A monochrome palette, a stash of period details and a trunkful of taxidermy put a decadently romantic spin on this Victorian villa
A five-bedroom, double-fronted Victorian house in southwest London. There’s a living room, kitchen-diner, dining room, sunroom, playroom and WC on the ground floor. The first floor has three bedrooms, one with an en-suite shower room, a family bathroom and study. The attic floor houses the dressing room and storage.
A little bit macabre, a little bit moody; that’s the vibe of this modern gothic home. This is about more than adding a coat of Down Pipe to the walls and buying a fancy chandelier. The house is full of design decisions that, in fashion terms, take it from the equivalent of a ready-to-wear dress to a couture creation.
Black-and-white monomania is given an adrenaline shot with unexpected colour injections, while details like gilt mirrors, taxidermy peacocks and anatomy prints on the walls honour the era of the property and its original features in a quirky, individual way. The result is a working family home with an industrial edge.
The feathers of the taxidermy birds glow as brightly as the gilt mirror against the dark grey walls. At night, it looks cosy and in the day, it feels fresh because of the white on the ceiling and floor.
A deceptive, yet clever flourish is the fire surround in the living room, which appears original, but was specially commissioned. Even the flower displays, by florist Rebel Rebel, provide a touch of tangled Dickensian romance.
In this plain, pantry-style kitchen the drama is in the detail – the factory-style lights; the subtle gleam of polished wood, marble and plaster; and the painted windows add definition.
The exposed brick wall in the kitchen, with its whispers of old paint apparently flaking off, is actually a new addition. That juxtaposition of polished-plaster floor, brick and the crystal chandeliers is magic. The surfaces were made bespoke by Chris Brandler, using timber reclaimed from across Europe.
The kitchen flows into an informal dining area, where three chandeliers hang in front of an exposed brick wall.
This opulent, oversized internal door was especially created, fusing traditional wood panelling reclaimed from an 18th-century Polish house with grills sourced from an architectural salvage yard on the Isle of Wight.
The contrast of plain painted floorboards with period plasterwork is plain with blue-blood style.
Concealed behind chalkboard doors is a utility area for the washing machine and appliances. A great use of space, it helps keep the kitchen next door very minimal.
The scratched, stone-look walls in the downstairs WC, painted by artist Jason Hawkridge, is the perfect backdrop to the exposed copper piping.
The chimney breast was extended to match the exact width of the super-king-size bed and the walls have been distressed and painted to resemble the musty mystique of a flooded château.
Layers of paint and varnish were added to build up the elegantly decayed look.
Floor-to-ceiling metro tiles and a Victorian-style floor put a period spin on this modern wet room.
Photography ⁄ James Merrell