Interior Design: Lake District property transformed into modern family home

Interior Design: Lake District property transformed into modern family home

Getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life is always welcome. Lisa Preece hears how one designer transformed an ordinary home into a modern getaway tucked in the rolling hills of a National Park.

In the heart of the Lake District, an award-winning interior designer is giving waterside homes and sprawling mountain-top mansions a complete makeover. Sarah Jane Nielsen is known for creating incredible bespoke spaces for residential and commercial clients from their base in Staveley, Cumbria.

The region is known for being rustic and quintessentially English. Sarah and her team retain a classic aesthetic and blend it with contemporary trends, delivering designs that combine sophistication with practicality. Her approach is customer-focused with clients' lifestyles at the heart of her designs. For those with a busy lifestyle, their service extends beyond the design and into project management, personal shopping, and interior architecture.



Sarah and her team were recently invited to ‘Rosewood by the River’, a charming four-bedroomed timber chalet nestling amongst woodland on the banks of a tumbling river in the Lake District National Park. The owners, a young professional couple from London, wanted to renovate and update their Lakeland retreat. They wanted it to be a tranquil escape from their busy lives, but also have the potential to double up as an occasional holiday rental.

“We knew the discerning owners had high expectations,” confides Sarah. “They required a quality specification with a 5* finish to suit their lifestyles and to accommodate their love of beautiful, sculptural furniture pieces.

“A soft grey colour palette fitted well with the Scandinavia-meets-the-Lake-District style selected for this scheme and we found it was particularly effective with the shiplap that was an inherent feature of the chalet. By incorporating accent colours and natural textures and finishings throughout the house, we successfully added layers of warmth, resulting in a relaxed, welcoming and cosy getaway.”



The stunning views over woodland and the nearby river meant that the lounge already had a strong focal point.

“We were keen not to detract from the landscape beyond the windows and opted instead for a simple aesthetic,” explains Sarah. “A real log fireplace created a centre-piece in the seating area, fantastic for cosy winter evenings, whereas a glazed area to the rear was designed as a light and airy daytime retreat; a perfect place to sit and soak up the river view. Here we chose to keep the glazing uncovered, but on a practical note, we provided the option of tri-screen roller blinds to keep out the sun and protect the furnishings from bleaching.”



The team aimed to coordinate an eclectic collection of furnishings, dressing items and local artwork, as their clients requested. At the same time, they maintained a connection with the home’s Lakeland surroundings.

“From the moment we saw the large bay window overlooking the front garden, we knew this was the ideal spot for a window seat and wasted no time in commissioning an integral seat to run the full length of the area,” says Sarah. “A selection of high quality tweed, herringbone and linen fabrics were used collectively on all upholstery in the room, providing a super-smart tailored look, yet hardwearing and easy to maintain. As always, we enjoyed combining texture with accent colours and pattern - and in this case we couldn’t resist injecting some fun into the scheme with these monkey sofa cushions.”


Master Bedroom

Overhanging trees made the master bedroom feel quite dark, so maximising natural light was crucial in this room.

“We decided to hang curtains to keep clear of the windows, with blackout provided at night by discreet roller blinds,” Sarah reveals.

“Serene soft grey tones of ammonite were chosen for the walls and we dressed the room simply with Danish chairs and accent lighting. To keep things minimal and light, we used pattern in similar tones to dress the bed and linen headboard.  And with its stunning location, we felt it important to maintain a connection between indoor and outdoor spaces so included a seating area looking out beyond the panoramic windows.”


Hall and Cloaks

No part of the house was left unturned by Sarah and her team. In the hallway, they developed a functional yet welcoming way to enter the house.

“As the property would be largely used for a comfortable retreat after long walks in the fells, we created a designated area for coats, muddy boots and hats,” says Sarah.

“With four bedrooms, the house had to accommodate up to eight people and effective storage was key to achieving a minimalist and uncluttered feel. All the cupboards were bespoke to make the most of the space available. A cushioned bench seat allowed us to add softness and to pick up the colour from the natural print wallpaper on the adjoining wall.

Low-maintenance natural timber flooring was used throughout the property, with the exception of two bedrooms, adding softness and interest in the form of rugs. To achieve a contemporary feel, they chose shutters to diffuse the natural light, and tactile curtain fabrics in some spaces.



