Case Study 3; A Family Home in Bristol

Generic photograph of a semi-detached Victorian family home in Bristol


The goal set for this project was to rework the ground floor of a Victorian family home in Bristol and to select floor and wall finishes, furniture, lighting and soft furnishings as outlined in the client brief.


  • External walls could not be extended
  • Internal walls could be moved
  • Internal walls could be added
  • Victorian features must be celebrated without being overtly traditional or ‘old fashioned’
  • Create cosy and relaxing style
  • Incorporate Bristol’s iconic features but not in a themed way
  • Make the home functional as well as aesthetically pleasing with a twist that makes it feel unique
  • Accommodate the children’s hobbies

Step 1 – Family Home Concept

The concept was developed by taking into account influences from the building’s location in Bristol and from the family’s desire to celebrate the Victorian features of their semi-detached home.

The overriding objective was to create a home that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It needs to be cosy and relaxing and cater for entertaining the family’s friends.

Step 2 – Family Home Colour Palette

Drawing on the family’s love of Bristol’s vibrancy, its waterside location and the Victorian era I pulled together some images that would eventually inform the choice of finishes.

Step 3 – Family Home Floor Plan

The key features that needed to be considered when reviewing the floor plan were:

ground floor

  • to provide space for the children and their visiting friends
  • to provide space for entertaining
  • to provide some separation between the 7-year old twin boys and the 15-year old daughter


Below is a drawing of the existing ground floor which was issued along with the client brief. The house had been extended to the rear to accommodate an open-plan kitchen/dining room. Adjacent to the kitchen is access to a study and W.C. and to the side of these rooms is the entrance hall with a coat cupboard. The lounge is located at the front of the house and has doors to the hall and the dining room.

Original Ground Floor Layout

On first review I noted several issues that needed to be addressed:

  • access to the W.C. and study from the kitchen did not seem particularly elegant
  • the coat cupboard encroached on the dining room
  • the garden could not be accessed from the lounge

With these considerations in mind I rearranged the Ground Floor to what I considered to be a more practical layout. The changes I made were:

  • to move the kitchen to the front of the house and the lounge to the rear
  • to block off access to the W.C. from the ‘old’ kitchen and to create a new access from the entrance hall
  • to remove the coat cupboard altogether thus freeing up space in the dining room
  • to replace the existing single door to the rear garden with a series of bi-fold doors

Modified Ground Floor Layout


Step 4 – Family Home Key Purchases


My proposed scheme would necessitate a number of key purchases, not least, new kitchen cabinetry. In my opinion the family needed the kitchen to be a multi-purpose space that would comfortably accommodate the family’s three children as well as their friends. By locating it at the front of the house it would very much the first port of call and the ‘adult’ rooms at the rear of the house could be completely closed off from it.

The large bay window at the front of the house would be the ideal location for a window seat, with storage below, and would be perfect for sitting at the table to do homework, play games or for informal dining. On either side of the bay window there would be built in cabinetry which would house the fridge and dishwasher and a dresser to accommodate crockery, cutlery, toaster, kettle and all the necessities for a light breakfast/brunch.

Whilst the bay window was perfect for the ‘breakfast room’ area of the kitchen I chose to use the chimney breast to accommodate a large range cooker and a cleverly disguised extractor hood. A central island would provide a handy area for prep and placement of pots and dishes that are going to and from the oven.

The far end of the kitchen, which opens onto the dining room, would have large built in cupboards to the righthand side and a sink, worktop and eye-level cupboards to the left hand side.


It was important to specify wall and floor finishes which would meet the client brief with regards to the look and feel that they wanted to achieve but which also addressed the practicalities of accommodating young children with low-level environmental allergies. With this in mind hard floor finishes were chosen throughout the ground floor with ceramic tiles being used in the entrance hall and W.C. and white wood planks being used throughout the balance of the rooms.

Upholstery fabrics and floor rugs were selected taking into account their durability and sustainability credentials. The suitability of their colours, pattern and weave were also considered in the context of the original concept.


The family owned some items of furniture and fixtures that needed to be included in the scheme and these would either be reupholstered or upcycled to give them a new lease of life. Again, this was important to the family from a sustainability perspective.

Step 5 – Family Home Presentation

The final presentation took the form of a carefully curated selection of items that were clearly documented. Lifestyle images were included to illustrate how the final scheme would look and feel.


This exercise was set by The Interior Designers’ Hub of which I am a professional member. It was set as Assignment 7C of their Interior Design Diploma course which I have now successfully completed.

See below for useful links to similar projects and suppliers.

My Services

If you would like my help designing your home you can find a list of My Services and prices here.




  • Crucial Trading
  • U.K Flooring Direct
  • Designers Guild
  • Ian Mankin
  • John Derian
  • Kravet
  • Madeaux
  • Scion
  • Tinsmiths
  • Benjamin Moore
  • Dominic Schuster

For the sake of transparency I am not affiliated, in a business or personal capacity, with any of the brands mentioned in this blog.

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