had folding beds in the attic because we couldn’t get proper beds up the narrow, winding staircase,’ says the owner. Stephanie’s solution was to make the beds in parts then assemble them in the roof-top rooms. ‘Now the rooms feel like grown-up spaces,’ she says.
Photography/ Mel Yates
Interior design/ Stephanie Dunning