Design, Final Reveal, Living Room, Project, Renovation
comments 44

The Coach House Living Room – Final Reveal

The Victorian Coach House - Final Reveal

Hello! Three months it’s been since I last wrote. A whole season. A quarter of a year. 13 weeks! I thought it was about time I got back into the swing, and what better way than to offer up the final reveal of Victorian Coach House Living Room; one of my favourite rooms to work on since starting this crazy ass job six years ago.

Projects in progress


What once would have been the tack room next to a stable, this property was converted into a two bedroom residential property many years ago. The room was ok as it was, but it could certainly have been better. Things that needed addressing were:

  • The really small fire opening which just looks like a mistake
  • The terrible 80’s polystyrene coving and plastic ceiling rose
  • The lack of period detailing
  • The terrible radiators with awful polypipes and sideways valves
  • The white UPVC French doors and window (which hasn’t been done yet, but will be done as part of the next phase of this project – the big build!)

The brief for this space was to “create a calm, and cocooning living room” for the home owner, let’s call him Mr O. Mr O wanted to create somewhere cosy to sit, read a book, listen to music or play his guitar, somewhere guests could comfortably join him for conversation (hopefully very soon!) in front of the fire.

Living Room Design Concept

The Concept

The first thing we did was sort out the fireplace – always the messy jobs first. Working with Carlton House Fires, who were brilliant, we opened up and repositioned the opening, added a black slate surround and black hearth, lined the opening with brick slips and refitted the existing log burner. And now the room has a fireplace to be proud of and much more in keeping with its 2.6m ceiling.

A fine example of how the right and wrong scale and proportion can make or break a room.

The joinery was next. Time for the new picture rail, architraves, new cornice and ceiling rose…

By just sorting the fire and period detailing out, the room was already looking and feeling so different. Because rooms do feel different you know, and it always surprises me how different they can feel when they’re wearing the right outfit.

It was then time to deal with these monsters:


It took a fair amount of work to set the pipes in the right place for the new rads as we didn’t have access from the basement, what with it being a solid concrete floor n’ all. We also didn’t want to have to take the whole of the floor up as that would have meant taking off all the skirting boards which inevitably would have disturbed the plasterwork. So my plumber worked with his joiner to do some fancy pants jiggery pokery and the difference the correct pipework and radiators made was all kinds of brilliant.

If you’re going to go to the trouble of paying for fancy pants new rads, then get your pipes sorted. Your eyes will thank you.

Time for all the before and after goodies then…



The artwork is by Californian based artist Isabelle Emrich. Being on and in the water has a special significance to Mr O, this painting being the starting point and major refernce for the room design. It really is stunning.

A special mention for the most beautiful marble coffee table i’ve ever seen. It’s an Italian, 70’s number which was shipped over from Italy which is bonkers as it weighs and absolute tonne. I mean it. It’s like a bloody car… perhaps a Fiat 500?! I wish I could get a better photo of it in all its glory because it’s a work of art. A sculpture in the room which is also happens to have a handy surface for your cuppa.


The old shutters, yeah they were fine, but they were white and if you’re going dark with dark woodwork, then brilliant white shutters are a big no-no. So they were sold to someone local and a new dark wood shutter was fitted.

The half height shutter allows daylight to flood into the room whilst providing daytime privacy and the roman blind softens the window, offering evening cosiness when needed. Once the new black Crittall style windows and doors are fitted to this room as part of the big build later this year, this whole set up will make much more sense.

I love how this antique Georgian, bow fronted chest of drawers provides a warm, Mahogany  backdrop to the “rare as rocking horse droppings” Arne Norell chair. A mid-century classic which we had shipped over from Poland.

So glad we nabbed all these pieces before bloody Brexit (can’t say Brexit without adding a choice adjective. Soz). I don’t think it’s going to be quite as easy to get our mitts on European design gems anymore.

Before – no architrave

The newly added rails and architraves made such a difference, with the picture rails being put to very good use throughout the room used to hang a mix of old and new artwork.

I’m extremely proud to have this room added to my portfolio. It was a bit of a dream project really, getting to play with lots of vintage and antique goodies mixed with some super beautiful new designs and a bespoke art commission. Each and every piece was a treat to specify, down to the Ligne Roset log basket.

Mr O completely embraced the joy in all the finer details from sockets to rad valves to door handles. A pleasure!

Decorating by Clark’s Decor

And incase someone asks, walls and woodwork are in Benjamin Moore’s Char Brown, did you know brown is the new black? Come on, keep up!

So that’s your lot for today peeps. I really hope you like this room as much as Mr O and I do. I’ll try and not leave it 3 months until I next post, but in the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts on today’s reveal.

Can you believe there might have been a horse in here at some point?


  1. Barbarella says

    So, so glad to have you back…you’ve been missed…a lot!
    Room, as always look amazeballs. I’ve said it before…you are genius!

    • Karen Knox says

      Aaah that’s so lovely. Thank you very much. It’s always nice to be missed a bit isn’t it? 🙂

  2. Dee says

    Lovely design. But I don’t read an interior blog for political views.

    • marie says

      AAHHAHAHAHAHA Dee you’re so funny 🙂 (yes I’m #feedingthetroll), after all, it’s Karen Knox’s blog right ? And for a french consumer that used to shop in all the good english stores online I totally agree… Brexit is a nightmare. Anyway, I really love the color even though I wouldn’t use it in my home, it’s so cosy, it’s like we could eat this room. And I really enjoy all the muted colours on the furniture. Very well done. Can’t wait to see how the project continues !

