Home is where the heart is

PUBLISHED: 17:34 12 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:42 20 February 2013

Home is where the heart is

Home is where the heart is

When Wendy Swift-Oliver and her children arrived in Chelmsford, they quickly went to work putting their own mark on this modern Georgian style property

HAVING lived in London for several years, Wendy Swift-Oliver and her three children upped sticks and moved out to a new development on the outskirts of Chelmsford in Essex.

'I have kept my flat on in town,' says Wendy who works as a stylist, 'but I wanted the children to have a little more space and found this wonderful house still within easy reach of the railway station and airports. We all really liked the look of the place and the style of the house itself was a little bit unusual with the curved wall around the front door.'

Inside the new house there are some great features as well. At this time of the year the house looks really special and although the colour schemes work well in the summer, during the winter months and especially at Christmas, they really add to the atmosphere.

The house is set on three floors with a central staircase running through the middle of it with gallery landings on each floor, giving it a light and airy feel. The children occupy the top floor of the house and have a bedroom each as well as bathrooms and a living room in which to watch television and be with friends.

Most of the reception rooms are carpeted for a cosy feel, but the kitchen has an open-plan style and is tiled in a neutral shade which contrasts with the light wood kitchen Wendy chose. In addition to the modern units and stainless steel appliances that are in the room, Wendy has bought various bits and bobs to make the room more tailor-made to her own requirements.

'As a stylist I get to travel quite a lot so I get to see lots of inspirational styles from around the world, some of which I've brought home and used in the house,' says Wendy. For instance, in the master bedroom Wendy has bought a large pine bed and given it a romantic French look by washing it with white emulsion paint and a coat of matt varnish. In keeping with this pretty style the bedding in here as well as in the guest room is white, which Wendy has accessorised with an assortment of cushions in muted blues and pinks. 'I was keen to maintain the look throughout the house,' explains Wendy, 'but as you can imagine, when you have two teenage children and a little one, that can be quite difficult.'

As well as this, Wendy likes Albert and Flo to feel that in their own bedrooms their choices about how things look are their own. 'It's a way of life really for the older children and I do like to give them a bit of a free range with ideas in their own areas of the house.' Wendy feels that this encourages Albert and Flo to look after their own things as well as giving them confidence.

As for Alfie, his room has been helped along a lot by his mum's styling skills. 'Alfie loves all shades of blue and was able to choose his own furniture,' adds Wendy, 'but when it came down to it he just wanted a lovely bedroom in which to snuggle down at the end of the day.'

He certainly has that and the bed has a handy storage area underneath, which, as all mothers will know, is a necessary piece of kit in a youngster's bedroom. Again, although Alfie's room is colourful, it's not over the top. Wendy has kept the colours muted and calm and had planned the room so as to provide her little man with plenty of floor space on which to play.

The family have made the large house feel really homely and enjoyed working together to achieve the look. Wendy has kept a consistency in the overall style of the place without allowing this to become too regimented. 'Although I was keen to develop a calm natural atmosphere I still wanted it to feel like home and with three children and a dog getting the balance can be quite tricky,' says Wendy.
'The house was the perfect buy for us though and being on three separate floors has not been a problem at all. In fact Flo and I laugh at how fit it must keep us.'


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