THOUGH it may seem hard to imagine now, there was a time when ITN newsreader Kylie Pentelow didn’t like this house very much. ‘It was dark and there were rooms that didn’t seem to have much purpose. And much of the top floor was orange and brown,’ she grimaces, recalling the first time she set eyes on it five years ago.
‘But in the following days and weeks it kept playing on my mind. I’d walk my dog nearby to stroll past to see what it looked like, and I started to fall in love with it.’
A self-confessed Agatha Christie devotee, Kylie decided to do some detective work of her own to find out more about the 1863 property and the surrounding area. ‘This is maybe strange,’ she laughs, ‘but I knocked on the neighbours’ doors to ask them what it was like to live there. They were all lovely and told me how much the street had a community feel. So I was sold.’ Kylie already had a number of property renovations under her belt, including a 1970 Carlight Casetta caravan and a beach hut, but the sheer scale of this house was a different proposition entirely.
Today, the substantial, five-bedroom terrace house in the heart of Bristol has been stylishly updated to its former Victorian grandeur and is packed with quirky antiques, vintage artworks and a whole host of salvaged curiosities from her travels.
The living room effuses a shabby chic, lived-in charm and is filled with Kylie’s treasures, such as the two old chests she found in an antiques store in Nottingham and her beloved Christie novels.
‘A lot of the pieces I have collected on holidays and travels around the world. I want it to feel like a formal room, but with lots of rugs and sheepskins for warmth and comfort.
‘My favourite place at the moment is the pink velvet sofa. The second I sit on it, my chihuahua Audrey jumps up. It’s so comfortable.
‘I love lying on there with a decaf coffee, a book, and Audrey on my lap.’ While downstairs is more muted and calm, the main bedroom has been finished in Farrow & Ball Yellow Ground.
‘I almost backed out of having this yellow, but I love it now,’ she says. ‘It works great because this room has huge windows and the floor is dark wood. There are also lots of blue and white accent pieces.
‘So much of my design is Moroccan influenced — but not too much that it looks like a souk, I hope! I’m a bit obsessed with my bed’s headboard.’
The second bedroom is where Kylie feels most unrestrained, filling it with pattern and colour and a mix of quirky memories, ‘including my favourite dress hanging out to remind me of the amazing night I wore it!’
You’ll also find her collection of Madonnas in this room. ‘I’m not religious but I love the colour and shape of them. I collect them on my travels,’ says Kylie.
She also keeps her collection of Vogue magazines in this room. ‘More than ten years of them since I came back from travelling when I was 27. I love Japan and collected these posters when I was there. I can’t read them but think they are beautiful.’
She loves her art, too. In the bathroom, there are also lots of old pictures of weddings.
‘It’s odd that we don’t normally hang pictures in bathrooms,’ she says. ‘I like shaking things up a bit and we don’t have to follow the rules.’
The dressing room doubles as Kylie’s office. Her favourite item in here is a piece of work by the local graffiti artist, Jody. ‘Living near Bristol means I’m surrounded by great graffiti. This piece is one of his paintings — it is of Rachael from Blade Runner. It’s fantastic. I look at her every day.’
There are two huge portraits in the main bedroom, and another in the living room, which were salvaged from a church. ‘People always ask who they are and are often surprised that I don’t know,’ laughs Kylie. ‘But I love that those old portraits have found a new home.’
Elsewhere, the kitchen/dining room has recently been refurbished with a new kitchen from Sustainable Kitchens in Bristol, finished in black, white and Setting Plaster, a dusty pink from Farrow & Ball.
‘When I told the kitchen designer I wanted pink and black, they said, “That’s brave!” That made me a little concerned but I knew what I wanted. It is balanced well with white work surfaces and simple artwork.’
One of Kylie’s favourite pieces in the kitchen is Audrey’s dog bed, which she made from an old suitcase.
‘It’s very traditional, but with modern quirky twists. There are some more expensive items like my Victorian, embroidered cushions, mixed in with pieces off the high street.’
Her advice for any home renovation is to follow your heart, not trends.
‘I know that sounds a little pretentious but you should surround yourself with things you absolutely love — I like to have things forever.’
■ Kylie Pentelow co-presents Dr Ranj On Call on ITV tonight, itv.com