Labour of Love – Part One

June 9, 2015

When I first set eyes on this neglected but beautiful old Victorian house I fell in love with it straight away. My husband Nigel and I had been looking for a new project and home for our expanding family for a number of years. No truer words than “what is for you wont pass you by”, was when we were lucky enough to find and buy this Labour of Love.

Restoring this house has been one of my favourite projects. You may recognise some of the images from my portfolio and Pinterest boards, so I thought it would be interesting to show you some of the before and after shots together and give you some of its fascinating history. Also we set about its restoration from a rundown warren of flats from the 1940’s back into a family home.

The reality of its condition and the task ahead of us soon sank in, but I knew in my heart it had the potential to be an amazing home once restored to its natural state. It was not an easy time, as a working mum of one toddler and another baby on the way, running an interior retail store and design studio and trying to give this project as much time and devotion as it deserved, (oh and being a  good wife !) I don’t know how we did it, but we are still here to tell the tale.

Labour of Love - Part One

Labour of Love - Part One

From the moment I walked through the gates my eyes were drawn to the front door and its magnificent Venetian Gothic style stone arch, which had carvings of grapes on one pillar and leaves on the other. They had to be restored by hand as the location of being near the sea had eroded the incredible stone details to the point of almost no return. The house had been built circa 1865.

Labour of Love- Part One

Labour of Love- Part One

The back of the house was really gloomy as it only got the sun in the morning until early afternoon. It was the task of all tasks with our architect Paul Brazil of Brazil Associates to add as much light as possible to where we planned on housing the kitchen and dining area. It had an original extension off the main house which was a two-storey building. It would originally have been where the maids and cook worked and lived. We opened up the two-storey space to create the high ceiling in the kitchen and added an Orangery for the dining section. Both areas got glass lantern roof lights and floor to ceiling french doors to maximise the light.

Labour of Love- Part One

Labour of Love- Part One

To the right of the Orangery we created a link to the living room with steps to the kitchen and garden. As with all my projects I like clients to enjoy every part of their house and where possible to create an open-plan living arrangement. I designed this for our home also as we wanted to enjoy the beautiful rooms from the Victorian Era but link them to the family area, creating a child-friendly home.

Labour of Love- Part One

Labour of Love- Part One

In the back garden there was an original coach house in bad need of repair. It still had the original doors where the carriages were stored in the Victorian days. I could immediately see it as a dream design office for me to sneak into when at home and enjoy it as a quiet creative space. My idea of escaping did not turn out as I imagined- when we finally moved in, I would try to disappear out of sight but our kids would have their runny noses pressed against the windows as soon as I sat down at my desk!

I can’t wait to show you more in future posts when I will include before and after images of the interiors.

Would love to hear from you if you have any questions or feedback.

Miriam (aka Minnie)




  1. Stephanie says:

    Minnie…just looked at pics of the victorian house…love the entrance & back & lush landscaping! as usual…you have done a great job…can’t wait to see the inside!!

  2. Kate Baron says:


  3. Miriam it’s so wonderful to see what you have done with this gorgeous home and I can quite see how you fell in love with it. The windows are stunning and really tie in the architecture to the home. Can’t wait to see the interior pictures.

  4. Kevin DuFficy says:

    Had never seen the before pics. Hard to imagine as it is a stunning house these days. I loved the open plan living area and was also very keen on the coach house with its white panelling. You did a fantastic job on this property to make a real family home. Well done

  5. Dear miriam,
    What a beautiful home you have resurected!!! You and your family must be very proud of this outstanding accomplishment in bringing this house back to liFe. I can hardly wait for the interior photos!!!

  6. ArlEtte says:

    HOW LUCKY for a HOUSE TO HAVE BEEN FOUND BY YOU & YOUR HUSBAND – to be transformed into this most stunning of homes. The before and after pictures are awe inspiring. I’m Drooling from the sheer magnificence of what you’ve done! Wow Wow Wow.

  7. Elizabeth Morneault says:

    I just love when someone pUrchases a home a breaths life back into it. You have done so muCh more than that. Not only is your new home breathtaking, it is loved. But, i feel that you put that quality in all you do. Blessings to you and your family.

    • Profile photo of minniepeters minniepeters says:

      Elizabeth, yes it was quite a journey ! As a child we moved house a lot so it was easy to pass it on when we moved to France (for a three year adventure) to another family to enjoy. I really feel we are all just caretakers in this lifetime and i always look forward to the next adventure and project.

      • Elizabeth Morneault says:

        I am looking forward to seeing more. Just love your blog, following you on pinterest, and seeing what you create. How i wish my home was decorated by you. I can only dream.

  8. Sheena Fullerton says:

    LoNg time since our paths crossed ..and glitter is way behind us.. so have really enjoyed following you on Pinterest and keeping an eye on your website to see what fabulous things you are up to. Even better to see the blog. Thanks miriam. Big love to you xx

  9. Carol estes says:

    MiNnie, absolutely gorgeous!!! So light filled now. I can’t wait to see it from the insiDe! Love that you have a blog!!! Xo carol

    • Profile photo of minniepeters minniepeters says:

      Thank you Carol, it has been great for me to look back and really inhale all we did, as it was such a whirlwind at the time. Now that we are back in Ireland and i walk by the house i realise how beautiful it is and i feel very satisfied that it is safe for a longtime to come……. Thank you for your continued support x

  10. Sarah britton says:

    miRiam we are blown away bY how beautiful your work is. Chris and I think you would be the perfect choice to sort out the home in Tuscany……we just need to find it. Talk soon x

  11. Gill says:

    absolutly stunning Miriam….looking forward to seeing more xx

  12. Sarah malone says:

    HEllo minnie, i jusT recently discovered you, your blog and your beautiful work. I am also very influenced by european design And I look forward to following you and yoUr projects?. A girl can never have too much inspiration. I Love all the before and after photos!
    Warm regards,

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