This modern home in Somerset is bursting at the seams with maximalist, vivacious interiors – from the canary yellow walls of the family room to the dark blue shades of the living room and bedroom, and some flamboyant wallpaper choices for the powder room and bathroom.
When the now homeowner of this large Victorian townhouse near the sea in Somerset was in the process of purchasing it, she immediately got in touch with interior designer Sean Symington.
The previous owners had modernised the property with every shade of grey – but the new owner wanted something more vibrant. When Sean first walked through the property he knew instantly that it would be a fun project, with its fabulous proportions and wonderful period features.
They decided to infuse the property with some colour and whimsy, whilst still retaining the heritage of the home. The entire house was redecorated from top to bottom, and it ticks all of the homeowner's boxes.
From the moment you step into the hallway, you know you're in for a glamorous scheme.
Two leopard print chairs sit either side of a narrow glass console with a giant clam shell on top (a nod to the home's seaside location).
The living room is directly opposite, and is the first room you see in the house.
The same leopard print pattern from the hallway (Pierre Frey's ‘Panthere De Somalie’) makes a statement in this dark living room on the central ottoman. The homeowner has a love for animal print, so incorporating leopard was a must.
It's a vibrant contrast to the Farrow and Ball ‘Off-black’ walls. Serge Mouille's classic ceiling light adds modernity.
The built-in cupboards were made bespoke and sprayed in the same paint colour to match the walls. The goal was to create a room that felt like a glamorous cocoon. Matte black walls provide the perfect backdrop for art and accessories. The 19th century oil portrait over the fireplace sits fabulously on the off-black walls.
The floral cushion fabric is Schumacher ‘Pyne Hollyhock’, and was one of the first things Sean and the homeowner decided on.
The pair of French armchairs were bought at auction and Sean had them upholstered in a cream linen with a contrasting striped down the middle. It's a fun way of modernising traditional furnishings.
Sean found the antique round table in the window, and had it ebonized and repaired. It was originally mahogany.
A pair of French repro mirrors from Labyrinthe Interiors sit above each sofa and Sean had a series of gestural ink nudes commissioned and framed simply. The large natural jute rug adds cuts the formality of the room and provides a lovely texture on the black timber floors.
TV / family room
The intent for the TV room was to be the most playful and fun room in the house.
The walls are painted in a lively, citrussy yellow shade by Benjamin Moore.
The designer added the fireplace back to the chimney breast to create a focal-point in the room, then added some Victorian mahogany furniture including the bureau and chest on either side of the chimney breast to add heritage and depth to the space.
The sofas are upholstered in a deep teal blue cotton velvet. The designer pulled all of the colours for the room out of the Schumacher ‘Chiang Mai Dragon’ (colourway emerald) cushions that he had made and fringed in a Samuel and Sons hot pink cotton fringe.
The chair was picked up at auction, and Sean had the ottoman made in a Lee Jofa Aerin Lauder Mirasol Ivy linen chevron with a hot pink silk velvet trim around the bottom.
The vibrant colours and mixed furniture create a collected and eclectic look.
The dining area sits in a modern extension, and is part of an open-plan kitchen.
The space is dominated by large bi-folding doors onto the garden.
Sean wanted to take advantage of all of the natural light and outdoor elements in the scheme. Drawing inspiration from a large Slim Aarons print entitled ‘What to Wear to a Party in Spain’ (Sean had the image blown up and framed), he pulled the tones out of this iconic photograph, using Schumacher's ‘Indian Arbre’ fabric on the dining chairs.
The vintage Chinese Chippendale bamboo chairs around the replica Saarinen table were collected from different dealers throughout England, and were sprayed in Farrow and Ball ‘Pelt’ full gloss. The blinds and stools were done in Schumacher ‘Iconic Leopard’ to satisfy the homeowner's love for animal print.
The pale pink lamps are by Vaughan with Oka lampshades.
Powder room / cloakroom
The guest powder room was a tiny, uninspiring space – it was the perfect place to go for a bold look. The room is wallpapered in Linwood's ‘Jungle Rumble’, with a mid-century oil portrait and Victorian gilt mirror over the sink. The woodwork and cornice is painted in Benjamin Moore ‘Teal Ocean’ 2049-30.
The eclectic theme continues upstairs, where a faux bamboo pagoda mirror complements a pair of vintage Chinese Chippendale bamboo chairs that are upholstered in Schumacher's Iconic Leopard ‘charcoal’ with Hermes orange piping.
Blue Willow plates hang on the wall.
Slim Aarons ‘California Garden Party’ was the starting point for colour and fabrics in this room and it hangs on the wall as you enter.
A vintage Hermes scarf hangs over the mantel with a pair of chests flanking the chimney breast. The fireplace was put back in here to add more of the period elements back into the house.
The wall lights on either side of the bed are Aerin Lauder for Visual comfort.
A pair of perspex plinths flank the pink settee in the window and showcase two large blue and white ginger jars available from Sean Symington Home. The sofa has cushions covered in Schumacher's Chiang Mai dragon (chair backs and cushions) as well as Schumacher ‘Zanzibar Trellis’ (chairs, stools).
The headboard is upholstered in Schumacher's Iconic Leopard , with a matching bolster cushion in the same fabric.
The bathroom kept the original grey tiles and bath, but new tongue and groove cladding makes this grey bathroom feel a little less clinical. The tongue and groove was painted Farrow and Ball ‘Moles Breath’ to go with the Cole And Son ‘Savuti Ardmour’ wallpaper. The wallpaper's colour perfectly complements the existing ‘builder-basic’ tiles and lifts them to a more sophisticated level. The chest is vintage from a dealer and the portrait is 19th century from Vinterior uk.
Interior design by Sean Symington, @seansymington
Photography by Chris Wakefield Photography
Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.
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