This Victorian House Built in 1894 Is Dark, Gothic, and Gorgeously Glam

published Oct 5, 2021

This Victorian House Built in 1894 Is Dark, Gothic, and Gorgeously Glam

published Oct 5, 2021
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Bedrooms
Square feet
1800
Sq ft
1800

Name: Rachel Edmonds, husband, three kids, and Buster the dog
Location: Devon, UK
Size: 1800 square feet
Type of Home: Detached Victorian house built in 1894
Years Lived In: Owned for almost 25 years

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“From the moment I set my foot through the threshold I knew it was the one,” explains Rachel Edmonds, an interior blogger, Instagrammer, and former furniture designer who lives in Devon with her husband Tony and their three sons in a quirky, detached Victorian house built in 1894. “During the 1920s the house was owned by a veterinarian who looked after the horses in the Boer War and the First World War as an officer in the Veterinary Corps. He then came home to set up a practice here in this house. I met a lovely lady in her 80s recently who remembers bringing her pet rabbit here as a child,” Rachel reveals about the fascinating history behind her home.

Rachel and her family has been living in this home for almost 25 years, and over the years she’s transformed this former vet practice into a cool, dark, “gothic glam” home. The space where the actual vet practice was has now been turned into an uber chic Italian-inspired “she-shed,” complete with mosaic style floor that Rachel painted and gilded by hand herself. “I’ve always from a tot been creative and started designing (tentatively) at the age of 12,” she explains. “Thank you, dad, for allowing me to create an eye-wateringly/amazing bedroom. Who knew white carpet for a 12-year-old discovering makeup was a no-no! But here I am now, having learned from that mistake and loving my creative journey.”

Credit: Viv Yapp

Her childhood has clearly shaped Rach’s interior design journey, and she spent 15 years designing furniture in her own company. “My bed and bedroom furniture are my designs as well as my dining room table,” Rachel says, “but all good things come to an end and so did this. The company closed and that’s when I set up my blog, which is my creative outlet along with my Instagram account.”

Credit: Viv Yapp

What is so lovely about this home is that it’s not just a cool trendy space, but a family home through and through. “As a mum of two autistic sons, I feel so passionately about how our homes can affect our mood that I want us all to take a moment to think about what makes us smile. And then incorporate this into our homes. It’s not about trends, it’s about what makes you happy, or calm when you’ve had a bad day. Or gives you energy when you thought you were all out of it.” Indeed, Rachel has built a wonderful home for her family, and they have reaped the rewards, especially during the pandemic in the past year, spending much more time at home together with lockdown and homeschooling. “Now more than ever our homes are our sanctuary and life is way too short for vanilla,” Rachel adds.

Credit: Viv Yapp

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: How would I describe my style? I’m really not sure. It’s a melting pot of inspiration but I love one description someone gave it as dark, gothic glam. It sums up my love of dark colors, a nod to history and my home, and the odd (okay maybe more) addition of gold leaf.

Inspiration: What inspires me? That’s a tricky one, I’m inspired by so many things. I love Italy; in fact missing it so much over the last two years it inspired the design of my “she-shed.” It’s an homage to the busy café culture and its wonderful architecture. I love Italian food, architecture, and visiting Roman ruins (again inspiring the mosaic style of the floor in the she-shed, which I painted and gilded by hand). I love to bring emotions to life too, evoking happy memories of happy times we have spent together as a family. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

History plays an important role too, as does nature and how it puts colors and texture together. The blind and stool in my sitting room for instance immediately made me think of dark summer skies in our garden when the evenings are warm, there’s laughter around the table and bats circling overhead. Which brings me to animals, another inspiration and a nod to the house’s former use. I also love surprises in interiors, something to raise an eyebrow or create a conversation and I love words too, so what better way to meet both requirements than with my “Bollocks” art, which I created myself. It was such a hit on Instagram that I now make them to order too. 

Favorite Element: It changes almost everyday but I come back every time to the chairs in my dining room. My husband surprised me with them shortly after we moved in together. I love them now as much as the day he surprised me with them. They were found in an old cupboard at work they were free (work was very glad to get rid of them) and yet here they still are with us. Very much loved and many times reupholstered!

