Pied A Terre; How two chiropodists created their perfect.
Home for Bob and Margaret Squire is an Edwardian house just minutes from their Newcastle Upon Tyne practice.
Work is not all they have in common. They also both love Art Deco, strong colours and oriental art - and that all shows in their colourful home.
Their decisions on what shade of paint to go for are quick and confident. "We're not ones for getting lots of matchpots and agonising over colours," says Margaret.
They've used bright combinations of colour on the walls, from the mustard yellow and leaf green in the sitting- room to the brick red and blue in the dining room.
Their bedroom is butter yellow with orange; there's lemon and lime in the breakfast room and cornflower and Wedgwood blues on the stairs.
"I think it's great that there are so many bright colours," says Bob. "It's a shame people aren't more adventurous. It's actually when they start being timid about colour that it starts to go wrong."
He has owned the house for 10 years. He'd already tackled the damp, demolished the ugly garage and rid the walls of their wild Sixties wallpaper when Margaret moved in four years ago.
"We've got such similar tastes," says Bob. "Unless she came and did something in magnolia with chandeliers and flock, I wouldn't mind."
Squeezing two homes into one proved a challenge, but they solved the double furniture problem with a house sale. "We invited our friends round and made them buy things off us," says Bob. "We still go to visit them all and see our old stuff."
It was a ruthless clear-out, and the pieces that survived the sale became the basis for their home's new look.
A favourite light fitting inspired the sitting-room scheme, which suits their collection of Art Deco ornaments perfectly.
The lemon and lime scheme started with the fruit in their fruit bowl.
Their bedroom colours came from the fireplace tiles and the dining-room from the Osborne and Little curtain fabric.
"It stands to reason if the colours go in the curtains, they will go on the walls," Bob points out.
"People said: 'What will happen if you don't like it?' If you don't like it, you paint over it."
One of their most dramatic choices was the cobalt blue in the guest bedroom. Taking the Oriental lacquered overmantel as a starting point and using gold acrylic paint, Maggie added a design that shimmers against the deep blue.
Painting sunflowers in the bath - her solution to flaking enamel - was another tricky job. "I was lying in there at some stages, sitting in there and just about upside-down at one time, but it was worth it," she says.
There are more flowers in the dazzling new-look loo, where Maggie used wrapping paper cut-outs to transform the seat and bright art paints for the walls.
Her regular visits to antique shops, auctions and sales have helped her build up enviable collections from Art Deco figures to amber glassware.
But she loves junk shops and flea markets, too, and they have supplied the rusty tinware she has rescued with decoupage."It doesn't matter if the result is not perfect," she says. "Any faults add to the character and the charm."
Bob is equally skilled at turning the drawbacks of the house to his advantage.
The kitchen panelling was his idea to hide ugly wiring, and painted panelling in the bathroom conceals the unattractive walls behind it. The "lost" area under the stairs has been turned into a tiny study.
The pair have worked together to make the house their own and they haven't put a foot wrong.
"It's lovely to come home to," says Maggie. "It's full of things we really like."
The Squires' love of colour bursts out from every vibrant detail of their home. They even painted their Habitat wall lights to match the sitting-room colour scheme. Margaret created stencil designs to liven up walls and used left-over paint and Victorian-style wrapping paper to transform old tinware, bowls and Art Deco figures snapped up in junk shops. Even the loo, with its cut-out flowers, is dazzlingly different.
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Feb 13, 1999|
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