Penarwyn House, Par Cornwall
A creative yet sympathetic interiors renovation.
This is a redecoration which I hold close to my heart. The interiors reflect my creativity and personality, in a space which I call home.
The house was built in 1895 by local landowner and businessman John De Cressy Treffry, from a well-known local family, whose residence at Place House in Fowey is listed in the Doomsday Book. His father built Treffry Viaduct in Luxulyan Valley and the docks at Par in Cornwall.
Home is where the heart is:
We purchased Penarwyn House in 2019. It had, until fairly recently, been run as a high class B&B so luckily we didn’t need to add any en-suite bathrooms as all six bedrooms on the first floor already had them. The main part of the house was in a very good state of repair. As the property had been run commercially, a lot of the furnishings were chosen for durability and not for style. The previous owners had some beautiful antiques, but I didn’t want the house to be like an antique shop. I wanted to incorporate a mixture of styles to indulge my love of quirky interiors.
The first thing that struck us on entering the house for the first time, was the huge hall with the most amazing high ceilings and ornate coving. All of the original features, including the Victorian doors, architraves and high skirting boards were in place, as was the parquet floors and the carved Treffry coat of arms on the fine staircase.
Not so nice, was the dark red carpet from the days of the house being a B&B and the almost derelict rooms at the back of the house that had been used as a workshop and store for many years. However, we instantly saw the potential in the house and promptly fell in love with it!
Dining room restoration:
The first job we tackled was the dining room which had originally been the Estate Office in the days when John De Cressy Treffry had land and staff. The room had been the dining room for the B&B’s guests, so it had dark blue carpets, beige walls and heavy tapestry style blinds.
We decided to pull back a section of the carpet to see what was underneath and, to our delight, found another parquet floor! Though it needed a little repair, the majority of the floor was intact which was a real bonus. I had been longing to use a beautiful period wallpaper from Little Green called Brodsworth, which is a copy of a wallpaper found at Brodsworth Hall in South Yorkshire. The wallpaper is predominantly turquoise and pink with gold and we used this in the wood panels and painted the frames in a gorgeous teal shade called Marine Blue. To highlight the gold in the wallpaper, I chose a rich antique gold fabric for the blinds and the dining chairs were then re-upholstered in a turquoise cut velvet fabric from Designers Guild.
Making an entrance:
The next job to address was the hall. Though it is huge, the space seemed to lack light due to the pale yellow walls and the dark red rugs. The red stair carpet wasn’t helping either! We then painted the walls in two shades, Little Green French Grey below the dado and white above. Removed all of the dark red Chinese style rugs, replacing them with contemporary rugs in vibrant hues and a silver metallic finish cowhide. We also added contemporary paintings to the walls but kept a 1930’s feel by adding a Deco style mirror, keeping the mix of new and old to great effect. The red stair carpet was removed and replaced with a pale grey stair runner by Roger Oates, perfectly finished with chrome stair rods.
Living Room modernisation:
When we first moved to the house, we liked the lounge so lived with the style for a while. This provided us the opportunity to reflect on the design of the space. The room had been panelled above dado to great effect. Inside each panel was a beautiful sage green and gold brocade fabric. The rest of the room however was painted in a soft green, which didn’t really give the room a pop of colour. We also had lovely old gold velvet sofas, which we didn’t want to lose, so what colours to go for?
We introduced the beautiful teal green velvet armchair and oversized buttoned footstool to the room. The armchair and footstool were commissioned from a local upholsterer. Next were the brass Art Deco style sideboard and TV cabinet, which added a little pizazz. The scheme however was still missing something. I found a black and gold up-cycled glass cabinet on Marketplace and that helped to shape my ideas for the rest of the room, driving me to get the paint colour charts out again!
The first colour that stood out to me was Farrow & Ball Pigeon which is very similar in tone to the fabric in the panels, but on its own, that wasn’t going to be strong enough to pull the scheme together. So I chose Farrow & Ball Off-Black for the panels below the dado and the radiators, this colour gave some weight to the design.
Finally, we painted each of the panel mouldings in a warm metallic gold; using the same colour on the carved panels on the back of the door to add the Wow factor.
Accessorising a room is always key to completing a room, so for a final flourish, I added a Deco style Tiger print armchair and footstool, black and white photographs of the 1930’s on the walls and a fabulous Ostrich feather standing lamp, which brought out my love of quirky interiors! We didn’t think we could improve on this room, but now we absolutely love it!
The house had several unused and unloved spaces when we moved in. One of them being the huge loft space that had previously been servants’ quarters. The space was one huge void that desperately needed some love and attention, but what to do with it?! We decided that a gym/tv room/music room would be a brilliant space to retreat so I set about designing it.
