Characterful & Minimal, At Home With Rachel & Richard

Welcome inside the beautiful, Victorian, three-storey, semi-detached home of Rachel & Richard. Based in Greater Manchester, their six-bedroom house sits surrounded by independent restaurants, bars and small businesses. Although they moved to the suburb in 2014, they only bought this house in December 2019 – just before the global pandemic hit..! 

Rachel owns her own business, and Richard works as an investment manager - so, with lots of renovation work ahead of them, they were grateful for all the unexpected time they could spend at home to start the necessary improvements. 

Rachel & Richard also showcase their renovation via Instagram - @houseintheheatons.

They describe their interior style as minimalist, but not in the true sense of the word. They definitely live by a ‘less is more’ philosophy, so that all their designs can speak for themselves. 

“I love muted neutrals; which means I don’t tend to use too much colour, and definitely avoid anything too bright, unless it’s white! Our aim is to honour the period details of the house, bring it back to life, and fulfil its potential as a home again" says Rachel.

Get muted neutral Paint Swatches

Yeah, it's THIS good

"It was a little unloved when we moved in, so stripping it back and allowing the beautiful details in each room to subtly shine through, is such a pleasure!” says Rachel.

A COAT love affair… 

Being a business owner herself, Rachel loves to search out independent brands and products that she can invest in – especially since she likes a more unconventional, unique style. 

“I was excited to use COAT paints as soon as I discovered them on Instagram. To be honest, I quickly loved everything about them – the colour choices were exciting, the environmentally-friendly approach was new and refreshing, the branding & packaging paired back and stylish (just how I like it) - and the fabulous peel & stick swatches are a stroke of genius - what a game changer!” says Rachel.

Peel & Stick paint swatches by COAT

Peel & Stick. Game changer.

When Rachel was ready to order some Peel & Stick swatches, she confessed to ordering the full bundle of COAT neutral shades - including ‘Duvet Day’, ‘Pampas’, and ‘Sunday Soul’ – it was just too hard to stick with a few! The first room they’d decided to paint was the living room – a north facing space, which often feels darker than the other rooms in the house. Rachel tells us that the Swatches made the decision-making process so much quicker and easier than it has in the past. They were confident and excited about the swatches and colours; and couldn’t wait to get the COAT paint ordered! 

“I’ve recommended it to so many people since we’ve been decorating, and I know we’ll be using COAT paints again as we continue to renovate the rest of the house. In addition to the quality of the paint itself, we also found the customer service, delivery and packaging all to be excellent – great attention to detail and customer care, which makes all the difference!”

Take a look inside…

Focusing on three of their newly-renovated spaces, Rachel & Richard have kindly agreed to share all the renovation details of their living room, kitchen-diner and hallway with COAT fans. They're lovely (and stylish) people, y'see...

First up, the living room; a large space with a square bay window, tall ceilings and original Victorian floorboards. Moving in, this space was very rundown and neglected – boasting a complete mismatch of styles, that had been randomly introduced across numerous decades. There was a green threadbare carpet, burgundy patterned curtains and a neo-classical fireplace & gas fire. Not the vibe, really.

With Xmas 2020 looming, they hoped to complete this project in time for the festivities. But, like in so many cases, underneath the original wallpaper they found big areas covered in holes, cracks and weaknesses. Ugh. Worrying that it might end up needing a complete re-plaster, they spent several gruelling days filling and sanding the walls the best they could. There was then the worry that the walls may look patchy and uneven once painted, but they took the plunge and gave it a go. Perfect imperfection is absolutely a thing.

Minimalist doesn't mean cold. See 👆🏽

“COAT’s paint had the most incredible coverage – it completely saved us, and was an absolute dream to work with." says Rachel. "Two coats is to be expected, but we really did think that the condition of the walls would mean we had to do more. We were so excited to see the quality of the paint transform the room so quickly. The colours were exactly what we’d expected them to be from the swatches, and really work perfectly together.”

Get Peel & Stick Swatches to try at home.

Rachel & Richard chose ‘Duvet Day’ for the ceiling, cornice, chimney breast and fireplace surround; and a slightly lighter colour, ‘Pampas’, for the walls, skirting boards and window frames. Their aim was to breathe light and freshness into this space, creating a contemporary feel with no fuss. 

Facebook Marketplace (you've got to love it) ended up delivering some golden finds to furnish this space too; including a couple of sofas and a wooden fireplace surround.  They had the largest sofa professionally upholstered, and also built a huge coffee table out of MDF. Upcycling and second-hand finds are often an amazing way of furnishing a space, whilst protecting your pockets.

Houseplants add contrast and natural life to any space

A south facing building site

The second room we're going to swoon over (and you'll see why in a sec) is the kitchen-diner - an open plan space, which now offers three separate uses: kitchen, dining room and snug. At the beginning Rachel and Richard struggled to decide on a layout for this space - especially once it became such a long and narrow part of the house once knocked together. They eventually opted for a galley-style kitchen in the centre, a dining area at the front, and the snug at the back where the old kitchen used to be. 

Can you even with this kitchen 😍

They also built a small extension at the back of the house, with sliding doors opening out into the garden and two large glass roof panels that sit above it. Everything you see in this space is brand new – from the kitchen units, to the flooring, the lighting and the wall colour - although some pieces were found second-hand or vintage, and restored with love. We love to see that.

Get Peel & Stick Swatches to try at home.

Simplicity, leaving room for finer details. On point.

Now on to the hallway, that all important (but often skipped over) welcome. Another unloved, neglected area of the house that lacked any sort of warmth when you entered...

Rachel and Richard were able to continue the wood flooring from the kitchen-diner through into the hallway, and also repeat the same lime-wash paint effect for the walls, too. They have double doors that lead both these spaces into one another, and as they're always left wide open, it made sense to continue the same décor across both rooms. 

The existing lighting was replaced with opal pendants, switches and sockets were all changed to a dark bronze, and the staircase, skirting boards and internal front door were painted in the same dark paint like 'David Rose'.

Characterful doors are unfussy, and sit so nicely with the muted scheme

The scheme was finished with a reclaimed marble console table and large round mirror, which is hung directly above it and opposite the double doors from the kitchen-diner. Rachel says that it finally feels like home! We say it feels pretty darn amazing...

Find us better than Dark Blue/Black and Teak. Will wait.

What the future holds… 

Rachel & Richard still have a fair way to go on this humongous renovation project. With another two floors to attack, as well as their garden, there’s still loads of planning and discussions in progress. 

The next big task is their bedroom, which will eventually span the full width of the house. Their plan is to combine the two front bedrooms, and create a luxury, hotel-chic suite – complete with bathroom and dressing room. And maybe free slippers, who knows.

The project will be a pretty huge investment, so they plan to slowly chip away at the rest of the house until the time is right – most likely, with a start date of next year. They also want to mentally prepare for a crew of builders being onsite, again… which is a challenge in itself! 

Rachel from @houseintheheatons lends some advice…

“Consider how you will actually use the room and what you need from it. Spaces in our homes have to work so much harder these days, often serving multiple purposes; so, this needs to be your starting point" says Rachel.

I know a lot of people struggle to visualise the potential in their own homes, so look for inspiration online. There’s also magazines and the places you visit, like your favourite restaurants and hotels. They can be a really great way of seeing how colours work, as well as providing ideas for things like lighting, layout, furniture and materials, that you may not have considered using in your own home!”

Get the look from Rachel & Richards place with Japandi-inspired paint palette of warm neutrals and contrast darks. Think less is more, add a few contrast framed prints and neutral furnishings and you're off to a flyer.

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