Northern Woman takes a look inside an Antrim home with a French twist
Photography by Michael Bradley
Tucked away in the countryside, Seóna and Paul McErlean’s Toombridge home appears as if it has been there for decades as it so seamlessly blends in with the natural surroundings. The sweeping bay windows, antique-style furniture and ornate décor touches create the sense of belonging to another time, so it’s surprising to learn that the couple moved into their self-build only eight years ago.
“I have always loved Victorian style and we wanted a two-storey house with bay windows,” Seóna explains. “We were looking for a site that was right for us for years; while we were waiting we designed our perfect house. Paul drew the house plans and a lot of the rooms were designed around furniture pieces that we already had, such as the chaise longue in the hall.
“The style of our home is Victorian but I really like French style and you can see that in the fittings, cornicing, flooring and moulding on the outside walls.”
Planning Their Interior
In the days before Pinterest or Instagram became popular, Seóna completed an interior design workshop which helped her to create a visual concept for her home. On the instructor’s advice, she made mood boards using photos torn out of home interior magazines and planned each room using the images as inspiration.
“I also like 50p-shape so we added in a back porch, with a reading room tower and hexagonal turret,” Seóna adds. “My favourite room is the sitting room because of the amount of work we put into it and how it turned out. We don’t have a TV in there and we love sitting around the open fire when guests come over. Paul did a fantastic job on the wall panelling.”
Seóna takes NW on a tour of her house, which is home to three children; Líle, Ben and Isabel.
The parquet floor was reclaimed from an old church and was restored by a local tradesman. The sofas and armchairs were Gumtree finds, they were two different sets and I had them all upholstered in the same fabric.
Bold & Beautiful Bathroom
I love the slipper bath and the splayed window facing out over the view. The bath was finished white and I painted it green. The cast-iron French radiator is from Wilson’s Yard, Dromore.
Country-style Kitchen with Class
The island in the kitchen is great for cooking and baking. I love the dusted damson colour against the cream cupboards and stone-coloured island. The teacups on the shelves were car boot finds.
Bespoke Regal Touches
I designed the stained-glass window myself after researching Victorian and Edwardian stained-glass designs online. The cushions on the chaise lounge accentuate the colours in the window. The stained glass in the door is the same design as the landing window, just tweaked to fit the door panels. I wanted the house to have that period feel inside and so the floor tiles were a must.
Sugar, Spice & All Things Nice
Our three-year-old Isabel has just moved into her own room and it was so fun decorating it for her. She loves the fairy lights on her bed. I painted all the furniture using chalk paints.
Stylish Shoe Storage
I have a bit of a shoe habit and after filling the dressing room I bought this old china cabinet and painted it, for use as shoe storage. I love the shape of this one and looked for a while before I got the style I wanted.
Would you like to see more interiors content from Northern Woman? Follow this link to see the whole series of Inside the Interior from Northern Woman’s Catriona Doherty.