A Georgian townhouse in southwest London. The dining room (opens in new tab) and kitchen (opens in new tab) and a WC are on the ground floor of this modern home (opens in new tab). The living room (opens in new tab), a sitting room and study are on the first floor. On the two upper floors are the master suite with dressing room, three bedrooms (one en suite), a bathroom and a WC. A guest bedroom (opens in new tab), shower room (opens in new tab) and utility rooms (opens in new tab) are on the lower ground floor.
Golden ferns, paper stars and armfuls of winter foliage are all that’s needed to add a festive air to Ana Engelhorn’s London home. Her Georgian house is already laden with atmosphere, withrooms decorated in jewel shades and chandeliers that cast iridescent flecks of light onto the ceilings.
But when Ana, an interior designer, and her family, moved into this tall townhouse, it was wall-to-wall beige. The family moved to London from Barcelona and rent this home, but this didn’t deter Ana from carrying out a comprehensive transformation.
First, she pulled up a few corners of the cream fitted carpets to see what condition the floorboards were in. The original oak boards immediately gave the rooms a more interesting texture and hinted at a more authentic character for the house.
Next up, Ana negotiated repainting the walls throughout in the strong colours she’s found herself drawn to since moving to London. Now, the bold shades are central to this home’s personality.
In the living room (opens in new tab), she opted for a green that’s soothing rather than sober, mixing it with hot pinks and deeper blues, while a separate sitting room is wrapped in a warm red, the paint taken over the fireplace surround for an all-enveloping effect.
Next, she revamped the lighting, as the house had been fitted with new-build-bland down lighters. She already owned the standout chandelier constructed from vintage bottles hanging over the dining table, but the sparkling number in the living room was bought in London.
When it came to the art, Ana had plenty of ideas. She grew up going to galleries and art fairs with her parents. For this home, she deliberately chose works that surprise or stir the imagination.
Likewise, furniture from different eras is brought together in unexpectedly beautiful arrangements: a modern sofa works next to Italian chairs from the Fifties reupholstered in deep velvet, all positioned beneath a 19th-century chandelier.
Velvet upholstery adds depth and intensity to Ana's choice of shades. The cascade of books artwork above the fireplace is a much smaller version of an iconic one the artist created in Madrid, using 5,000 volumes.
This is where Ana heads for calm during the pre-Christmas storm.
In the hallway (opens in new tab), she settled on a sunshiny yellow as it feels inviting when you walk in.
Ana gave the space a sleek makeover, painting over the floor and varnished pine units a pale pink and adding handles that echo the jewel shades of the dining room beyond.
Pretty meets punchy in this serene sleep zone, with trad floral curtains set against an enveloping blue paint shade.
Timorous Beasties toile wallpaper and a blind in the same pattern envelope the bathroom.
See more of Ana’s work at anaengelhorn.com (opens in new tab)
Photography / Patrick Williamson
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Journalist and author Jo Leevers writes about houses for a wealth of national publications such as Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Observer, The World Of Interiors, Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Country Living, and the Guardian. She also contributes to 25 Beautiful Homes magazine, and the Mail on Sunday's You Magazine.
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