A four-storey 19th-century house in south London. The ground floor of this modern home (opens in new tab) has a kitchen (opens in new tab), living and dining room (opens in new tab), sunroom and WC. On the first floor is the master bedroom (opens in new tab), guest bedroom (opens in new tab), study, walk-in wardrobe and bathroom. The children’s bedroom (opens in new tab), family bathroom and studio are on the top floor. In the basement are two bedrooms, a home cinema, shower and garden room.
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Liza Giles is an artist and stylist with ‘an addiction to colour’ and rummaging through market stalls for vintage finds. Her husband Matt is an architect ‘into straight lines and modernity’. The result of this aesthetic collision? Not domestic strife, but a family home, where white-walled spaces sing with vibrant artwork and lean-lined furniture rubs shoulders with slubby linens and antique finds in an adroit marriage of compromise.
Partition walls were removed from the hallway (shown above) to create a seamless view through the house from front to back.
It was the lofty proportions of the house that drew the couple. Double-fronted but unloved, the house had done duty as a social club, then a family home. The period details had been ripped out and there was plasterboard everywhere, but the pair could see it had incredible potential.
Now, you’re struck by how light and seamless the house feels. Instead of traditional openings, soaring, 3m-wide double doors open from the hallway to the living space: a sweeping line designed to draw your eye to the back, where new, full-height windows open on to the garden.At the same time, lost details, such as fireplaces, were reinstated.
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Drawing on her skills, Liza has humanised the scale of the house so it feels less imposing. Low-slung shelves link the front and back of the living areas; antique chandeliers glitter at eye level and paintings, many by Liza, hover above chair height, so that when you’re sitting down, the rooms feel intimate.
With her stylist’s eyefor contrast and composition Liza has created painterly displays of art and objects throughout the house.
An old, narrow kitchen was removed and the space opened up to create this sunroom
Everywhere there are flourishes of green – instead of overhead units, the focal point of the bespoke modern kitchen is the row of Indian glass paintings and the antique chandelier, hung deliberately low to relax the lofty proportions of the interior. Liza may be a stylist, but it’s a lived-in house.
Liza has created intriguing displays throughout the house, mixing high-street finds with props used on shoots.
Low-level furniture honours the soaring proportions of the interior, which served as a social club inthe seventies.
Upstairs, partition walls were removed to create this light-filled dressing room (opens in new tab), where over-laid rugs soften the clean lines of the architecture.
Tucked under the eaves of the top floor, the oval bath is a welcome sanctuary at the end of the day.
A burst of sunshine in the shower room (opens in new tab) makes mornings feel like spring all year round. The otherwise white-with-a-splash-of-green foliage colour scheme echoes the rest of the house.
To see more of Liza’s work, visit lizagiles.com (opens in new tab)
Check out Matt’s architectural practice at gilespike.com (opens in new tab)
Photography / James Merrell
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Shining a spotlight on the now and the next in home design and decor, Livingetc is the UK's best selling high end and contemporary home design magazine. As a brand, Livingetc showcases the world's very best homes, breaks and makes the trends, and has access to leading international designers for insight and ideas. It was first published in 1998, and is currently edited by Pip Rich.
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