Karen & Kevin’s Traditional English Victorian Apartment

published Nov 23, 2014
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(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Name: Karen and Kevin
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 18 years; owned

This Victorian apartment in central Guildford is home to Karen, a visual merchandiser who’s embarking on a new career in interior design, and husband Kevin, an aircraft engineer. With their combined design and practical skills, they have created an elegant, comfortable home that’s painted in subtle, neutral Farrow and Ball tones, filled with vintage and classic pieces, and beautifully styled with the loveliest personal accessories.

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The handsome exterior of the apartment, in a large Victorian house. (Image credit: Cathy Pyle)
(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Eighteen years ago, this apartment occupied part of the ground floor of the house, and the space was divided into several smaller rooms with an adjoining corridor. Later, the opportunity arose to buy the shared basement from their neighbours in order to create a generous master bedroom, which enabled Karen and Kevin to open up the ground floor space to create a spacious eat-in kitchen – in fact, reinstating the place the kitchen had when the house was first built.

Today, on the ground floor there’s the kitchen, the fabulously-proportioned living room with its high ceilings and vast windows, bathroom, and son Monty’s bedroom,which opens onto a small private terrace and overlooks the shared back garden. Stairs now lead from a small lobby area to the master bedroom below.

Over the years, Karen has expressed her love of interiors with some very different styles – from dark and dramatic burgundy walls and woodwork in the lounge to mid-century modern. But over the years, she and Kevin have settled into a new, more traditional style that has a timeless feel, with layers of textiles and deep sofas that invite you to sink into them. Welcome to their home!

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Traditional.

Inspiration: Plain English, Cabbages and Roses.

Favorite Element: The ceiling height – 3m!

Biggest Challenge: Planning and reconfiguring the space.

What Friends Say: It’s welcoming and homely.

Biggest Embarrassment: Painting the lounge dark burgundy – a colour that only worked on Christmas Day!

Proudest DIY: Kevin fitted the kitchen, including making cupboards to match the ones from Neptune, and the bathroom – tiling, plumbing and all.

Biggest Indulgence: The chandelier in the living room, from Pied Piper who supply to Liberty’s.

Best Advice: Make sure a room has lots of lighting, including on tables and floor, to create atmosphere.

Dream Sources: Liberty’s, Anthropologie.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Resources of Note:


Farrow and Ball: Shaded White in the kitchen, with Strong White on the woodwork; Pavilion Grey in the lounge and bathroom; Light Blue in Monty’s bedroom, and his bed is painted in Down Pipe. Kitchen cupboards are Neptune’s Dove Grey.


Table – Bardoe and Appel

Bureau – (just seen) made by Karen’s grandfather out of packaging crates during the war

Sofas – sofa.com, Liberty

Cushions, Anthropologie, Ikea

Table – 20th Century Marks

Duck print fabric on chair – Mulberry


Cupboards and table – Neptune

Chairs – Dwell

Vase on table – Poole Pottery, made by Karen’s grandmother

Cups and plates – Anthropologie and Orla Kiely

Tray – Ikea


Bed- from a vintage shop

Chair, desk, rug, duvet – all Ikea

Curtains – Ian Mankin

Pompoms – The George in Rye


Wallpaper – Laura Ashley

Wallhangings – TK Maxx (above bed), and Anthropologie (on dividing wall)

Blankets – Johnstons

Table – Mark Maynard

Chair – inherited

Cushion, fabrics, booties – Liberty

Frames – Habitat

Stair carpet – Roger Oates


Bathroom suite – Bathstore

Tiles – Fired Earth

Mirrored cabinets – Metlex

Towel – Anthropologie

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Thanks, Karen and Kevin!

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