This restored Victorian home feels fresh and modern, thanks to new extensions, lots of sky lights, an industrial-inspired interior scheme and a balanced colour palette of dark accent colours against a white backdrop.
The modern home is on Allerton Road in London's Stoke Newington area, and the project involved a complete refurbishment, a new kitchen extension, new bathrooms and new windows in the existing loft conversion. Then, as building work began, the owners found themselves expecting their third son, so the couple decided to bring architecture studio Sadie Snelson Architects and interior designer Sarah Ellison of Frank & Faber on board.
“Comfortable family home” were the words at the top of the owners' list in their brief to Sarah. She achieved this with an open-plan kitchen, a spacious double reception room with plenty of space for playing (and within eyesight of the kitchen), and fun kids' rooms. A luxurious master suite with a dressing room offers a restorative retreat from busy family life.
The first thing you notice when stepping into this home is the striking hallway floor, which features geometric tiles but placed in an unexpected and asymmetric way.
Like any project, there was a set budget, so Sarah Ellison's job was to suggest where to spend and where to save to meet the figure. Good quality worktops and lighting, for example, can make all the difference to a room, whereas it may be possible to buy more economical cupboard carcasses which aren’t on show, or to buy high street floor tiles but lay them in an interesting pattern to make them stand out.
The original staircase was given a fresh and modern look with a coat of black gloss paint.
The goal for the ground floor was to be able to have the whole family round, so Sarah Ellison was asked to create a relaxed, open scheme where everyone would feel welcome. The owners also wanted some interest and warmth, and particularly liked mid-century styles and industrial looks.
Picking up on the industrial vibe in the kitchen, a polished concrete floor and painted brick wall creates a simple backdrop to dark-painted, clean-lined cabinetry.
The effect is enlivened with brass handles, a striking brass panel below the modern kitchen island and classic marble surfaces.
This room is now filled with so much natural light that the design is all about bringing character and warmth into the space. The strong colour and mix of textures, from the grained finish of the painted cabinets to the brick wall, add plenty of definition and interest.
Double reception room
The same palette of dark colour and brass detailing, balanced with marble and white, continues throughout the house. Not only does this help create a sense of flow and unity, it also creates a warm, cosseting feel in each room.
Painted wood shutters add period character to the middle reception room, while a Serge Mouille wall light and modern rug add a fresh, modern contrast.
There are mid century modern furniture pieces dotted around too, as requested by the homeowners.
Injections of accent colours in each room help to brighten the mood and add personality.
"We love the feeling of space and the way the house works so well with three young boys, but we also like the sense of individuality – it feels very relaxed", says the owner.
“I realised that there was no way that I could manage looking after two children, being pregnant with a third, working full time and choosing everything needed for the house on my own,” the homeowner tells us. “I met Sarah, really liked her style and felt that we would get a far nicer result to the project by working with a professional. I’m so glad we made that choice, because trying to tackle everything for a whole house would have been completely overwhelming; there are so many decisions to be made and Sarah made the all whole process easy and enjoyable.”
The hallway floor tiles continue into a downstairs powder room. tongue and groove panelling give this space a warm, cosy look, while brass bathroom lighting and a rectangular basin create a very modern look.
Wall lights on either side of the bed are a clean, cable-free and space-saving bedroom lighting idea. The dark grey bedroom wallpaper has a grasscloth effect, adding lots of chic and grown-up texture. A velvet upholstered headboard adds further texture to the space.
Behind the bed area is a walk-in dressing room. A pair of sky lights make this space light and bright, despite the dark colour scheme.
The geometric tile theme continues in the master bathroom, where the tile colours are complimented by navy tongue and groove panelling, cream walls and marble countertops.
A simple, white hexagon tile with a point dipped in colour is all it takes to create this fun triangular pattern on the bathroom floor tiles.
For a luxe look, the marble countertop continues onto a splash-back and wraps around the side too.
A sharing bedroom has a band of navy blue paint wrapped around it, with twin beds with a zingy yellow frame giving the space a sunny contrast.
Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.
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