Kim Dawson worked tirelessly to turn a garish property into a serene home, ideal for a Scandi-style Christmas.
When Kim Dawson first viewed a handsome Edwardian house in her dream location, she was unfazed by the multicoloured, dated interior, realising that with vision and determination, it could be totally transformed – just in time for Christmas. ‘I’m sure many people would have been put off by the riot of colour that confronted me when I walked in,’ says Kim. ‘The house was completely over the top, decorated in all colours of the rainbow dominated by yellows, reds and purples.’ Despite this being the first property she had looked at, Kim was smitten with the high ceilings, the generous proportions of the rooms and the potential to restore the original period features that had unfortunately vanished over the years. ‘Even though it was the middle of summer, I imagined the house decked out for Christmas,’ says Kim. ‘I put an offer in that day and, 10 weeks later, after a huge amount of effort, we were in and ready for the festive season.’ Back in 2012, Kim and her partner, David Priestley, had been living in Battersea. ‘It was a great spot, adjacent to Battersea Park, but we felt it was time for a change,’ says Kim. Looking online, Kim searched in Putney and Barnes. ‘Nothing appealed until I spotted this house, just a stone’s throw from where my parents had danced the nights away when they were courting,’ she adds. Kim hurriedly arranged a viewing and, from the moment she set foot inside, sensed the house was right. With excitement palpable, Kim called David and asked him to view it as soon as possible. ‘Thankfully, David loved the house just as much as me,’ says Kim. ‘The owners must have been thrilled since we were their first viewers and put an offer in immediately – just hours after the For Sale sign went up.’ Knowing that a move was imminent, Kim had already lined up a recommended builder. ‘I’d seen the standard of his work in other homes and was confident he’d be more than capable of tackling this fairly major renovation within our desired 10-week deadline,’ she adds. Having sold their Battersea home, the couple moved into rented accommodation nearby while the work started. ‘The house needed a substantial overhaul to create a better flow and restore the character,’ says Kim, who managed the project. One of the first jobs was blocking up a doorway into the sitting room. ‘This meant we could reclaim a wall where we could position a sofa,’ Kim says. ‘We created two defined areas in this large space – one for simply unwinding or socialising, and another for watching TV.’ A visit to a Chesneys showroom inspired Kim to buy a cream woodburning stove and elegant new fireplace. She was also tempted by another woodburner to create an attractive focal point in the kitchen. In the sitting room, Kim tracked down a ceiling rose that was a perfect match for one that was missing, and also sourced new cornicing to complement. On the upstairs landing, uneven floorboards and the ceiling were taken out and replaced. Bathrooms were updated, tall cupboards that she couldn’t reach were removed and a door leading from a guest bedroom into the second bathroom was blocked up. Finally, with all the structural changes completed, it was time to decorate. New carpets were laid and the walls painted in muted shades of cream and grey, injecting an air of calm into the new-look home, which now features a raft of eye-catching and quirky items collected during the couple’s extensive travels. ‘It was a whirlwind journey to get the renovation done in time,’ says Kim. ‘I had to make lots of decisions quickly but I enjoyed every single minute. I was thrilled when it all came together in time for Christmas. I love our home and, as many people have commented, it lends itself particularly well to the festive season.
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