Pared-back design and a pretty palette of neutrals and pastels are the hallmarks of Rosemary and Justin Bickers’ serene home.
Striking a balance between minimalism and warmth is a tricky task for any homeowner, but add four small children into the mix and you’d be forgiven for giving up on style altogether and heading straight down the ‘practical’ route. This hasn’t been the case for Rosemary and Justin Bickers, who – over the past six years – have turned an unloved doer-upper into a beautiful haven for their family, which includes Alfie, seven, Tom, six, Daisy, four, and Dorothy, six months. ‘We had been searching for the right property for over a year,’ says Rosemary. ‘My late father had been hoping we’d stay close to my family home and he was delighted when we found a house just 10 doors down from it.’ Although the property was in need of a complete overhaul, Rosemary wasn’t fazed. She had grown up on the road and over the years had been in many of the neighbours’ houses, so had seen how they had been reworked. It also helped that Justin is an electrical contractor specialising in lighting solutions. The first room to be tackled was the kitchen. ‘It was really dated,’ says Rosemary. ‘It was going to be a big job, but we had to be practical and do it on a budget and in stages as there was so much more to be done in the house.’ New electrics and plumbing, plus replastering and repainting throughout were also on the to-do list. After careful planning and budgeting, it was decided that phase one would be to extend out at the back and into the side return to get a bigger kitchen and also a cloakroom. The old cabinetry was replaced with pale-grey, Shaker-style units that have a clean, crisp look, but also give the room character. Phase two of the downstairs renovation was knocking through to the garage to create a dining space and a family room, both of which are linked to the kitchen through large openings. The dining room also has floor-toceiling glazed doors that lead out to the garden. One area downstairs that hasn’t received Rosemary and Justin’s magic touch yet is the sitting room. ‘We decided to keep it as a traditional “best room”,’ says Rosemary. ‘We will get around to doing it up in the future, but it hasn’t been a priority so far.’ The children’s rooms and Rosemary and Justin’s own bedroom were phase three and all have been decorated in off-whites with pretty pastel accents for a serene feel. Rosemary also likes to buy original artwork to give each room personality. ‘Styling my home feeds my creativity,’ she says. ‘I also take a lot of inspiration from places we’ve visited or hotels we’ve stayed in. The Swan Hotel, nearby in Southwold, is one I love. And my mum is great with colour and has a good eye, so I’ll often ask for her advice. She’s also a lover of collecting ornaments – just like me!’ And are Rosemary and Justin happy with all they have achieved? ‘Definitely,’ says Rosemary. ‘The family room is my little hygge nest. It’s my favourite area of the house to sit while the children play and I’m feeding the baby. I also love our dining room. It’s where the family comes together to feast and to chat. Luckily, we all love our food. Simplicity and balance is what we wanted to achieve, and I think it’s what makes this home such a happy one.’
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