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Home visit: from derelict farmhouse to cosy home

When your dream home is a ramshackle farm that estate agents refuse to show to you, it takes determination, creativity, and a lot of can-do spirit to turn an unloved building into a happy home…

A living room with a grey sofa section with chaise lounge and colourful cushioned textiles.
A living room with a grey sofa section with chaise lounge and colourful cushioned textiles.

Create surprising contrasts In Marion and Frédérick’s renovated home in France, modern design sits alongside salvaged finds and original farmhouse features. The living room is Marion’s favourite space, so she’s decorated it with her favourite colour – blue. ‘Dark blue makes this room so cosy in winter, and it feels fresh and cool in summer. We often eat our dinner on the sofa at 10pm – it’s when we take a calm moment and find time for each other.’

A closeup of tiny binoculars kept safely in an oval-shaped glass display case, next to a vintage typewriter.
A large monstera plant in a painted terracotta pot against a bright blue wall.
A black vintage IKEA swivel chair with yellow throw tossed onto it in an white walled, open airy living space.
A man sitting at a dining table, looking at a slatted wooden cabinet that has a bright blue stripe painted across it.

Make a home for you It’s not possible for everyone to design their home from scratch, but the small details in any living space can be made to feel unique to you. In the dining area, a wall map recalls everywhere Marion and Frédérick have travelled together – it tells their story. ‘I always try to add my own touch to furniture, to create something we love and that is different to everyone else – like the blue patterns I painted on our NORRÅKER chairs.’ Tap below to see how Marion gives furniture a makeover with paint.

Design a chef’s kitchen A central island was an important addition for Frédérick, who tends to do most of the cooking in the household. ‘My mum is a very good cook. I grew up watching her make a great meal for the whole family every day – it’s just something I’ve always known.’

A workspace wall As an art teacher, Marion has lots of creative interests and some work to do in the evenings. ‘Once my schoolwork is done, I love creating jewellery, drawings and objects for the house. I often use the long shelf as a desk space when I want a change from sitting at a table.’

A short stainless steel trolley with green rubber castors and a wire basket to store stationary.
Closeup of a patterned paper folder files on a shelf.
A vintage bike and trellis mounted on the wall with a vintage stereo below it, perched on a shelf.
A pair of old white farmhouse shutters that have been re-purposed into a headboard above a bed.

Find beauty in the unfinished The couple found the old shutters in the house when they bought it, and Marion got the idea for turning them into a headboard from Pinterest. ‘I was going to paint them, but as we started to wash them down, I realised I loved the rough and unfinished look. It sums up how this house is for us – as soon as something is totally finished, I will want to change it!’

A collection of mirrors in different sizes and shapes mounted on one side of a white bathroom wall.

Curate a collection Marion focused on building up her collection of mirrors to decorate a whole wall. By mixing all sorts of shapes and sizes, she’s created a fun display, where each mirror tells a story. ‘My father works next to a rubbish dump, so whenever I visit him we go there together, searching for treasure. It’s our father-daughter time.’

A closeup of jewellery hanging from a cork board below a black shelf.

Make room for beauty Find simple ways to put your stamp on your home. In the bathroom, Marion uses a cork board to display her accessories. It means she doesn’t forget about any of the lovely things she owns, and it also makes getting ready for work quicker.

A portrait of Marion and Frédérick, the home owners of a French farmhouse that has been re-purposed into a cosy home.

Make-your-own home

Did you enjoy turning an old building into your new home?
‘It was really exciting, but tiring. There were lots of surprises, sometimes bad ones… But we stayed motivated because we knew we could create exactly what we wanted. Some people said a big project such as this can separate you, but for us it was the opposite – we helped each other, we understood each other, and we worked together.’

How did you find the courage to take on a project of this scale?
‘My parents did it too, when I was small, so I guess it’s in my blood,’ says Marion. ‘My father was a great help, he gave us lots of good advice. And we didn’t put pressure on ourselves to find a place for everything right away. Some things – like the house’s beautiful old wooden stairs – we can’t use but we’ve stored them away… One day, I’ll have an idea for how we can reuse them.’

A floorplan showing Marion and Frédérick’s home, including the living room, bedroom and open plan kitchen areas.

From farmhouse to home Marion and Frédérick had lived in the area for 10 years when they started looking for a house together. ‘We wanted to stay in the countryside, not too far away from the city, but with a garden and outside space for my rescue ponies. When we found the farmhouse it was exciting because it needed so much work! We knew we could do everything we wanted.’

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior stylist: Ashlyn Gibson
Photographer: Benjamin Edwards
Map above chair in fifth image: Søstrene Grene