It’s a family affair

PUBLISHED: 12:06 09 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:09 20 February 2013

The exterior

The exterior

Jeni and Paul Bayliss saw this family home in Chelmsford being built and were so impressed by the design they decided to buy it and make their mark on it

STYLISH living is something that Jeni and Paul Bayliss were keen to achieve when they bought their beautiful house in Chelmsford. The house is a calm and relaxing refuge for the couple and their two daughters, with plenty of room for everyone to have a space of their own.

'We saw the house being built,' recalls Jeni, 'and were really impressed by the individual and inspiring design and layout.' The couple decided to move from their previous property in order to take on the house which would be a blank canvas for them to decorate and develop into the fabulous home they have now.' Like Jeni, husband Paul was enthusiastic and had several visions for the house. 'I was really keen to have plenty of unusual things around that would provide talking points as well as being attractive and sometimes functional accessories that we as a family could all enjoy,' he says.

The downstairs of the house is planned out so that the enormous kitchen and breakfast room are on one side of the house with the reception rooms on the other. The kitchen itself has been fitted with contemporary appliances and has a colour scheme of neutral shades which is in keeping with the couple's plan.
'We added a little detail by tiling a panel onto an existing table using green mosaics and some left over floor tiles,' explains Jeni. Paul was able to find some salvaged shelving in brushed steel which fitted perfectly along one wall and provides additional storage as well as a cool-looking display unit. Because the kitchen is large, Jeni thought it would be effective to have some sort of island for the centre.

In contrast to the trendy kitchen and breakfast area, the dining room has a very different feel about it. Classical styling and dark wooden furnishings give this room a rich look. Jeni and Paul chose light green for the walls and curtain fabric as well as the fabric on the dining chairs, they have continued with a darker green for the rug. 'We wanted this room to be altogether more of a room for entertaining and I think it's worked really well.'

The dining room is the only room that has this classic look though and both of the other reception rooms downstairs are more casual and relaxed. The couple's eldest daughter, AJ, was involved in the design of one of the rooms and was keen to provide her family with some stunning artwork. The large sitting room is painted off-white with wooden laminate flooring for that really fresh look. There was plenty of room for two comfy sofas which the family covered in assorted cushions. AJ then chose some large structural greenery for the room, which was planted in industrial-looking galvanised pots.

To finish the room she designed and produced a piece of artwork made up of eight panels incorporating geometric shapes which were in keeping with the design of the rug that her parents had bought for the room. At the far end there are two chairs which Paul has owned for years. 'This type of furniture has lent itself to the look of this room and even though they are old now they are still a very comfortable pair of chairs,' says Paul.

'We all love the way that we've decorated the house,' explains Jeni, 'but we felt that in one room it would be great to have some bold colour.' The second reception room was the ideal choice. 'It's really a kind of TV den, so we wanted it to be decorated informally.' Deep reds and purples have been used in this room which is enlivened even more by throws over the sofas and brightly-coloured voile draping the windows, with blinds behind to keep out the sun.

The master bedroom has a period-style fireplace and an elegant mirror above giving the room a centre feature. Again in this room Jeni has draped fabric from curtain hooks with blinds behind and a screen at one end of the room has been upholstered in a beautiful fabric with hints of golds and bronzes in a geometric pattern.

They were so impressed by the effectiveness of AJ's artwork downstairs that they decided to make a focal point for their own room. Sheets of MDF were cut to different sizes and painted with emulsion in shades of golds and browns in keeping with the room's theme. The effect was fantastic and really simple to achieve.

Before moving on to the next room, there was a promise to keep, as Jeni explains: 'We had decided when we first came to live in the house that as our children were both teenagers we would allow them to maintain a sense of respect for their own rooms and encouraged AJ and Rachael to decorate their own personal space. Their individual style is seen throughout the house and carries on into their rooms.'

The final room to be given the personal touch by the couple was the family bathroom which they wanted to keep fairly subtle. Jeni and Paul chose a classic white suite with an elegant frieze of embossed tiles halfway up the walls. Natural wood was chosen as an alternative to a fabric bath mat and rattan storage boxes are stacked for convenient and discreet places to house bath and beauty products.

Helpful house facts

Who lives there Jeni and Paul Bayliss with their two daughters, AJ and Rachael
Occupation Jeni is a school teacher and Paul is a finance director
Property style A spacious new-build property
Instant attraction Jeni and Paul were looking for a modern family home they could instantly put their mark on
Top tip Get ideas from a range of places so as not to end up with a house that looks like a show home. This can be especially important with a newly-built property.

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