FOR MANY years Brian Richards’ life has revolved around creating inviting interiors for other people.
So when it came to turning a sprawling 1900 detached sandstone house in Glasgow’s Pollokshields into a warm family home, he knew exactly what needed to be done.
Brian, who owns the Bunker Bar and Bamboo Nightclub in Glasgow, and has also owned a property renovation business, knows his bricks and mortar. He bought Cloudberry, at 66 St Andrews Drive, seven years ago with husband David Richards.
While the house had been well maintained and extended by the previous owner, the pair had their own ideas about how it would work for them. With the impending arrival of twins Mia and Mason, now aged five, the couple wanted to open the house up to create a better flow for a young family.
“These houses are often made up of lots of small rooms,” says Brian. “We wanted it to be more open for the twins coming. We spent a year doing the house up before we moved in. We had a house in Cathcart and lived in the States for a while. I had a business renovating houses at the time so my business partner managed the house for me while we were away.”
Walking into Cloudberry, you are instantly struck by the height of the ceilings, the warm palette of gold on the Zoffany wall covering in the hall and the majestic stained glass window, which was crafted locally by Hurry Brothers, at the half landing.
This awe-inspiring scene extends throughout the whole house. Every room has its own identity yet seamlessly blends with the next. However, this exquisite finish has evolved following a finely tuned programme of upgrade.
The couple installed a ground source heat pump to power the underfloor heating that they laid on both ground and first-floor levels. They upgraded the electrics, installing downlighters, and replaced the plumbing.
Upstairs they turned an en suite into a Jack-and-Jill bathroom to the fourth bedroom, which is used as a dressing room for the master suite. They converted the attic into a spare bedroom with en suite and dressing room.
However, the downstairs living space was Brian’s priority in terms of layout and flow. He decided to knock walls down between the former kitchen, utility and butler’s pantry to create a new kitchen that is semi open-plan to the dining room, where they installed a wood burning stove and created two sets of double doors out to the garden. Sliding frosted glass doors separate the kitchen from the family room.
The previous owner had built a sound-proofed music room next to the family room but Brian and David turned this space into a home cinema. Loud & Clear were brought in to install a system that finds the cinema screen, curtains and lights all remotely controlled, while a bespoke cinema unit was created by Thomas Johnstone.
New limestone fireplaces were fitted in the family room and formal lounge, and the former office was turned into a playroom for the children. Brian brought his friend, interior designer Catherine Henderson, on board to help co-ordinate the furnishings and décor while he and David were overseas.
“Catherine knew what I had done before, so she already knew that I liked a modern classic look,” says Brian. “Catherine gave me the confidence to be a little more daring with colour. I had always done properties to sell so had kept them fairly neutral, but this was to be our home to live in, which is different. Catherine and I went to London for a couple of days and chose all the furniture and décor. I am quite a decisive person.”
The Robinson & White kitchen is undoubtedly at the heart of Cloudberry. Now sitting between the dining space and the family room, with a white Corian island in the centre, the combination of the soft green tones of the gloss units and the polished concrete work surfaces create a practical yet eye-catching room. A damask etched glass splashback ties in with the etched glass window, while the green tones have been continued in the family room, with the textured wallpaper and sofa.
A bank of soft green units in the dining room holds the coffee maker and wine chiller, and the bespoke Italian white square dining table is framed by eight deep purple upholstered chairs which cleverly pick up the mauve tone in the curtains.
The cinema room is clearly the scene for many cosy family nights and parties. Rust and taupe-covered Designers Guild sofas and armchairs have been strategically placed, while the double bay windows give lovely views to the front garden and access to the barbecue patio at the rear. In contrast to this room, the formal lounge is a serene space with its silver, off-white and turquoise palette.
Each bathroom – the downstairs WC, en-suite and family bathroom – features Porcelanosa tiling and a mix of Porcelanosa and Duravit sanitary ware.
Brian’s new-found love of colour has extended into each of the bedrooms, with the fun Quentin Blake-designed Osborne & Little wallpaper “Cockatoos” in Mia and Mason’s room, a gold woven covering in the guest bedroom and a velvet silver and turquoise paper in the master bedroom and dressing room.
Brian has also paid particular attention to highlighting the character of the old house. “There was no ceiling rose in the master bedroom so we put that one in as we knew we wanted the big glass chandelier,” he says. “We also fitted the two ceiling roses in the upper hallway. We got Thomas Johnstone fitted wardrobes with oak interiors made for each of the bedrooms too.”
Outside, Brian and David landscaped the electric gated garden and driveway which leads to the double garage, as well as the rear garden which now has a plentiful fruit garden, expansive lawn for the children’s trampoline and tree house, and a pergola-covered patio area for entertaining.
The couple have undeniably created a warm and inviting family home. “The kids love the garden and help us grow fruit and vegetables,” says Brian. “We mainly live between the family room, kitchen and dining room. I love the dining room in the summer with the doors open to the garden, but equally love it in the winter with the log burner on. The house is just how we wanted it to be.”
• Cloudberry, 66 St Andrews Drive, Pollokshields, Glasgow, is for sale at offers over £950,000 through Corum (0141-636 7588, www.corumproperty.co.uk)
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