Victorian Home, Kent

A busy family home in Kent chooses Zigzag Frozen Umber herringbone floors to blend with the homes Victorian character

ZB101 Frozen Umber

This wonderful Victorian home in Kent, belongs to Simon and Clemmie Hooper and their four daughters. You may well have come across them on instagram where they have amassed a huge following documenting their busy family lives under the accounts of mother_of_daughters and father_of_daughters.

Originally built in 1800’s, the couple moved into the detached home a year ago with a vision to create the perfect long term family house. The previous owners had aimed to set-up the property as Airbnb accommodation, so while it offered fantastic space and original Victorian character and detailing, they wanted to set about the transformation to return the property into a coherent family home which they could add their own personal design stamp to.

Simon explained, “We could absolutely see the properties potential to create a fantastic family home for us all. Due to the previous use though the rooms had become a bit disconnected, tired and in need of some TLC. We relished the chance to start the makeover, gleaning inspiration poring over interior design magazines and websites like pinterest.”

With some initial work completed to make good the bedrooms, one of the first family spaces they set about transforming was the living room. “The room was full of Victorian charm with high ceilings, a beautifully tall bay window, ornate cornices and a cosy fireplace. We wanted to play to this aged character and bring even more cosiness and warmth into the space.

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“The room had old parquet wood floors, and while we loved the style, they were in an incredibly bad state so we had little hope they could be restored to a good enough standard. Choosing new floors quickly moved to the top of our to do list.”

The couple spent time researching their options and decided real wood floors were what they wanted. Utilising their big social media following they also asked for advice online and this was how they were introduced to Dean from Inspired Floors in Ramsgate, who went along to visit them in their home.

Dean explained, “I completely agreed with them that the old parquet floors were not in a good enough condition to restore them. We all agreed though that maintaining a parquet style of floor would be in keeping with the home and the interior design styles the couple were drawn to in magazines. Clemmie made reference in conversation to the herringbone style parquet floors inside her local train station, so I suggested they take a look at the V4 Zigzag herringbone collection. V4 floors have always impressed me for being excellent quality, at a sensible price and with some really lovely colour choices.”

Happy to take Dean’s advice he dropped off samples of the Zigzag wood floors for the couple to consider. Simon explains, “We trusted his advice, but did order some other samples too – probably too many in all honesty – but we wanted to be sure we made the right decision. Getting slightly confused by our choices, one evening we laid them all out and said right, be decisive, walk in the room, take a fresh look and quickly choose one favourite. Luckily Clemmie and I both chose Zigzag Frozen Umber.

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“We loved the warm tones and authentic oak character, as whilst being modern floors, this gave them a naturally aged feel which was exactly the style we wanted.”

With the floors ordered Simon decided to get his hands dirty and take up the old parquet himself. Dean then returned to complete the installation, removing some old hardboard and levelling out the floor with a new ply-base. The engineered oak blocks were fully bonded with Wood’s Good adhesive and the installation was complete in just two days.

“It was fascinating watching him install the floors. We discussed orientation to ensure we created the right flow to the space and he meticulously worked from the middle out completing such a neat job and creating the beautiful herringbone pattern.”

The finished living room design is testament to the couples natural eye for interior design and the time they spent researching ideas in magazines and online. The walls were completed in Farrow and Ball’s Oval Room Blue, and the super inviting sofas come from Loaf, with a Liquorice Blue sofa and lovely pink Truffle love seat. Carefully selected soft furnishings, wall pictures and mood lighting really bring the space together to create an inviting living room for the family to relax in.

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With the living room complete the next project on their list was the kitchen. “The kitchen that was here when we moved in wasn’t particularly old, but we found it impractical to live with. The layout just didn’t suit our family life and it had lots of open shelves which we found just gathered dust and ended up looking messy and cluttered.

“The floors in the kitchen were also old, full of scratches and they were a very dark colour which seemed to almost suck the natural light out of the space. Once again we were back to debating our flooring options for the kitchen and doing more research online to help us find a style that we liked. We then had our next flooring epiphany moment when we both looked at each other and said, hang on why are we not going for the same Zigzag floors we have in the living room as we love them so much?”

Wanting to be sure the oak wood floors would be practical in a kitchen space they checked in with Dean again, who gave them reassurance that the high quality and hard wearing nature of V4 wood floors makes them completely suitable for use in a kitchen, as long as their cleaning and maintenance advice is followed. “It wasn’t just spillages I was worried about, the floors would need to hold up to four young girls who love nothing more than getting around the house on their scooters. Dean convinced us these were the right floors for the job and suggested we apply the Wood’s Good Natural Floor Care Refresher to give the kitchen floors an extra barrier again water and spillages in the kitchen once they were installed.”

With the floors taken care of and Dean booked in to return to install them before the new kitchen went in, the couple turned their focus to the kitchen units and layout. Having been recommended Herringbone Kitchens in Canterbury, working with their expert design and installation teams the whole process was incredibly quick. “We really were impressed at how smooth the process was. It took just ten weeks from initial consultation to project completion. They listened to our brief for a traditional style of kitchen that would fit in with the Victorian era of the home, and our requirements to make sure we created a space and layout that would work for our family.

“We wanted a central island and plenty of storage. We love cooking and the design needed to combine the ideal layout for this, but also make sure there was an inviting area to sit down and enjoy the results as a family. We showed them the Zigzag floors we planned to install in the kitchen and they agreed they were a great choice and felt really well engineered to deliver stable, hardwearing wood floors that would also work in harmony with the cabinet style we had chosen.”

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The finished kitchen is from Herringbone Kitchens Westgate range. Named and designed after the Westgate Towers in Canterbury, the range was designed to be a modern take on a traditional shaker kitchen, so had a natural fit with the couples desire to create a modern home that was also sympathetic to its older, traditional features. The cupboard fronts have a thinner frame and handsome cornicing, which whilst being sleek, creates a more art deco look.

The cabinetry is finished in Mylands Borough Market Green paint and the walls in their lighter Holland Park colour. “At one point Clemmie was trying to convince me to have a pink kitchen, so let’s just say the splashback tiles were our compromise as we went for a blush pink with matching blush grout which we both adore.”

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“We’re so pleased we went for the Zigzag floors in both the living room and kitchen. They exude such a natural warm tone and feel wonderfully warm underfoot which is lovely as the house can tend to get cold with only single glazing on the windows. We don’t have underfloor heating but somehow the floors always feel warm to the touch. They’ve been great to live with, really easy to keep clean and the durable surface is certainly standing up to the test of our four girls – and their scooters.

“Next up is completing the utility room that sits adjacent to the kitchen and then we’ve got more renovation work planned upstairs. I think our girls will want to get involved in how their bedroom designs evolve. There could be some fun times ahead in the battle for pink.”

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