natural selection – naomi jones

natural selection

home tours

This stone-built Georgian house in Midlothian was structurally sound when Kerrylyn and Thomas Bell bought it over a decade ago, it simply needed repointing, so to honour its past, the couple wanted to keep changes to a minimum. It did need a few alterations to the layout, however, to make it more comfortable for the couple and the children they planned to have.

Kerrylyn explains: ‘We knocked through from the kitchen to a downstairs bathroom to make a much bigger kitchen with space for a family-sized farmhouse table. I used to be an interior designer, but since having Pippa, Tess and Eliza I’ve enjoyed being more hands-on creative so I’ve started a new business, Can to Candle, making paraben-free soya candles to order and running candle-making workshops; there’s plenty of space for me to do the blending, pouring and teaching in here, as well as crafting with the girls.’

With all the wonderful tones and textures from the natural materials throughout the cottage, the Bells opted for a neutral colour palette when choosing paint, with subtle green and stone shades modestly slipping into the background. ‘The whole house was decorated with blue and yellow when we bought it,’ says Kerrylyn. ‘It wasn’t to our taste at all, we much prefer off-white tones to enhance the character of the cottage.’

There are a couple of exceptions to the rule, however: a soft lavender on the bathroom panelling and a pink jelly wallpaper in the kitchen. ‘I’m not really a girly girl,’ says Kerrylyn, ‘but I do like a bit of colour, as do the girls; I wouldn’t want to overdo it, though.’ 

Mismatched country furniture adds character to the kitchen

Green chairs painted similar to Duck Egg Blue, Annie Sloan. On dresser: Decorated fruit bowls, Stephen Pearce

The sink is tucked into this little corner to enjoy a view of the garden

Panelling painted Old White, Farrow & Ball. Horse tack coat hooks, Abodent. Kitchen units, from £5,000 for a small room, Howdens

The kitchen was enlarged by incorporating an old downstairs bathroom

Dual-fuel Rangemaster 90, Rangecookers

Kerrylyn added a jolly jelly wallpaper for a splash of colour

Pink Jelly & Cake wallpaper, Thornback & Peel. Table legs painted similar to Stone Blue, Farrow & Ball

Kerrylyn and Thomas exposed the stone during the renovation, which included moving a wall back to make the sitting room bigger

Walls painted Matchstick, Farrow & Ball. Similar wooden trunk, Maya, Swoon Editions. Sisal rug, from £79 for 120cm x 180cm, The Rug Seller

Kerrylyn loves a mix of antiques and hand-crafted items

Panelling painted Matchstick, Farrow & Ball. For a similar shape lamp with a modern twist, try Ira Ribbed, John Lewis. Mug, Stephen Pearce

The Bells uncovered brick and stone steps in the hallway

The bedroom has a definite air of calm

Walls painted Dimity, Farrow & Ball. Similar glass ball lamp, Lavinia, John Lewis

The pair of Georgian sashes with restored shutters flood the bedroom with light

Painting by Alison Auldjo, from £350 for 30cm x 25cm oil on card, Union Gallery. Wool blanket, similar to Shetland Sage throw, Bronte by Moon 

Kerrylyn and Thomas have inherited some lovely mahogany furniture

Rug from the Fusion range (designs vary), from £70 for 120cm x 60cm, John Lewis

Painterly colours inspired by the artwork were used in the bathroom

Original painting, from £300, Andrea Elles. Panelling painted similar to White Elephant, Fired Earth. Hand towels, John Lewis

Note from Naomi: I’m always looking out for homes that are full of colour and collections to shoot for interiors magazines, so if you’d like to see your home in a magazine to help promote your small business, or for the sheer fun of it, please do get in touch. Email me at or visit the About Me page.

naomi jones

Hi, I’m naomi jones, a freelance interiors writer and stylist, and mum to Lillie-Mae. For many years I was the features editor at Period Living, but after spending a year with my daughter after she was born in 2011, I figured a freelance life would allow me to be with her as much as possible while giving me the freedom to keep up with my passion for styling and writing about people’s homes.
born to restore

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finding beauty everywhere

As an interiors writer and stylist specialising in real home features for interiors magazines, I get to travel all over Europe to style people's homes, so on this blog I'm going to be sharing some of the lovely homes I visit, as well as the locations that I end up in.

I'm also passionate about good food, nature, art, urban design and architecture so there'll be the odd smattering of posts that relate to what I get up to on my days off, whether on my own or with my family, Mr Jones and Lillie-Mae, and Daisy pup.

I hope you enjoy it,

naomi x

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