Carl and Emma Morenikeji live in this detached manse in Fife, dating back to 1792. Carl owns Scaramanga and Emma is a primary teacher. They live with children Josh and Ella and Smokey the cat.
We lived locally and passed this house frequently and I fell in love with it, I knew one day I would have to own it. It reminded me very much of my own family home I grew up in with lots of garden space to explore. When it came up for sale three years ago, Carl also fell in love with the house when he saw it, and we bought it.
Once we bought it in 2013, I thought we had made a big mistake; it was cold, scary and damp. The walls were crumbling, the electrician warned us not to use any electricity as it was that unsafe, the carpets were disintegrating, curtains were falling down and the third floor had been completely blocked off, not surprisingly as it was badly water damaged with leaks dripping away!
First things first, carpets had to be ripped up, damp proofing made and wood worming undertaken, the remedial things took priority. Then we started on the electrics and plumbing. Next we took down the wall between the kitchen and family room to make it all open plan, this allowed the light to flow through the rooms and enlarge the area, we spend most of our time in here – it’s a great entertaining space.
Our interior style is most certainly eclectic. We have a vast range of vintage and antique decor with a lot coming from our travels throughout the world, mainly India. If we see something we like we just buy it and either gets shipped home or brought back with us. At home we buy a lot from antique fairs and stores, auctions and car rallies. As a family we like to explore antique stores and see what we can pick up, the kids love it. My most favourite part of the house is our bedroom – I love the dual aspect of the bedroom and en suite with the Indian doorway. And Carl’s favourite room is the kitchen living room – we can cook and play at the same time and it’s extremely warm and colourful. We redesigned the kitchen ourselves using old Indian doorways and cabinetry it is so unique.
Our large Indian armoire (cupboard)not only looks amazing it holds so much and is one of my favourite pieces. It is over 100 years old, we also have a similar one in the hallway which is great at hiding away bits and bobs.
We would say our most happiest decor decision is definitely the wallpaper in our kitchen. It is so bright and happy, and our lighting, which we sourced from variety of antique dealers. We regret not doing is our lounge ceiling and coving, we would potentially do it in the future but we absolutely love the wallpaper in the lounge – it was very expensive so we wouldn’t want to ruin it!
Being lovers of all things vintage and antique, many of our pieces haven’t been expensive. Our best budget buy is the unusual world map in the office room which we bought from Dunshalt auction rooms. Our splash out was our range master cooker.
We certainly couldn’t live without our artwork. Nothing has been bought from shops, we like original pieces especially our original Aboriginal artwork we bought with some wedding gift money. We like to pick up art on our travels, I love our Panama – San Blas Island Kuna Indians tribal clothing material art pieces. Carl also loves to collect old lamps, with his favourite being his 1946 Hadrill & Horstmann magnifying lamp.
We have really enjoyed doing this renovation, and love the results. Advice for someone else thinking of doing something similar is not to match everything, hang swatches of wallpapers around your rooms, don’t rush any decisions and live in the house a while. Take time to source items and don’t be scared of auctions and antique dealers.
Interview by Robyn Lang-Shankland (twitter @rlsinteriors), pictures by Eve Conroy.