A graceful, museum-like hallway that shows how to refurbish without ripping up and starting again

Arabella Youens takes a look at a room revitalised by Meg Cunningham.

Yorkshire-based decorator Meg Cunningham, of Meg Treherne Designs, takes pride in refreshing rooms rather than ripping everything out and starting from scratch.

‘I’m not into throwing things away,’ she says. ‘Using local craftsmen and expertise as far as possible, I like to create designs that are timeless. All they might need, a few years down the track, is a simple update,’ she explains.

This entrance hall, of a country house in North Yorkshire, hadn’t been touched for 20 years when Meg was invited to cast her eye over it.

“Together with the busts and plasterworks, the paint wash lends the space an almost museum-like quality”

It’s a formal environment that sets the tone for both the dining room and the drawing room, which lead off from the hall. Although no structural changes were required — the architecture was sound and her first move was to ask an expert in specialist paint finishes, Alex Smith to help.

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She felt using a paint wash on the walls would add texture and create an appearance that is softer and has more depth than flat emulsion. ‘We made up the colour together with the clients on site — it’s a sort of plaster pink,’ she says. ‘Together with the busts and plasterworks, it lends the space an almost museum-like quality.’

A pair of large wall mirrors by Rupert Bevan hang either side of the front door; their shape evokes that of the doorway arches. The Bellingham bench was sourced from William Yeoward.

The floor was replaced with a German engineered limestone for a lighter look; it was supplied by Durham-based Marble Arts. The result is an uplifting space that creates a welcoming entrance to the house.

Meg Treherne Designs Ltd — www.megtreherne.co.uk