Credit: Viv Yapp

Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge has always been creating what’s in my head without breaking the bank. A case of champagne taste on a lemonade budget. The solution though is really rather simple: you can achieve so much yourself if you choose to believe in the possibility that you can do it yourself (DIY). Not only can you get a great result doing it yourself but the feeling of achievement when the job is finished is second to none. Go for it!

Another challenge was our roof when we first moved in. Re-roofing was definitely a big challenge but then it leaked like a sieve the first time it rained after we moved in, so boy was it worth it! Every time we had more than a shower I’d be running around with buckets and saucepans! To make matters worse, I was pregnant with my middle son when the scaffolding went up in April and the weather was so bad that year. It was finally finished, and the scaffolding was taken down in November just before I came home from the hospital with him. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

Proudest DIY: It has to be my youngest son’s bedroom. It’s basically a box room and started out as the family nursery room but with no more bedrooms to spread out to it became my youngest’s room to grow up in. Only to find at six-feet tall that he didn’t really fit in it anymore. And so, thinking outside the box (because the room really is that small) I moved the bed up. Inspired by the New York loft aesthetic I created a zoned space with a work area, chill-out corner, and sleeping arrangement all packaged neatly within what the UK estate agents used to call compact. Everything in the room was made by me from plywood and small gauge scaffolding (used for handrails). I made the bed, the wardrobe, and the desk. My favorite part are the steps to the bed; each step has a cut out so that you don’t bang your knees as you climb to the top. 

Biggest Indulgence: I’m not sure it’s my biggest indulgence as it was a gift for my husband and so technically not mine but I love the 1970s Rockola juke box that I bought for him as a surprise birthday gift around 15 years ago. An eBay find (love shopping there and Facebook Marketplace, too), it was too far away for me to collect and so I asked the distribution company that delivered our furniture to be in on the secret. They collected it and stored it for me until his birthday. A complete music fanatic he absolutely loved it as he still does today.

Credit: Viv Yapp

It’s filled with such an eclectic mix of genres and on full blast literally makes the stone walls of the house shake! We had it fully serviced and restored not long after it arrived with us but sadly it’s developed a problem picking up the records and so it’s time to find someone to fix it again. Thankfully there is a mobile company that comes to your house now rather than having to send it away but what with lockdowns and Covid the waiting list is extremely long so we will have to wait a while longer until we can have a boogie in the sitting room again. 

Is something unique about your home or the way you use it? Other than its history, we still use the rooms as they were intended. Having said that, the sitting room is now split (not by us) and one end was the original Victorian kitchen. The outhouses built onto the back of the house were also originally the waiting room and consulting rooms for the vet that used to live here. One is now my she-shed and the other two are workrooms. One for myself and one for my husband. 

Credit: Viv Yapp

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I have to be honest it changes all the time but my ultimate purchase has to be my cooker, I love it. Not only because it’s still going strong after 21 years (fabulous quality) but it looks just as good as it cooks too. 

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Think outside the box. Small should not always be light, darker colors can open up a space. And use the walls too. If you cannot go out, go up. Move a bed up the wall and raise furniture off the floor to give the feeling of space. Think about zoning the space too; giving distinct areas for uses creates a feeling of openness. 

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Do not be afraid to follow your gut! In fact, just do not be afraid at all when it comes to decorating your home. Life is too short to conform to the norm. Your home should be a happy place. Embrace you, your style and go for it.

Resources

Credit: Viv Yapp

PAINT & COLORS

  • Sitting Room — M&L Paint “Graphite Grey” 
  • Dining Room  — M&L Paint “Graphite Grey”
  • Kitchen — M&L Paint “Graphite Grey”
  • Bedroom — M&L Paint “Graphite Grey”
  • Hallway (below dado rail) — M&L Paint “Black Fossil”
Credit: Viv Yapp

ENTRY

Credit: Viv Yapp

LIVING ROOM

Credit: Viv Yapp

DINING ROOM

Credit: Viv Yapp

KITCHEN

Credit: Viv Yapp

BEDROOM

Thanks Rachel!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.