For Cassie Williams, a well-designed home is all about texture. The interior designer recommends building a cozy and welcoming space by layering: wood, metallics, linen, sheepskin and dried flowers pile up to create a pretty, practical and personal room. It’s a great strategy: whether you own an expanded townhouse or rent an apartment in town, you can fit it all in without breaking the bank (or upsetting your landlord).
And it’s clear from home that Cassie is following her own advice. Each piece is a masterclass in slow, thoughtful design, from the playful floral wallpaper in the cloakroom to the wood and brass accents that bring the kitchen extension to life; it is an elegant, comfortable and practical family home.
Add space with an extension (opens in a new tab) was on the to-do list as soon as she and her husband, Jon, bought the house – it just took a while to see it come to fruition. “When we bought it 12 years ago, we knew we were going to convert the loft and expand the back,” says Cassie. They have completed the loft conversion (opens in a new tab) four or five years, adding a bathroom and a bedroom. Then, in 2020, they embarked on a two-story extension, expanding the kitchen and adding another bedroom on the first floor. “This neighborhood is quite expensive, and there’s a big jump between a three-bedroom house and a four-bedroom house,” she explains. “It made financial sense to create space here instead of looking for a new place.”
The owners Cassie Williams, owner of an interior design studio Truffle Interiors (opens in a new tab) (@truffleinteriors (opens in a new tab)), her husband, Jon, a construction project manager, and their son, Jenson
The property A four-bed terrace, built in 1915, in West Malling, Kent
Project cost £193,000
The key to the whole project was the improvement of the layout of the ground floor. The couple saw the potential to use part of the good sized garden. “The need for more space became apparent when we had Jenson,” says Cassie. “We love to entertain, and you couldn’t see what was going on anywhere else when you were in the old galley kitchen. He felt separated.
The plan was to open up the living space and turn the living room at the front of the house into an office. The couple refined the architectural plans drawn up during the construction of the loft and submitted them for approval. Their builder impressed them with the work he had done in the area. “He has a keen interest in older homes, so we were confident he would do a good job.”
The kitchen is now the center of the home, framed by a vaulted ceiling, skylights and Crittall-style doors. “I wanted a cozy, warm and friendly kitchen, and in the end, we got really neutral,” says Cassie. “I chose the same color for the tiles, the floor, the furniture and the countertop, and the designer said to me, ‘Are you sure? “. I wanted a hanging chair from the start, so we added extra support during construction. It’s a lovely spot to sit and have a glass of prosecco while someone cooks.
Black plays a part in carrying out the scheme, from the doors to the bar stools. “The reclaimed barn wood on the island has a nice texture,” Cassie explains. “It’s handy too – kids can sit on it and kick around, but that doesn’t matter.”
A concrete-effect countertop, rustic splashback tiles, and reclaimed woodwork combine with antique brass tones throughout the cabinet lights and pulls. Cassie made a feature of the shelf with wooden planks, metallic textures and plants.
In the dining room, Cassie reclaimed the reclaimed wood table and matching bench, adding throw pillows and furs to dress up the space and add warmth and texture.
Cassie zoned the space using rugs, flooring changes and a screen to separate the living room from the rest of the room. “With open-plan living, you can sometimes get some noise crossover, but we’ve found that’s rarely bothersome,” she says. “It’s mostly about being together. I connected the living room to the kitchen area following the look. I’m a fan of textures, more than colors, I wanted to keep things quite neutral.”
The garden extends the living space, with a comfortable pallet corner bench seat and a barbecue. “It’s nice to sit here in the summer,” Cassie says. “The garden team installed the pergola and built the barbecue area.”
“I love dark rooms, but I didn’t have the courage to try them in the set,” Cassie says. “I painted the baseboards and the ceiling the same color to create a cozy place.”
Upstairs, the rustic scheme continues with a claw-foot tub and reclaimed vanity in the bathroom. “The hallmark of the bathroom is the freestanding tub,” Cassie explains. “It’s sympathetic to the age of the house.”
In the guest bedroom, the couple added wallpaper, touched up the original fireplace and painted the bed black. “A little pampas grass, some nice throw pillows and boom, we had a nice room,” Cassie said. “My husband has family in the West Country, and we loved the idea of being able to host them for staycations in a cute spare bedroom.” The master bedroom, in the attic, is next – the plan is to get cozy and dark.
Jenson’s bedroom, on the other hand, is bright and fun, with mountains painted on the walls and a den-like bed. “Jenson loves making dens and sitting under the bed with his disco light,” Cassie explains. “We read there at night before he goes to bed. Cassie added the shelves and black chalk paint.
For Cassie, the key to the project was keeping it compatible with the age of the house. “From the salvaged furniture to the restored fireplace, where we were able to reconnect with the original features, we tried to do that,” she says. “But the main thing was the social space – and we love being able to cook and chat at the breakfast bar while Jenson plays with his toys. It’s perfect.’