As soon as they were in, Lize and Eoghan McCarron set about restoring the Grade II-listed Victorian villa. Built in 1864 by prolific English architect and garden designer Decimus Burton, the house had been split up with the basement being rented out as a self-contained flat.

The first major job was replacing the 1970s kitchen in the basement with freestanding ‘country cottage’ units, and swapping the coal-fuelled Aga range cooker for a gas model. They also replaced a suite in the downstairs bathroom with a Morocco-inspired wet room finished in marble-look limestone. The Victorian wooden flooring throughout the house was sanded and refinished.

With the house returned to its original layout as one dwelling and the remaining Victorian features uncovered, Lize and Eoghan turned their attention to the final fixtures, fittings, decorating and furniture. Lize suspects she inherited her magpie instinct from her parents – ‘I just love the joy of finding things unexpectedly. I really miss that now the house is finished – or full at least,’ says Lize.

The project

Owners: Lize McCarron and husband Eoghan live here with son Elian, 15, daughter Kitty, 12, dogs Pookie and Wilson, and cat Twinkle

Property: A six-bedroom Grade II-listed villa designed by architect Decimus Burton in 1864, in St Leonards-on-Sea

Essential: repairs The property had been split into a basement flat with a house above, so was returned to a family home, with period features reinstated

Layout: The basement houses a large kitchen-diner, conservatory, living room, bathroom and laundry room. A dining room, office, conservatory and second living room are on the ground floor, while all the bedrooms are on the upper two floors

vibrant dining room in a colourful victorian dining room

A hot pink colour scheme gets dinner party conversations off to a good start. The paint is from Brewers and was matched to the feature wallpaper. Lize reupholstered the sofa and covered the cabinet in gold leaf. The tablecloth is from Bangladesh and the portraits are all by members of the family

sanded and refinished floorboards in a colourful victorian villa

Lize and Eoghan had the floor sanded and finished in an ebony stain from Ronseal. The feature wallpaper is by Australian designer Florence Broadhurst and the piano was left by the previous owner

New York loft style bedroom in an otherwise colourful victorian villa

Out of keeping with the rest of the vibrant house, this bedroom is in the style of a New York loft with Victorian boxing memorabilia

archway in a colourful victorian villa

The basement kitchen with double height conservatory – a bench from Era of Style in Bexhill on Sea. Lize found the original 1938 Staffordshire Beswick flying ducks in a box at her mother’s house

country style freestanding kitchen in a colourful Victorian villa

With a gas-fuelled Aga at its heart, the kitchen is a mix of repurposed units left by the previous owner and contemporary pine furniture, painted to match. The vintage French café chairs are from Shop in St Leonards and the table is from Courthouse Street Traders in Hastings

antique butchers block in a colourful Victorian villa

Lize added ornate brackets to a new shelf to give it a vintage look. The reclaimed butcher’s block came from a shop in Wimbledon

displayed pictures stairwell in a colourful Victorian villaThe couple replaced 1970s brown floral carpet on the stairs with a slate grey design and painted the stairwell in Wimbourne White by Farrow & Ball

moroccan style bathroom in a Colourful Victorian Villa

Lize bought the antique bath for the master en suite from a van, before it even reached the shop floor. The dresser and the basin are also antiques and the chair is from a local reclamation yard


Lize mixed the paint colour for the master bedroom herself and added patterned wallpaper, from Wallpaper Direct, to the ceiling to hide woodchip underneath. The bed was custom made by Four Posters in Hurst Green, a friend made the silk curtains, and the desk and chair are old family pieces


Daughter Kitty chose the colour scheme for her room, opting for Vivid Blue by Valspar for the ceiling. Her bed used to belong to Lize’s sister, and the wardrobe and desk are both antiques, painted white to match the walls

bright pink living room and seating area in a colourful victorian villa

The family rarely use this room, but it contains some of Lize’s favourite finds – the Fall light by Georgia Scott and the coffee table, made from a Victorian prison door. She bought the armchair from a neighbour, and inherited the sofa from a friend. The floor lamp is a replica Arco design

marble fireplace in a colourful victorian villa

The couple uncovered the marble fireplace after they moved in

The Victorian Villa

exterior of a victorian vila

Victorian architect Decimus Burton built the villa as part of a development to extend St Leonards – the ‘new seaside town’ originally created by his father

Words and styling: Katie Treggiden