When Jilly Sharpe left Peckham, south London, for Broadstairs, she needed a home and a way to make a living. Belvidere Place, a run-down and dilapidated Georgian building that had been neglected for 200 years, was to be her saviour – but only once she had carried out some serious salvation of her own.

Much of the furniture in Belvidere Place, such as this elegant pedestal dining table, came from Jilly’s former home in Peckham, south London. Jilly was inspired to paint the downstairs breakfast room in dark grey after using, and liking, the colour of a grey undercoat she had been using to paint woodwork

Much of the furniture in Belvidere Place, such as this elegant pedestal dining table, came from Jilly’s former home in Peckham, south London. Jilly was inspired to paint the downstairs breakfast room in dark grey after using, and liking, the colour of a grey undercoat she had been using to paint woodwork

This ‘babyfoot’ table came from Columbia Road in east London and, according to Jilly, ‘it could tell some stories’

This ‘babyfoot’ table came from Columbia Road in east London and, according to Jilly, ‘it could tell some stories’

For vintage finds and quirky items, Jilly is a fan of the Sunbury Antiques Market as well as Dolly Miller in nearby Margate. “I just buy what I like,” says Jilly. “There is no grand plan.”

For vintage finds and quirky items, Jilly is a fan of the Sunbury Antiques Market as well as Dolly Miller in nearby Margate. “I just buy what I like,” says Jilly. “There is no grand plan.”

The living room has bare floorboards, blackboard paint on the chimney breast and, on closer inspection, brown wrapping paper on the walls – a surprisingly effective look

The living room has bare floorboards, blackboard paint on the chimney breast and, on closer inspection, brown wrapping paper on the walls – a surprisingly effective look

Each room has magnificent sash windows – sometimes three in a room – and gorgeous inviting beds, with a sensible number of cushions and cosy throws

Each room has magnificent sash windows – sometimes three in a room – and gorgeous inviting beds, with a sensible number of cushions and cosy throws

As well as bringing many of her London friends with her, Jilly also brought the contents of her London home – items which fit perfectly with the pared-down, rustic interior of Belvidere Place

As well as bringing many of her London friends with her, Jilly also brought the contents of her London home – items which fit perfectly with the pared-down, rustic interior of Belvidere Place

An armchair that originally came from Claridge’s and a lamp that was retrieved from a skip, complete the look in an upstairs bedroom

An armchair that originally came from Claridge’s and a lamp that was retrieved from a skip, complete the look in an upstairs bedroom

“Despite setting up on a budget, the things I would not compromise on were mattresses and bed linen.”

“Despite setting up on a budget, the things I would not compromise on were mattresses and bed linen.”

The embroidered cushions were made by Jilly’s friend, Charlene Mullen

The embroidered cushions were made by Jilly’s friend, Charlene Mullen

An Ann Carrington original, this time of a Union Jack, hangs above the bed.

An Ann Carrington original, this time of a Union Jack, hangs above the bed

Her background as a fine art and interiors photographer would stand her in good stead as far as decoration was concerned, as would a seemingly huge array of creative friends and contacts

Her background as a fine art and interiors photographer stood her in good stead as far as decoration was concerned, as did a seemingly huge array of creative friends and contacts

The carpets have been removed throughout, to leave characterful, marked floorboards which fit perfectly with the original panelling on the stairwell

The carpets have been removed throughout, to leave characterful, marked floorboards which fit perfectly with the original panelling on the stairwell

The grey-painted hallway is naturally lit by an original fanlight window above the front door as well as more contemporary fairy lights and spots

The grey-painted hallway is naturally lit by an original fanlight window above the front door as well as more contemporary fairy lights and spots

Against the wall is a large, glass-fronted ‘cupboard of curiosities’ which in a way reflects the eclectic contents of the building itself

Against the wall is a large, glass-fronted ‘cupboard of curiosities’ which in a way reflects the eclectic contents of the building itself

“We recently had a party out here, where we gathered around a brazier made from an old oil drum. It was a really fun evening.”

“It’s a great place for parties,” says Jilly. “We recently had a party out here, where we gathered around a brazier made from an old oil drum. It was a really fun evening.”

The courtyard garden at the back of the building is filled with potted plants, and is as appealing in winter as it is in summer.

The courtyard garden at the back of the building is filled with potted plants, and is as appealing in winter as it is in summer

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Helen Barton

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