Take a step back in time

Walking into Adrian Turner and Bob Rayner's city home is like taking a trip back to pre-war Norwich, as ABIGAIL SALTMARSH reports.

The Victoria sponge sits on the dresser waiting to be sliced and bone china cups and saucers have been laid out ready for tea.

Walking into Adrian Turner and Bob Rayner's city home is like stepping back in time – taking a trip back to pre-war Norwich, when front rooms were filled with the sounds of ticking clocks and light gramophone music instead of daytime TV and reality shows.

'I think it is partly about nostalgia,' admitted Adrian, who bought the Victorian terrace back in 1998 and relishes its gentle early 20th century interior.

'We do like to look back to the days when people pulled together and had lovely things.'

The house, which is tucked away close to the city, is over-flowing with interesting pieces from bygone times. They enjoy the warmth of the home, where Bob's Cottage Ware pottery from the 50s is displayed on a table and fills a cabinet in the back room – and exquisite chairs, mirrors and tables that have been carefully repaired or refurbished are arranged upstairs and down throughout the welcoming home.

'I must have looked at about 45 houses before I bought this one,' remembered Adrian.

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'What I loved about it was that very little had been done to it. It had been loved and had a very good feel but it had not really been modernised and so was exactly what I wanted.'

No structural changes have been made to the house since then but the pair have replaced the 1930s' fireplace with one that is more suited to the period of the house.

'It was a fantastic find. We bought it from a reclamation yard for �70 and then found the mirror above at Oxfam for �16,' he said.

'Some knobs were missing but Bob's father made replicas and Bob himself repaired the paintwork using blackboard paint.'

Reclamation yards, charity shops, auctions and car boot sales are favourite haunts and the couple rarely come home without a find or two.

'We do very occasionally buy things new,' Bob admitted. 'The chandelier in the front room came from John Lewis but it looks just right in there.'

On the wall in the back room is a black and white wedding photograph that Adrian discovered along with a clock.

'I like to think that perhaps the clock belonged to the people in the picture,' he said.

In the front room is the piano that Adrian plays, as well as a collection of coronation mugs and plates, and a gramophone that he bought as a student, and that still works. He also has an old organ in the house, as well as a harmonium and accordion but his over-riding passion are the beautiful clocks that adorn almost every wall.

'They rarely work and it costs more than they are worth to repair them but there is something quite special about getting something that has had 50 years of life going again,' he said.

The stairwell up to the upper floor of the house is lined with more pictures and leads to the spare room and the master bedroom, both of which have been furnished with attractive second-hand pieces.

The main bedroom, which has a Laura Ashley print wallpaper, has a handsome Edwardian look, with heavy wooden wardrobes and a bedstead. This leads into the small study that is lined with shelves and books and has a stained glass hanging at the window.

'We do like collecting things. I like linen and china, in particular,' said Bob. 'But we both feel it is important to use these things too.

'We don't buy them to put away – we enjoy getting them out and seeing them being used as they would have been by whoever first owned them.'

The fireplace in the back room came from Mitchell Reclamation, Oak Street, Norwich. For more information call 01603 632976

Adrian and Bob find many of their pieces at Arminghall car boot sale. This is held on Wednesdays and Sundays on Old Stoke Road in the village.

The chandelier in the front room came from John Lewis. For more information call 01603 660021.