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New home, new look

PUBLISHED: 10:17 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 20 February 2013

'We couldn't resist keeping our comfy, cosy chairs, so simply treated them to a couple of new cushions,' says Graham

'We couldn't resist keeping our comfy, cosy chairs, so simply treated them to a couple of new cushions,' says Graham

Police officers Kim and Graham Perks used imaginative design skills to put their own fingerprints on their newly-built four-bedroom home in Great Leighs

FOR Kim Perks and her husband Graham, paying attention to the detail is part of their job. As members of the police force, the couple are well used to achieving high standards at work and when they bought this four-bedroom link detached property in Great Leighs they were aiming for those same high standards at home.

'Kim has a great eye for design and is so good at DIY,' smiles Graham. 'Although I'm happy to help I often play more of a supporting role. We re-located here to enjoy a more rural setting as well as benefit from being able to get a much larger place for our money.' Within 18 months of moving in, the couple had transformed a newly-built house into a beautiful home full of character and charm.

The house itself has four large bedrooms. Kim and Graham were attracted to the property on their first viewing of it and were relieved to discover that some of the work they had anticipated having to do was already finished, saving them both time and money. The downstairs of the house was painted throughout in varying shades of neutral creams. 'I think many people are returning to this look,' explains Kim, 'and we felt that the pale shades gave a wonderful feeling of space as well as a calm atmosphere when coming into the house.'

In the kitchen all of the units and appliances had only recently been fitted by the developer so were up to date and in perfect condition. All that was needed was for the couple to put their own personality into the room. They did this by putting in a casual farmhouse table and chairs as well as fitting some pretty curtains at the window. 'I made most of the curtains in the house,' explains Kim. 'I always try to use fabric that will enhance the style of what's already in the room.'

This is exactly what Kim did in the couple's richly-painted dining room. 'We wanted this room to be more for special, occasional use,' recalls Graham. 'Kim added draped pelmets to improve the effect.' The couple also chose a large mirror from an antique fair that they visited to add authenticity to the already charming new look. 'I love to have dinner parties in this room,' says Kim. 'Friends are always surprised to see such a different look in here from elsewhere downstairs.'

The cool stylish living room always impresses. Although Kim and Graham used their existing suite, they chose several pieces to enhance the chilled out look of the new room. 'We travel quite a lot and we like to bring something back for the house from wherever we've been to,' says Graham. Lots of the items in the room hold fond holiday memories for the couple and many of the vases and pots as well as the carved chess set have travelled from South Africa where the couple have spent more than one holiday.

After getting the reception rooms of the house just how they wanted, it was time for Kim and Graham to tackle the bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. 'We were very lucky because being a recently built house the bathroom suite was new and the style was as if I'd chosen it myself,' says Kim. The couple simply added a wooden cabinet and matching mirror and their bathroom had a luxurious new look.

Kim's speciality is soft furnishings and her flare for this can be seen throughout the home, but particularly in the bedrooms. In the master bedroom the couple chose to have a wooden bed with an arched head and foot board. They chose richly-coloured bed linen and Kim cleverly made thick, warm-looking curtains to complement the cosy style. The curtains have detailed tab tops and are hung from a simple iron pole with string gimbal finials at each end. The room looks clutter free and makes the perfect place to unwind at the end of a tiring day at work.

The guest room, or purple room as it is affectionately known, has taken on a very different look. Kim has given the room an opulent finish by using satin bedding as well as fabric for the swagging curtains. The couple had chosen to use the fourth bedroom as a home office, so for the final bedroom Kim used natural looking accessories such as a wooden bedside cupboard and a large terracotta pot filled with twisted branches.

Neutral-coloured bedding went well with all the warm shades of the wood and Kim's final piece was fitted to the wall above. 'I used two ornamental grasses crossed over to provide a rustic focal point,' smiles Kim. 'And with that the room was complete.'

With the final room finished the couple could relax in the knowledge that their beautiful new house was now feeling much more like the home they'd always wished for - somewhere to retreat to after a busy day at work which is full of all the colours and styles that the couple both love.


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