A Family Home Renovation in Sussex

Wednesday 11th November 2020by Clare Topham

Moving to the seaside is always an exciting prospect. When it involves an impressive three bedroom Grade II listed apartment right on Brighton's seafront with the most incredible sea views, that excitement is unimaginable. Family home renovation  in Sussex is a mainstay of my business. However as far as design projects go, re-designing a Regency sea front apartment is probably right up there at the top of most Sussex interior designer’s wish lists.

Reception room of a family home renovation in Sussex by Clare Topham Interior Design

Regency sea front apartment design brief 

On moving to one of Brighton’s historic Regency buildings, the owners had a strong desire to restore the property to it's original architectural design.

To do this they needed to replace and refurbish windows and doors. They also needed to reinstate period features such as fireplaces and mouldings.

Additionally, they want to create a living space that is both elegant enough to suit the period property yet appeal to their aesthetic and practical tastes.

In a nutshell, simple lines, uncluttered, contemporary, warm and welcoming.

A family home renovation in Sussex - the details 

Now let's look at the details that make home renovation projects happen. It's always a good idea to retain an interior designer for extensive refurbishment projects like this. Additionally it makes sense to employ one familiar with the area. Having completed many a family home renovation in Sussex I’m familiar with the quirks of local period properties. I also have good relationships with trusted contractors and specialist suppliers

This really takes the stress out of complex project management of dealing with multiple contacts, deliveries and deadlines. Homeowners feel at ease knowing their renovation is in the hands of an experienced team.

It is important to note that building works undertaken within a Grade II listed property require  listed buildings planning consent.

Restoring this property to its original glory involved re-instating the original floor plan and taking the rooms back to their previous size.

The sheer size and height and size of these impressive rooms coupled with the volume of work required made this a substantial project to undertake.

The Design Process 

The process started with an initial consultation to assess the scope of the works, advise on planning consents and provide estimated costs. Following this a full set of plans were drawn up from which I could start working on the design.

Working closely with the homeowners we drew up a specific brief for kitchen and bathroom design. We then moved on to room schemes to include decoration, furniture, soft furnishings and lighting.

From these consultations the homeowners receive 3D visuals of key rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms. Presentation boards with fabrics, paints and finishes allowed them to envisage their home as the finished project ensuring the specifications of the design met the brief. Alongside this I provide technical plans for services such as plumbing and electrics. All of this is presented with a full break down of costs so homeowners can fully understand what the renovation process will involve.

Timescale for this project was one year. The build was slightly delayed due to unforeseen issues that materialised.  Some of the plaster ceilings needed to be sympathetically restored.

Designing for a family home renovation 

The redesign of the property takes into account a home to suit the whole family. For this family home renovation it meant planning rooms and bedrooms for the owners and their teenage daughter.  Additionally the owners also anticipated that their son, who lives away and visits from time to time, will visit a lot more often, given the location of their new home.

Interior design inspiration

The grandeur of the property, it’s historic provenance and it's incredible sea views were the main inspiration for the interior design for this regency sea front apartment

Colourful regency apartment kitchen by Brighton Interior designer Clare Topham

I wanted something that would take in the sea views and combine calm, serene seaside decor with contemporary, understated luxury along with some more opulent and ornate touches.

To do this I introduced a colour scheme of a refined palette of predominantly greys, blues and greens to reflect the sea views.

The use of wood throughout in furnishings and other details also lends a casual seaside charm.

Other aspects such as the gilt ornate framed mirrors, vintage chandeliers and Louis XV chairs reflect the history and character of the Regency period of the building.

The Kitchen design 

Apartment kitchen design by Clare Topham Interior Design

For the kitchen cupboards, a sleek flat panel linear frame with a slim profile worktop were the right choice for the unusual shape of kitchen.  This also allowed enough space at the end for a breakfast bar.

The use of contemporary style wooden wall cabinets on the opposite wall gives a sleek modern finish. The beauty of the breakfast bar is that you can overlook the sea views while eating. The Tom Dixon light shades overhead beautifully reflect the seascape.

The Living Room

Here an elegant feel was achieved using a beautiful pale sea green slub silk fabric to line the wall as a backdrop to the marble fireplace. The fireplace is now restored to its original ornate beauty.

Above the fireplace a gallery of small gilt framed aged mirrors. This is a playful take on the traditional wall decor of a gallery wall or overmantel mirror.

The furniture takes it cue from Scandinavian style and is low profile with clean lines.

I’m a fan of lots of cushions to bring colour and texture.  There are plenty of them and the overall look is elegant yet cosy.

Living room interior design in Brighton by Clare Topham Interiors

The Main Bedroom 

For the bedroom a look of understated glamour.  An ornate patterned textured fabric lines the main wall.  This is set off by a double width, grey buttoned headboard.  Opulent gold side cabinets add to this to create a feeling of elegant luxury. 

Luxury soft furnishings including silvery grey silk curtains and cushions create a haven which is calming, soothing and luxurious.

Bedroom interior design in Brighton seafront apartment by Clare Topham Interior Design


The Bathroom 

The bathroom has clean lines and luxury marble tiles on the floor and walls.

luxury bathroom with marble tiles and antiqued mirror glass designed by Clare Topham Interior Design

The 'piece de resistance' however, is a fantastic aged mirror in pale green which takes up the entire wall over the bath and lends a fabulous glamorous vintage feel. It also brings the seaside colour scheme beautifully through the house.

Other bedrooms

A teenage girls bedroom design in a family home renovation project by Clare Topham Interior Design

In the teenage girl’s bedroom candyfloss pink walls really inject some fun into the whole scheme. It combines a bit of quirky flair with the ditsy-print French style upholstered bed and berry red cushions.

Also in keeping with the seaside part of the scheme is the bespoke chandelier made from recycled objects washed up from the sea.

In the further bedroom the deep wood tones of the simple four poster bed frame and matching chest of drawers complement the natural tones of the textured wall covering. The seafaring style travellers chest bed cabinet further enhances the look.

Bedroom design in a brighton regency apartment

The Hallway 

Lighting design with hallway chandeliers in a brighton interior design apartment

This splendid hallway required the least amount of actual design finish.

It is completely in keeping with the original regency design. A gallery wall of family pictures gives a welcoming feel to the entrance. With it’s matching chandeliers it also ties the whole finished apartment together with its simple grandeur.





Feedback from the client 

The clients are very happy with the finished result. Here’s what they say about working with me on this project.

“We have used Clare for two major renovation projects. For both we needed advice and guidance along the way along with a stunning design scheme.

Our first project was a period building we wanted to be sympathetic to the period of the building whilst making it look fresh and unique. Clare delivered a beautiful interior design project combined with practical ideas for heating, kitchen and bathroom. The finished product was an amazing finish with no detail overlooked…

Clare was a complete joy to work with she has an honest and open approach and provided detailed designs and samples working to our budget. I would recommend her without hesitation.

Read more reviews from my clients on my Houzz Profile

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