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Step Inside | Elizabeth at Victorian House 1896

Beverley Park steps inside @victorianhouse1896 to chat to Elizabeth about the gorgeous home she lives in with her husband Steve and two adorable cats, Noodle and Freddy.

Written by High Life North
Published 31.01.2020

By Beverley Park

How did you decide on this property?

We decided to relocate back to the North East from Birmingham where we lived in a new build, the property was advertised on Rightmove. Whilst Steve was still working his notice, I viewed the house with my Dad and loved it immediately. The house had been empty for around two years so I really got a sense of space.  I initially fell in love with the stairs; they just seemed so wide and inviting. The room proportions and ceiling height of Victorian properties are so much more generous than modern houses. That said I would kill for the straight walls of my previous new build! I put an offer in within a matter of days, which was accepted although Steve still hadn’t seen it! It was several weeks later once the conveyancing wheels were in motion that he saw it for the first time. Luckily, he loved it too.

What hidden features have you found in this 1896 property?

Whilst some of the original features have been lost over the years, some do still remain, and some we uncovered when we moved in such as the ceiling in the entrance vestibule that had been covered up with wood cladding, or the hearth tiles in two of the bedrooms on the first floor which had been hidden for decades. Only one of six fireplaces remain with the other five having been removed at some point.

How have you maintained the original features?

I wanted to do the house justice in terms of its history and features, I didn’t want to fill it solely with modern furniture and accessories, nor did I want to feel like I was living in a museum. I wanted to create a balance between modern fixtures and fittings whilst including a nod to the past too. Eclectic I guess you would say. We replaced and rebuilt 2 bathrooms with modern fittings, but included a free-standing bath and Victorian-style patterned tiles to tie in with age of the house.

Do you prefer DIY or bring in the professionals?

There are some jobs I’m happy to tackle myself, particularly the cosmetic aspects such as painting, decorating, fitting picture rails and upcycling furniture, but mostly I’m happy to pay for the professionals to do a good job, like when we renovated the sixth bedroom to provide modern luxuries of a dressing room and en-suite.   

What’s your take on styling wall space?

All the artwork we have in the house means something to us. It’s either photographs we’ve taken or old family ones, maps and posters of local places, or pieces we’ve collected on our travels. I love that every time I walked past it, it evokes some sort of memory and therefore feeling.

What’s your favourite feature of the property?

My favourite physical feature of the house would probably be the original vestibule ceiling that, once we’d found, had to be restored and repainted. I also love my two Queen Victoria corbels in the hallway casually keeping an eye on what goes on. Otherwise, I love that fact the house has a history and a story to tell, and I’ve invested a lot of time researching its former residents. The property was originally sold for £700!

What are you most proud of?

I love that the interior of your home can have such a powerful effect on your emotions. Being in a room that you have decorated and styled, and you, therefore, enjoy looking at, can really impact your mood. Everyone likes to be surrounded by nice things and interior design is a chance to make your surroundings as beautiful to you as they can be.

What makes this house special to you?

The house is so special, it means we can have the whole family to stay at Christmas! We also have the beach within walking distance which Steve especially loves, having been brought up in Coventry – the most landlocked city in the UK.

Is this your forever home?

I certainly have no intention of moving again, as space-wise, this house gives us everything we need, but never say never!

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