This was a big, challenging project. To bring a dilapidated, but very special place back to life after years of neglect. It was damp and rundown, and the rooms and corridors were laid out in such a way that blocked the light. But the garden had an overgrown ‘Brambly Hedge’ magic to it, and the house had an incredibly positive feel.
This was the home we were going to become a real family in. We were filled with ideas, and dreams and with our second boy on the way had to try to get it all done in time for him to be born in it!
The front of the house was totally smartened up and repainted with a slightly different shade on the front door – the colour was most similar to Farrow & Balls Off Black . The green bay trees and climber add to the charm.
We knocked walls through in the living room upstairs and kitchen downstairs so that the two light sources, the big windows at the back of the house, could shed light into the front of the house. This made the entrance hall much lighter and friendlier. This amazing picture below is midway through the renovation chaos.
And this is what is looked like afterwards, ta da. The front door is a far softer blue grey, more like Downpipe, or you could go even lighter, I liked the two-tone effect.
It was wonderful to knock this wall down and open up the living room. We added little inset walls to create a cosy snug area at the end of the room and a slight division, and this is what is looked like afterwards.
This wall supposed to be knocked down but when we discovered a beam there and decided to keep it, and leave the wall exposed.
And this is what it looked like afterwards, before we got rug and had put any pictures up! Because this is a typical victorian terraced house it had relatively narrow corridors and thin walls. We wanted to bring a luxury and and warmth and a uniformity to the many higgled piggledy aspects. The floors were totally redone and we built the shelves into the wall which immediately created a cosiness and a grandeur.
The tones of smart greys, deep blues and softer blues gave the house a smart, clean and calm feel and were repeated throughout to create a clean-line uniformity. It needed that to make it feel less chaotic. The classical palette set against raw materials like wood, marble and exposed brick created a contemporary feel. There is a mirroring effect of the upstairs living room and downstairs kitchen in shape and feel so we reflected that in the colours. This is the kitchen, below, before the wall was knocked down!
… during the chaos…
… and after.
The enormous Conran table was so huge we even had to cut it down! It works perfectly for a big family who entertain a lot. This wonderful size-and-a-half lounge chair, with the rich Magnolia fabric, also from Conran, lifts the room from being overtly grey, brings an old fashioned elegance and instantly makes the kitchen feel cosy; almost every breastfeeding mother with toddler could squeeze on it!
The journey of the bathroom was epic. The layout itself wasn’t working, and after many nights of sketching and re-sketching where each element should stand, we reimagined the whole shape completely. The bath was on the left-hand side and we moved it over onto the right.
I also painted the underside of the bath blue to jazz up, and warm up the room a little. As with most young families, we had little or no budget left after the huge renovations for any new or exciting furniture or fabrics, so stage one was a very simple mix of finds and some clever use of paint. This is a small master bedroom so it was kept simple and classic. There is a rich French grey paint on the walls and simple shelving on either side. An antique bed offsets the modern colours with a dark grey lampshade.
Unlike many boxy, overlooked London gardens, this place was wild on either side and had a double width gardens, with two joined as one. The amount of fruit trees, apple, cherry, damson as well as a huge gooseberry bush and wonderful mature bushes and hedges was quite magical.
The path was dug up and many trees completely taken away and others pruned back to give the garden more grass and playing space. Sadly the fence had to be replaced which destroyed so much of the trees and hedges which had to all be replanted. But the garden since has an incredible re-growth.
As with most projects, this one grew and changed and developed over many years as did the people and family growing and changing in it!