The first job to tackle was the ceilings, as it had none! The space has the original beams which had aged to a gorgeous colour, so we decided to leave them alone. We needed the floors to be practical, so we opted for an antique oak finish, which was very close in colour to the beams. Then we painted the doors and skirtings in Farrow & Ball Old White which is a gorgeous period colour.
Next was the furniture, which I wanted to be worn and vintage, so we found a lovely second hand chesterfield sofa on Marketplace and a French leather armchair at an antique fair. The rug and cushions are all vintage that were sourced from local charity shops. The painted sideboard was from my previous home. The vintage style lights on the beams were sourced online. The room was, to all intents and purposes ‘finished’ but I then found a fantastic vintage style wallpaper that shows various boxing moves. It was perfect to add a little warmth to the back wall.
A space to reflect:
The most recent rooms to be completed, are my office (the library) and the garden room. The original use of these rooms was as the kitchen and scullery. The space was divided up into small rooms many years ago to create a downstairs flat, but it was in a terrible state of repair. We needed to remove the partition walls to see how much space we had to play with and what their new purpose might be. The original wood windows were in a pretty good state of repair but much of the floors had to be removed.
We had always loved the idea of creating a panelled library, so we started sketching up some ideas. First, I took photos of each of the walls, printed them out and then sketched the panels and bookcases on them. This gave us a basic idea to show to our joiner so he could create something from my scribblings. New floors were laid with underfloor heating and the room slowly started to take shape. As the rooms had originally been used by the staff, they did not have the grandeur of the rest of the house, so we incorporated traditional coving and mouldings and added a Victorian fireplace. Parquet was the obvious choice for the floors.
The room had a small window to the side, which was a later addition and was pretty ugly, so I found the perfect solution; a beautiful original stained-glass window with a painting in the centre which depicts a place in North Wales where my husband’s family are from. This lovely little window was the influence for all the colours chosen for the room. However, finding the right combination of colours was challenging!
I wanted the room to have a traditional gentleman’s club feel but I didn’t want it to be too masculine. After trying lots of paint colours, we went for Farrow & Ball Railings on the bookshelves and Farrow & Ball French Gray on the panelling. The fire surround was also painted in Railings and gorgeous bottle green brick tiles were added to the hearth. Then I went back to the colours in the window and chose a vibrant pink rug and armchair, which worked perfectly with our old green velvet chair. I’ve had roman blinds made from a Vintage style green and pink fabric with soon to follow window seat cushions. I’ve added more nods to femininity by adding some lovely female sculptures to the shelves. I absolutely love this room. It’s a real pleasure to work in.
Last, but certainly not least, is the garden room. Again, the room was completely derelict when we moved in. It had been used as a workshop for several years. The first thing we noticed that was the room had no windows facing the garden. As the room had previously been the kitchen, I guess the staff were not encouraged to look at it. We therefore knocked an opening through the wall which now looks out onto a very tropical terrace, with large pergola, trailing vines and palm trees. The old 1960’s stone fireplace had long since been blocked off, so we decided to remove it to create a bit more space. Again, the floors were removed, and underfloor heating was put in.
The palm trees outside the window were the influence for the mural. The colours are so warm that even on a gloomy day in appears to have a rosy sunlit glow. More challenging was choosing a wallpaper for the remaining walls as everything we came across was too busy or just the wrong colour. We even tried rag rolling the walls but that was a time-consuming disaster, so we reverted to the wallpaper idea, finally finding the perfect one in The Range.
The look and feel of the space:
This room was always intended to be OTT! It was a room where I could really let my love of colour flourish! Rich, my husband, also loves vibrant colours so that really helped too! I wanted the room to be rich and opulent, with heavy drapes and French inspired furniture. After much research and many fabric samples, I chose gold velvet fabric called Beatrice from Kobe. It has that real vintage feel that I was looking for. I then added some heavy fringing to the curtains and roman blinds.
The furniture is second hand and was found on Marketplace. The Turkish chandelier was an Ebay purchase. We added traditional coving and ceiling mouldings, painted in gold to add glamour! The glass display cabinet was originally dark wood, but we painted it in matt black and added gold detailing to make it really special. The turquoise and gold console table had been standing in our garage for some time. We’d been using it to cut wood up on! But with a couple of coats of paint, it was just perfect for the room! The Art Nouveaux standing lamp and the marble top table came from an auction. Faux plants added to the French/Victorian feel of the room.
Finally, the turquoise and pink rug was a very reasonable online find and pulled the design scheme together. We’re still gobsmacked by these rooms. I feel that they have really pushed the boundaries of my creativity and design skills. There has been much to overcome along the way, but the end result is so rewarding.
Next onto the kitchen!