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Our home gave us a whole new lifestyle

Smart buys and clever ideas helped Gemma and James Feist transform their home, and their lives

The walls in the living room are painted in Farrow & Ball’s Purbeck Stone and the sofa is a 1970s leather Chesterfield they bought from an antiques shop. Behind it they added this piece of personalised artwork from Rockett St George. ‘We knew we needed a landscape image, not portrait for this space, and this was perfect,’ says James. The white dog on the desk in the bay came from Next. The Ercol coffee table is one of James’ favourite finds

It’s seven years since Gemma and James Feist first clapped eyes on their new home. They’d been searching in the area – a quiet seaside town in Hampshire – for a property nearer to Gemma’s parents and a quieter location to start a family. ‘We loved our old house in Southsea but moving forward we wanted something more family orientated in an area with parking and as near to the sea as possible,’ says Gemma.

James repainted the front door and gate in Farrow & Ball’s Lichen after realising the original seaside blue didn’t work on the 1930s property

They found what they were looking for in a solid, semi-detached 1930s property just one street back from the beach. ‘It was narrow-looking but went far back and previously belonged to a hairdresser who had a lovely arty style,’ says Gemma. ‘It was very nice inside but just not to our taste.’

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About Your Home Magazine

I know that November isn’t everyone’s favourite month, but I think there’s something rather cosy about coming home on a cold, dark night and curling up on the sofa in front of the fire. If you’re thinking of investing in a wood-burner to warm up your home this winter then turn to page 115, where we’ve got the low-down on the latest models and what you need to consider before you buy. Talking of making your home warm and toasty, do take a look at George Clarke’s column this month, where he shares his expert advice on insulating your home (p.111). Of course nothing beats, a tasty comforting supper on those chilly November nights – so do try our delicious recipe suggestions on page 100, packed with warming spices! I know many of you are keen to be braver when it comes to using pattern in your home, so on page 36 we show how to make it work for you, from balancing scale to creating the illusion of space and, of course, our pick of the latest designs for wallpapers and fabrics to inspire you. Many of us dream of living in a period property with gorgeous plasterwork and beautiful fireplaces, but in reality many of them have had their original features removed or damaged over the years. In this month’s home improvement feature, we take a look at what steps you need to take to restore your period home to its former glory and where to look for affordable, original materials (p.106). Happy decorating!