The Idealist

Mead House – Reconfiguring the Heart of the Home

This family home has undergone a recent transformation from being the owner’s family home whilst growing up until his parents, who were looking to downsize, decided to ‘swap’ homes with their son. This resulted in both parties fulfilling their needs with the younger family looking for space to grow into. Design studio Robinson van Noort provided the architectural and design expertise for this residential project with their trademark high level of bespoke attention.


Alongside the emotional attachments the families had, the original 17th Century property had grown with a Victorian addition and a 20th Century entrance. These resulted in a slightly muddled flow of the ground floor which led to needing to reconfigure the whole house.

Starting Point

The driving force for the redesign was to utilise the south facing part of the house for the most frequently used areas: the kitchen, dining room, hall and drawing room. The old kitchen, located in the original part of the property, was then freed up to create a family TV/snug room, better suited to the smaller proportions. An adjoining wall was knocked through to incorporate the existing games room which transformed this otherwise tight space. Soft furnishings from Eleanor Pritchard, curtains from The Linen Shop and a Hay Mags sofa all add to the cosy, warm feel of this family room.

Combining the Old and the New

Creating this friendly, open and playful space alongside the more formal rooms plays on the juxtaposition between the old and the new parts of the house, as does a new entrance hall that connects the west facing-courtyard to the east garden. This altered layout has vastly improved the circulation and flow of the ground floor whilst still being sympathetic to the period nature of the property with its contemporary 21st century additions.

Flooring and Furniture

The use of herringbone wooden flooring throughout the ground floor provides a timeless, cohesive feel interconnecting each room. From the rustic wooden table in the entrance hallway to the crisp sleek lines of the kitchen breakfast bar, wood has been used to reflect the style of each room in a very sensitive way. Bespoke joinery of the blue glass fronted display cabinet, handles for the coat cupboard and the upholstered coffee table/footstool were designed by Ali Robinson with high attention to detail and design.


A mix of strong and subtle blues harmonises the home with added warmth from the wood and a clean, fresh element from white woodwork and other pieces. Glimpses of the striking Nuvole Cole and Son wallpaper from the Fornasetti Collection, can be seen through beautifully framed doorways into the formal dining room.


The diverse yet complimentary lighting within each room is fascinating to have many different styles working together. There’s the 1970s three tiered yellow Murano glass chandelier, Nonia white and oak pendant lights in the kitchen and a Bocci 28d desk lamp in the snug. Perhaps it’s this mixing of styles, buildings and generations that creates the perfect home.

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All photos courtesy of the owners/Robinson van Noort studios.

  • Helen is a fabric designer and lives with her husband and two sons near Bath. She grew up by the sea in Cornwall and is reinventing a modern coastal look of interiors with her debut collection in a minimal graphic design inspired style. Passionate about pattern, Helen is constantly capturing images on her phone for potential design inspiration.

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