Along with her husband and two young kids, Tiffany Grant-Riley has been slowly renovating an Edwardian-era home in Kent, England. “We have big plans for this house,” she says. “But we’re taking it one day at time and loving the house as it is for now.” Take a look around…
On a home’s history: Stepping into the house for the first time, it just had this warmth about it — as though it had been waiting for us. It was full of character and felt much loved… though the double doors in the living that I fell in love with first.
On modern living in an old space: When the house was originally built, I think this front room would have been a posh entertaining space. It can get quite drafty, but the fireplace is great. It’s small, but when you close the living room doors it heats the place up quickly. It’s a real treat on a winter’s evening, when it’s cold and dark, to lose yourself watching the fire.
Floor lamp: Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for Flos.
On a tree with soul: I love my plants and named them after soul singers. My rubber tree is Marvin, because he’s strong and tall and gentle, like Marvin Gaye. I adore him.
On out-with-the-old: No, the pink ‘design’ here is not intentional. This is our year for tackling the hallways, and I’m in the middle of stripping everything off the plaster. The previous owner had a raspberry color on the top part of the walls and glossy white wallpaper on the bottom. I kind of like how it looks right now.
On finding your light: The kitchen was originally really dark, and I thought, ‘Right, I need to do something that doesn’t involve a massive budget.’ I decided to sand and stain the floors with a pale wash, paint the walls white, and paint all the colors in a nice mid-blue — because I still wanted to embrace the fact that this room can get dark and moody. But that made the place feel much lighter than it is. It was a real labor of love, that room.
On a family tradition: We’re a big cooking family. I came from a single-parent household and cooking was very important to my mum. She did a lot with very little. I’ve picked that up from her. When I cook family meals, I like to use that part of the day as a mediation to dump all pressures from the day. Favorites include sticky salmon and coconut rice and homemade pizza with roasted Mediterranean vegetables.
On dance parties: The kitchen is the room everyone gravitates toward. It has such a lovely, warm feeling. It also makes an excellent dance floor, and we go to town a couple times a week. The kids and I, anyway, but not so much Rob. He’s not a dancer. I’ve actually put together a Lockdown Get-Down playlist on the blog if you fancy a taster!
Clock: George Nelson for Vitra.
On everyone’s favorite hangout: The cat loves the kitchen, too. There’s a cupboard under the coffee machine and he knows his food is kept there. He stands sentry, staring at it and waiting and waiting until it’s time to be fed. He has a very fancy name, Rafferty Mo, because we got him before we had kids and I wanted to give him the best possible name I could think of for a boy. We mostly call him Mosey.
On modern coziness: For our bedroom, I wanted to find a color that felt cocooning, and I love these dark, sandy beige shades. We’re so lucky to have some original features — like the closet and the fireplace — but I did want a slightly more contemporary feel, and something to contrast the beige. So I changed the handles on the closet to more modern ones, and incorporated elements of black to break up the color.
On sharing: The kids share a bedroom, so we decided we’d do a bunk bed to give them that extra bit of floor space. They like climbing on it and building dens. They really enjoy sharing, and obviously they have their moments but they love each other’s company.
On “collaborating:” The kids had input when I was putting together the room, but I had to reign them in. If I’d just done exactly what they told me then we would have a black ceiling with stars on it, a hot pink wall, a purple wall and a blue wall. I wanted to find something a bit more gender neutral, so I went with this grey-blue, which is quite soothing. They brought in their own preferences and personalities with their bedding, toys and storage.
On a wonderful feature: Conservatories are more common in the U.K. I struggle with my mental health at times, and I can’t tell you how invaluable a space it has come to be in my life. If I need to escape, decompress, think or wallow, I’ll be in there. In the spring and summer, I start the day with my morning coffee, watching the birds and the plants, and we’ve started eating dinner here in the evenings now. We make the most of it when we can!
Thank you so much, Tiffany!
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