Designing a boot room in a period home to keep the whole family happy – including the dog

Emma Sims-Hilditch and her team love designing boot rooms, employing a unique mix of elegance and hard-wearing practicality to achieve a result which satisfies the needs of the entire family - even the dog.

Interior designer Emma Sims-Hilditch is well-known for her ability to transform dated country properties into elegant homes with not a hint of stuffiness. Her starting point is to consider their layouts, working carefully to achieve a natural flow between rooms and to improve their practicality for modern family life.

So it was in this six-bedroom Victorian house in the Malvern Hills. ‘The ground-floor layout simply didn’t make sense,’ she says, ‘so we maintained the original features within the house, then reconfigured the later extension at the rear to form a large open-plan kitchen, dining and sitting room, plus an adjacent boot room that was created by knocking together three small spaces.’

‘The bench seating and cushions introduce softness to the scheme’

Her aim was to create a hardworking and spacious boot room-come-utility for cleaning boots, hanging coats and hats, storing bags and outdoor gear, cutting flowers, rinsing garden vegetables and washing the dog. ‘The design of the space has been carefully thought through to suit the family’s lifestyle, with functionality in mind.’

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In order to achieve a sense of cohesion between rooms, the cabinetry is the same as in the kitchen, which is from Neptune’s Suffolk range, but painted in a slightly darker, grey-green shade to link to the outdoors. Furniture is finished with polished chrome knobs for a smart, modern touch.

In addition to cupboards, drawers, pegs and custom shelves for storage, there is a bench seat, its cushions upholstered in Peppermint wool by Kirkby Design. A deep Belfast sink and tap with hand rinse are traditional in style and eminently practical, as is the hard-wearing stone worktop.

‘The combination of colours and materials, including the painted cabinetry, brick-tiled floor and wicker baskets, creates a country feel, which is also light and modern,’ says Emma. ‘The panelled walls add an extra layer of texture and the bench seating and cushions introduce softness to the scheme.’

Emma Sims-Hilditch is the founder and Creative Director of Sims Hilditch. For more information see

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