      • Karen Knox says

        Thanks Marie, so glad you like it. Like you said the colour isn’t for everyone, but it certainly is cosy and I do like the idea of someone trying to eat the room 🙂

  3. Elizabeth says

    Well I don’t mind a personal comment. I enjoy seeing the person behind the design in everything you do. It’s a very interesting scheme, thought provoking in some sort of strange way. What colour is the mantle please, it looks dark blue in the pics. Also, love the sofa; where’s that from? Great work.

    • Karen Knox says

      Thanks Elizabeth, i’ll take “thought provoking” 🙂 The fire surround is a black slate and the sofa is from Love Your Home.

    • Anonymous says

      Is that “actual” black slate? It’s a really lovely colour and finish. Do you have to get that bespoke or can you buy off the peg?

      • Karen Knox says

        Yes, it’s natural black slate. Comes up very black when it’s been freshly oiled and fades to a gentle, dark grey. Another oil over and it’s black again. It was made bespoke for this project by the company we worked with, but you can also get this style off the peg too.

  4. Anonymous says

    Mr O is one lucky fella! Could quite happily kick back & relax in that room! Another stunner to add to the collection Karen 👏


  5. Mairi says

    Love this and so happy you’re back! The room looks happy to be restored to glory.

    • Karen Knox says

      Thank you Mairi, I love the idea of a happy room. It sure does feel that way when you’re in there 🙂

  6. rachael iddon says

    It’s a lovely room and I can appreciate the art work but it’s too unsettling for me. Too resonant of drowning. Glad you’re back. I think I spent lockdown 1 reading your whole back catalogues of blogs.

    • Karen Knox says

      Ah cheers! I hope they kept you busy during Lockdown Mk1 🙂
      You comments about the artwork, this is one of the things I absolutely love about creative art forms; how it’s perceived by the viewer. Totally appreciate your comments about how the Isabel Emrich piece makes you feel, never looked at it that way before, but when you’re stood in front of it, it oozes a calmness, stillness and captures perfectly the last second before someone comes up for air from beneath the water. So I see it more of an image of re-birth, breath, life even… flipping love art and the many meanings it can conjure!

      • rachael iddon says

        You’re so right about how we view art. I’m not particularly ’arty’ (though I do have my GCSE grade B from way back in the day 😂). The one thing that struck me even back then was how our teacher could give us a brief and we’d all respond in a different way. It’s what makes us human I suppose.
        Read your Instagram post today. Banish your self doubt! You are very talented.

    • Elaine Mason says

      Your thoughts are exactly mine on that artwork. My stress dreams always involve water, and this painting made me tense up immediately. Couldn’t have the painting, but love the room!

  7. Joe Say says

    This is SO sexy and classy!

    I love the wall colour and have a serious case of envy from the sofa and the orange chair.

    Another job beautifully done.

    • Karen Knox says

      Oooh sexy and classy – those are some nice words to read!
      Thank you Joe!!

  8. Kathleen says

    One of your best transformations yet. Every element has been thought about. Could you please let me know where the light is from it is such a gorgeous piece amongst all the antique treasures. Beautiful.

    • Karen Knox says

      Ah thank you so much. So happy when others can appreciate how all the elements work together. The ceiling pendant light is from Gong (their lighting is just beautiful!)

  9. Brenda Mullan says

    I have missed ur blogs and reveals. I love the warmth of the room- pays homage to the stables with that warm muddy colour on the walls and the gorgeous sofa and chairs. There’s a real understaffed elegance, with all the beautiful furniture and the fine attention to detail of the door handles and light fittings etc Can just imagine smell of turf burning on the fire. Love the large light fitting- where is it from. Totally agree bloody bee it. Here in NI- suppliers have stopped delivering from the UK to us because of paperwork- even tho we are still UK.

    • Karen Knox says

      What a beautiful comment, thank you Brenda! You totally captured what we were going for in that paragraph 🙂
      The ceiling light is from Gong (a heads up – another item shipped over from the EU!)

  10. Gabrielle says

    This is your best yet! Those walls! Such a great colour. I love the jumble of new and old design, it can go wrong – but this has gone Soo Right! Brown is soothing, hope it’s around for a while. Loved all the details too. Elegant & stylish.

  11. Anonymous says

    Love the room Karen! Everything goes so well together as usual. 🙂 Could you tell me where the radiator is from?

    • Karen Knox says

      Thank you very much! The bronze rads were from Mr Central Heating 🙂

  12. Elaine Mason says

    This is glorious! Love your attention to detail. That wall colour is so changeable + it looks grey, green, brown. It’s really classy – I love it. And that light fitting is beautiful. I’ve missed you – it’s lovely to have a new room and new words!

    • Karen Knox says

      Thanks so much Elaine, so glad you like it as much as I do 🙂

  13. Kayleigh Whybrow says

    This is fricking gorgeous. The details are wonderful, and it all pulls together without being matchy matchy. I’ve been reading a lot about how dark moody colours in interiors are no longer popular and we should be embracing lighter neutrals again – and every time I see a project like this it just re-affirms to me that I LOVE dark cosy interiors; they are intimate and warm and comforting *swoon*

    • Karen Knox says

      Thanks so much Kayleigh (sorry I must have missed this comment from March). Yes neutrals are HUGE right now, but you should always choose colours/room finishes based on how they make you feel not on what’s ‘en vogue’. So if you LOVE dark and cosy – defo go dark and cosy!

  14. Alex says

    Really lovely work. You’ve created such a good mood here.

    I’ve been searching for a sensible sized armchair and that wonderful burnt orange velvet number would be spot on! Where is it from please?

    • Karen Knox says

      Thank you Alex, the armchair is from Love Your Home 🙂

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