Fenella George turned a run-down Fifties property, nestled in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, into a modern family home.

After almost spending a year looking, Fenella George and her partner, Andrew Preece, finally came across the property of their dreams: off the beaten track in the heart of the Cotswolds was a Fifties bungalow in a delightful hamlet near Burford, West Oxfordshire. ‘We immediately fell in love with the place,’ Fenella says, ‘although it was in desperate need of an update – which, to our benefit, was probably deterring people from putting in offers. Its metal windows were rusty, a dilapidated swing was just outside the front door and a dated avocado and brown bathroom suite awaited us – there was certainly scope for improvement.’

Step Inside This Modern Family Home In The Oxfordshire Countryside 6

The couple realised that, with some creative planning, this house could be transformed into just the spacious, modern family home they had been searching for. To realise that goal, there was a lot of work to do, however. ‘It was a complete building site,’ Fenella recalls, ‘so a professional set of plans and builders we could rely on were vital. We used the same team who worked with us on our previous property in London, as they instinctively understood our requirements, plus they came up with interesting ideas and suggestions of their own. Our strong working relationship with them was essential, especially on a large project such as this.’

The Uniqueness Of This Fifties Property Enabled Fenella To Influence Its Interior 1

Conscious of limited funds for renovation, the couple considered carefully how they could make the space work for their family and lifestyle and stay within a tight budget. ‘We had to carry on renting for three more months while it was all going on,’ she says, ‘because without water and electricity, it was impossible to live here.’

The Uniqueness Of This Fifties Property Enabled Fenella To Influence Its Interior 2

A complete overhaul of a run-down building can be a high-stress situation for even the most laid-back of couples, as con icting design ideas can come to the fore, but fortunately Fenella and Andrew work well together as a team, as they have similar tastes when it comes to interiors. ‘We both like things to be reasonably uncluttered,’ she explains, ‘so, initially, we focused on making the spaces flow throughout the entire house, keeping it as contemporary in feel as possible on the ground floor. Because Andrew is a keen cook, he had the major creative input in the layout of the kitchen cabinets and appliances, and since I have a passion for design, I sourced all of the pieces of furniture, lighting and accessories.’

Step Inside This Modern Family Home In The Oxfordshire Countryside 3

The first major task for the builders was to knock through three walls downstairs, making way for a modern kitchen-diner and cosy family seating areas. A large expanse of glass with sliding doors was also installed to allow for a spectacular view of the garden. ‘We were adamant that we didn’t want to fit bi-fold doors,’ Fenella explains, ‘as they would be closed for most of the year and it would also mean obstructing the outlook with the number of panels they would require.’

Step Inside This Modern Family Home In The Oxfordshire Countryside 4

The wall between the dining area and living room was partially removed, creating an open-plan feel to both areas in the process. ‘I found the stone dining table in a reclamation yard,’ Fenella recalls. ‘It had been in someone’s garden for years. We borrowed a local farmer’s forklift truck to get it into the drive and I power-washed it to remove the layers of dirt. Eight strong friends helped us to position it inside. Beautiful it may be, but it’s so heavy, we’re going to have to sell it with the house.’

Step Inside This Modern Family Home In The Oxfordshire Countryside 5

Upstairs, the couple redecorated and installed new bathrooms and a combination of wide-board, light oak floorboards and carpets. Maisy’s room was also given special attention, with Fenella creating a relaxed yet grown-up space for her teenage daughter. ‘I used a Florence Broadhurst paper on a feature wall and continued the design on her desk, by applying it to the front of the drawers,’ explains Fenella. A comfy, eye-catching pod chair, based on the iconic Sixties space-age design, provides an unexpected contrast to the opulence of the ornate wallpaper.

Step Inside This Modern Family Home In The Oxfordshire Countryside 7

Along the landing in the master bedroom, the colour scheme was inspired by the grey photographic images on the front of the wardrobes. ‘I bought the graphics from a sale in Habitat,’ Fenella says, ‘and used mirror screws to fix them on to the sliding doors. I adore the effect.’ The same soothing hue has been used on the walls, skirting boards and doors, and leads from the bedroom into the en-suite bathroom, complemented by a mirror and washstand in gold tones for a luxurious, spa-like feel.

The uniqueness of this Fifties property enabled Fenella to influence its interior with her bold, eclectic style: ‘As it’s neither an old cottage nor a contemporary glass structure, it was an unusual house to design,’ she says, ‘so we decided to keep the downstairs modern and the upstairs more cosy and classic.’ It was a decision that certainly paid off. ‘It was a great solution: it gave us the opportunity to mix old and new styles – something I love to do. Looking after the house is an ongoing project, but now we’ve completed the renovation, it’s time to sit back and enjoy it.’

Photography: Colin Poole

Stone Grey Three Seater Sofa In Biege And White Decor Living Room With Copper Floor Lamp
Home Tours

Before and After: Interiors blogger and designer, Bianca Hall's TV room makeover

We spoke to French for Pineapple blogger, interior designer and Revamp Restyle Reveal co-host, Bianca Hall, about her TV room makeover. Read on to find...
Teal Scheme Bedroom With Teal Walls Teal Bedding And Vintage Furniture With Gold And Orange Accents
Home Tours

Before and After: interiors blogger, Malcolm Begg's guest bedroom makeover

Tour interiors blogger, Malcolm Begg's renovated guest bedroom and find out how he fused a vibrant colour palette with dark vintage furniture to create a...
Lustliving Livingroom Revamprestylereveal Blogger Interior Design Project Makeover
Home Tours

Before and After: LustLiving Interiors blogger's living room makeover

Blogger, Olivia Nicole Silk of Lust Living let us peer inside her newly redesigned 1920s style Great Gatsby theme living room.
Grey And White Bedroom Interior With Large Circular Mirror Above Fireplace
Home Tours

Before and After: interiors blogger, Lisa Dawson's bedroom makeover

Interiors blogger, Lisa Dawson, let's us look inside her Georgian home and reveals all about her revamped master bedroom decor.
Numberfiveinteriors Reveamp Restyle Reveal Bookcase Cupboard Home Accessories
Home Tours

Before and After: Inside Number Five Interiors blogger's living room makeover

Blogger, Jade Wilce of Number Five Interiors let us peer inside her newly redesigned living room in soft peach and geometric wallpaper.
70s Trend Houzz Living Room Orange Velvet Sofa 2018
Home Tours

5 Instagram-worthy interior design ideas from Houzz of 2018

From a '70s style velvet sofa to climbing houseplants, here's what trends we love at Houzz of 2018's free pop up event in London.