Kate moved into this stunning building in Hertfordshire two and a half years ago. When she first viewed the property it had been empty for a long time and the previous tenants had left this beautiful old converted pub in a hideous mess.
When I viewed the property It smelled so appalling that I kept having to pop outside to take in clean air!Kate – @myoldpub
Kitchen doors were hanging off, internal room doors had been damaged, the carpets were revolting and there was mess everywhere. Despite all this, Kate could see the beautiful bones of the house and knew that she could bring it back to life.
Thankfully Kate is an Regeneration Consultant for Historic Buildings so she felt confident in taking on such an enormous project. The beautiful exterior and the past history (the pub was one of ten in the village which were used as stop overs for people travelling to London by horse or carriage) coupled with charming interior details (one beam next to where the original bar would have been has a large hand mark indentation from centuries of men leaning against the beam as they waited at the bar) all charmed her into restoring this 17th Century building.
Kate had created a beautiful Christmas snug so our job was yet again very straightforward. Jo from VV Raven joined us on this shoot and began to fill the room with heavenly fresh flowers.
Naomi decided to take her cue from the beautiful rug featuring pinks and blues and run this theme through the rest of the house thereby linking all the rooms. Jo used bold large pink amaryllis for a bit of pink and fresh greens to lift the room. Winter bulbs were brought in for more greenery and we used my gorgeous new Voyage Maison Lapis Poppy velvet cushion for more cosy colour.
We were also joined by the fabulous Brent Darby who I had met when he photographed my cottage for Period Living a couple of years ago so it was wonderful to catch up with his whirlwind self and watch another master of light in photography at work. Brent started photographing the snug and we trooped into the Kitchen to start setting up for the next shot.
Tiggy beginning to enjoy the kitchen styling and was extremely helpful when the food was laid out!!! Kate had done a fabulous job in the kitchen: the table was laid for a wonderful Christmas brunch so all we had to do was add some magazine sparkle and another gallon of candles.
I decluttered the every day items like the kettle, toaster and microwave and filled the spaces with more visually interesting items – a bowls of oranges, some pretty candles, a basket of flowers and some delicious nibbles. I also added in the glorious Green Regal Peacock plates and bowls from Burleigh Pottery for a richer colour and to fill the plate rack for a cosier feel. Naomi added in the beautiful Christmas cake and home made jam from Kate’s mother and the kitchen began to feel more homely.
Kate has the most magical cupboard under the stairs that is filled with candles, baskets, pots and vases so I picked out a few sweet terracotta pots, filled them with moss and added candles to them. The kitchen style was a little clinical (it is next on Kate’s list) in comparison to the beautiful rustic feel in the rest of the house so I wanted to try and bring more warmth and rusticity to the table.
Jo added more greenery in the corner of the kitchen to lift the dark corner and with a little sink pimping (declutter, add a Sophie Allport Christmas tea towel and add more blue) we moved out of Brent’s way and set off to cushion up the sitting room.
Kate has the most beautiful taste and as soon as you walk into her home there is a feeling of calm and serenity. She uses wonderful calming soft tones to create a gorgeous flow through the house. Our job was just to add a bit of colour for interest in a magazine feature. It needed to be Christmas cosy so we used warm rich colours to blend with Kate’s decor but bring out the scene visually.
I added a soft green blanket to tie the scheme together, running it neatly down the sofa to draw the eye and keep it tidy (magazines prefer neatly folded blankets to artfully draped – even though I love a dramatic swish!!).
I used a beautiful silver tray already in place and Jo created a beautiful little arrangement to add to it, we added a crystal decanter of rich red wine and the fabulous The Vintage List crystal glasses for a hint of luxury. More candles reflected the sparkle and created a romantic pre supper ambiance.
I threw my amazing Wildash Sheepskin rug into the back of the opposite sofa and the room was cosy Christmas magazine ready
The final downstairs room was the stunning dining room which Kate had styled to perfection. This room was simply a case of working out the best angles for the camera to capture its beauty.
Upstairs is filled with more of Kate’s excellent taste. Again each room is a clam oasis that we just had to warm up because it was a Christmas shoot. We were able to be a little bolder in the bedrooms with colour which pushed Kate a little out of her comfort zone. It is imperative to honour the homeowner and their stylistic choices, Naomi is vehement that the shoot is about the owner and how they have chosen to decorate their home so I dialled back my miasma of colour and Kate began to see the joy of tiny hints of colour in enriching a room.
I started with too many rich colours but the genius Naomi helped me to remove the bolder colours and pare it back to match Kate’s style. I added a glorious Emma Perring painting for a gentle hint of colour along with more candles and some pinks on the dressing table to continue the blue and pink theme. Jo added more fabulous flowers and the room seemed to come alive.
Jo and I moved onto one of the guest bedrooms whilst Naomi and Brent quickly photographed the barely needed any styling bathroom
The Guest room again just needed a hit of colour so we took our lead from the beautiful yellow lamps and introduced toning colours.
Naomi removed the artfully flung sheepskin to the soft under foot floor and turned down the blankets that I had used so that there was space between them and the pillows. Rather like a sofa on a rug, the blanket should either be under the pillows properly or have a bigger defining space.
This was a fascinating shoot for us all. Kate has just the most beautiful house and was surprised by how much she enjoyed the addition of more furnishings and colour into her home.
I learnt…loads…that magazines have lists of stuff they don’t and do want to see! How much ‘stuff’ you need to style a shot to make it look generous and inviting. That I need more cushions and throws on my bed. How fast everyone works. And that seeing your house through other peoples eyes is really nice as you get so focussed on the small things like the paintwork etc!Kate @myoldpub
Thank you so much to Kate for letting us attack her stunning home with cushions and blankets.
Thank you to Jo from VV Raven for the gorgeous flowers.
Thank you incredible Voyage Maison – your cushions truly are the Emperors of all cushions – rich, luxurious, beautiful and so downy soft. Pure and utter bliss.
Happy Boxing Day everyone, I hope you have enjoyed our Christmas specials xxxx