'The greatest designers in the world always say, keep it simple'. Newgate's founders tell You magazine how they've done just that in their period family home.

Interiors Editor Clare Nolan
Written by Sarah Stewart-Smith
Photographs by Alun Callender

Chloe and Jim Read, the couple behind Newgate Clocks, renovated and transformed their 1852 vicarage in just ten weeks. The result? A period family home with an up-to-the-minute twist. Think sleek white walls, striking contemporary furnishings – and giant timepieces

JIM WHAT MADE YOU AND CHLOE CHOOSE THIS HOUSE?

We were looking for a New York-loft style apartment… but when we saw this, well, it was the honest simplicity of the place. And it’s not too big; it’s a homely size.

WHAT HAS INSPIRED YOU?

Over the years, as our clock business grew, we tried to travel in slightly better style and go to funkier hotels. It was great research and we have applied both the experience and the inspiration.

HOW DID YOU COMPLETE THE RENOVATION IN SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME?

We managed the project ourselves and hired local tradesmen – we were constantly here pushing the job along.

WHAT WAS THE CRITICAL FACTOR IN FINISHING THE PROJECT SO QUICKLY?

Having what the builders needed on site, on time – and not changing our minds.

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST EXPENSIVE DECISION?

Pushing to have all the pipe work hidden.

AND YOUR BEST?

Not carving up the beautiful rooms in order to have en-suite bathrooms. We share a bathroom with everyone else [their son Buster, four, and daughter, Ruby, five] – it’s great, sociable and works for all of us.

WHAT ARE THE GOLDEN RULES FOR CREATING THIS KIND OF LOOK?

Keep it simple and stick mainly to white. Inject some colour, and break some rules. Make sure you have good lighting, with dimmer switches on everything. Try to do most of the wiring (for entertainment systems, etc) before you decorate. Work up the detail – for instance, all the light switches are at precsisely the same height and absolutely square. And never scrimp on the basic fabric of the house, such as the floors. Install underfloor heating where you can and mix with some vintage radiators. Iconic furniture and accessories that inspire you are essential.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE HOUSE?

The location, as it is set within the most wonderful mature garden.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON?

The greatest designers in the world always say keep it simple.