The owners, who enjoy entertaining friends and family, wanted the kitchen to be a sociable hub and loved the idea of a multi-tasking dining area where guests could eat but also enjoy a leisurely recline on a comfy kitchen bench.

“We made the bench homely with an array of plump cushions of varied tones, patterns and stripes. Lemon was used to complement the greys and add a zest to the scheme. The Caravaggio pendant lights in three shades of grey along with recessed lighting in zones provide a great finishing touch to the scheme.”


To read more about this project, visit For more information on Sarah Jane Neilsen Interior Design, visit their website at 

4th Nov 2016

More from Fine & Country

Home tour: Classical English-inspired design with an international twist
A luxury home deserves equally stunning interiors. Fine & Country Interior Design find out how one of their design firms turned this cou...
26th Feb 2018
February 2018 Housing Market Report
As we predicted, the data from HM Land Registry shows that the market is slowing down. In the last three months for which we have a complete...
9th Feb 2018
November 2017 Housing Market Report
There is a growing body of evidence that the UK residential market is at a turning point, despite what the national press might have you thi...
3rd Nov 2017




Your home is an unfolding story. This is why at Fine & Country, we use a lifestyle approach to marketing to help people see your home as you see it. We do more than sell houses, we turn your home into a bestseller. Find out how we can help »


Selling your home is one of the most important decisions you make; your home is both a financial and emotional investment. Find out how we can help »



Every Fine & Country agent is a highly proficient and professional independent estate agent, operating to strict codes of conduct and dedicated to you. They will assist, advise and inform you through each stage of the property transaction.


With offices in over 300 locations worldwide we combine the widespread exposure of the international marketplace with national marketing campaigns and local expertise and knowledge of carefully selected independent property professionals.



People buy as much into lifestyle of a property and its location as they do the bricks and mortar. We utilize sophisticated, intelligent and creative marketing that provides the type of information buyers would never normally see with other agents.


Access the lucrative London and international investor market from our prestigious Park Lane showrooms at 121 Park Lane, Mayfair. Our showrooms in London are amongst the very best placed in Europe, attracting clients from all over the world.



An overwhelming majority of those who had used Fine & Country would recommend our services to a family member or friend, according to our most recent survey taken by members of the public.

To achieve 98.96% positive feedback is a privilege and we will endeavour to maintain this result, as we are dedicated to offering the best possible services to every customer, whether buyer or seller, from beginning to end.


Our consistent efforts to offer innovative marketing combined with a high level of service have been recognised by the industry for an astounding fifth year in a row, winning Best International Real Estate Agency Marketing at the International Residential Property Awards.

Independent customer reviews

Fine & Country

4.87 out of 5 - based on 966 customer reviews

Estate Agent and Letting Agent Reviews


Our International Network

Connecting offices on over 300 locations worldwide, our referral system combines local knowledge and expertise with an international network to find the right buyer for you wherever they are, at the same time as finding you your ideal next move

Our International Websites

United KingdomRussiaFranceHungaryCyprusGermanySpainPortugalEgyptUnited Arab EmiratesRomaniaMauritiusMoroccoNamibiaWest AfricaSouth AfricaAustraliaFloridaZimbabwe


We interact with customers on the main social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+, giving each property maximum online exposure.




Access Fine & Country Interior Design to put your property ahead and make it stand out. With expert advice from some of London’s best stylists and designers we will make sure it makes a statement. Or if you’re purchasing with us, let F&C ID help make your new house feel like home by helping you find the very best specialists and designers for property refurbishment. Find out more »



We have partnered with Rational FX, one of the world’s leading foreign exchange specialists to provide private and tailored currency services for all of our clients buying and selling luxury property around the world. Find out how we can help »


Our internal Media Centre is a team of experienced press relations managers and copy writers dedicated to liaising with newspapers, magazines and other media outlets to gain extensive coverage for our properties in national and local media.



We organise and attend a series of events throughout the year. If you are interested in attending or if you would like to promote your properties at any of these events, do not hesitate to contact us.View our list of events »




The Fine & Country Foundation is dedicated to supporting and funding homeless causes in the UK and overseas. Fine & Country offices organise a range of fundraising events for you to get involved in and/ or support. Find out more about our work here. Read more »

*Please, note: for security reasons, the maps on this website do not provide the exact location of the property and they are provided solely as an indication of area.