An Imaginatively refurbished house in Littleover, Derby

Ashley Franklin explores an imaginatively refurbished home that uses top modern deisgn to combine comfort and glamour.

From the outside, Dave and Estelle Gerard's home in Littleover on the outskirts of Derby gives the appearance of a typically smart, spacious family abode which you would doubtless see described in the property pages as 'appealing', even 'desirable'. However, step inside and one can envisage an estate agent excitedly thumbing a thesaurus to convey the sumptuous splendour of the d�cor. For Estelle, the plush, glamorous interior design is the result of three years of thumbing through magazines and compiling a scrapbook of ideas, and a further year of restoration and installation to realise a dream.

When the Gerards moved to Littleover - 'to be closer to family' - Estelle's interest in interior d�cor/design and Dave's profession as the proprietor of a building firm coalesced in a lavish project to create a whole new home interior. 'From an investment point of view, we knew this property had the potential to extend and make for a larger family home,' Estelle points out. Excited as she was, Estelle planned carefully: 'Our new house was a bit run down and in need of renovation but rather than rush our plans, we decided to live in the house for six months just to enable us to get a feel for the house and discuss ideas.'

Crucial to the co-ordination of their ideas was Kay Ward of Kay Ward Interiors in Weston on Trent who was engaged as Estelle's design and 'home-staging' advisor, although by the time Kay was involved, Estelle had a firm conception of the interior she craved. 'She had a unique and distinctive vision,' recalls Kay. 'She knew exactly the style and feel she wanted to create for the property. It was a pleasure for me to work with Estelle, as the "brief" was thorough and comprehensive which, coupled with her excellent taste and enthusiasm, contributed to the successful creation of Estelle's dream home.' With Kay's guidance, the work commenced. The family moved into rented accommodation, with Estelle spending every day at their house coordinating the work.

It was touch and go as to whether the family would be able to move back into their finished home for Christmas. 'Sometimes we would end up eating dinner at two in the morning through Dave working evenings on the house or me managing my side of the project,' recalls Estelle. 'I also had two children to bring up!'

The Gerards moved back in on Christmas Eve. 'It was later than planned but appropriate in a way because it was the best Christmas Day ever,' smiles Estelle, clearly thrilled with the transformation. She is particularly fond of the spacious kitchen which epitomises Estelle's taste for classy Art Deco styling, from the gold leaf swirl patterning on thecolumns through to the chandeliers and 100 per cent silk, swag and tail curtains. 'I'm not very practical when it comes to kitchens,' admits Estelle, 'so I went for something purely aesthetic. I also love symmetry which you can see here as well as in other rooms.'

The kitchen's warm, creamy, colours together with a seating area featuring two comfy leather sofas and a large wall-mounted TV screen have made this the room where the family spend nearly all their leisure time. It's not just the colours that are warm: beneath the travertine tiles lies underfloor heating. The family can also enjoy the invigorating warmth of a hot tub in the garden while a more refreshing dip can be enjoyed in the swimming pool, a former outbuilding, housed in an airy, glassed conservatory style setting.

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Due to the popular use of the kitchen, the sitting room is reserved for formal and special occasions, where guests can sink back in the fleur-de-lys style black and white sofas. Artful rococo dining chairs are beautifully complemented by a stunning glass-topped table designed by Christine and Duncan MacLean of Seymour Interiors who also sourced, built and hand-painted furniture pieces to match the table. 'This table is truly bespoke,' affirms Christine. 'There isn't another one like it in the country.'

The luxuriant d�cor continues upstairs. The main bathroom is wrapped in warm-coloured tiles and set off by a handsome vanity unit. A chic, traditionally-styled freestanding bath in the en suite bathroom is notable for its striking silver shell legs, complemented by a silver framed mirror. The scheme in both the main and guest bedrooms is tasteful and restrained, contrasting with the flourish and fun of the children's rooms. For 10-year-old Bradley and 5-yearold Sina, Estelle essentially created the fantasy worlds oftheir dreams after Christine MacLean recommended artist Robert Tedaldi from the Uttoxeter company Painted Worlds.Bradley's attic room was turned into a cool metropolis of flying skateboarders with an audio-visual entertainment area including a sofa-bed for a sleepover pal. Sina's distinctly pink bedroom is like a Disney realm and, as in Bradley's room, Sina herself has been painted into the walls, pictured as a fairytale princess. Even her dainty television set is pink, and LEDs set in the ceiling above her bed twinkle at night. Both children were shown their new rooms on Christmas Day. 'I'll never forget the looks on their faces for as long as I live,' says Estelle. 'Both were mesmerised, and when Bradley eventually spoke, he said "We're never going to have to move, are we?" Sina feels the same.'

Of course, both children will grow out of their bedrooms and maybe that will be the catalyst for another interior makeover, for which Estelle confesses to a yearning, even though she is clearly delighted with her dream. 'Estelle should feel very proud,' says Kay Ward. 'She has created a stunning interior, incorporating an extremely opulent scheme with an elegance which flows effortlessly throughout each room, also creating that continuity of style she wanted. The house is fabulous.'

'Estelle and Dave have achieved the harmonious look of the house through a lot of dogged determination and hard work,' states Christine, 'even if it's meant a few extra grey hairs for a very tolerant and understanding Dave!' 'I do feel proud,' concurs Estelle, 'and I shall enjoy every moment in this house. However, I got such pleasure in realising this vision that I'd be very excited taking on another project.'

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