This dark and decadent Victorian house in south London is dressed perfectly for Christmas

Designer Julia Thompson’s deliciously moody schemes make for a decadent Christmas at this Victorian house in south London


A Victorian house in south London. The modern home has a kitchen-diner, utility room, snug/ TV room and WC on the lower-ground floor; a hall, living room and study on the ground floor; and the master bedroom suite with walk-in wardrobe on the first floor. One of the twins’ bedrooms is on the second floor, along with a shower room and guest bedroom, while his brother’s bedroom suite is in the attic conversion up above.

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From the double-aspect living area to the roomy landings on each floor, this property mixes impressive proportions with pleasing architectural details.But when designer Julia Thompson was first brought in to weave her magic, the owners had yet to use the place to its full potential.

Although the owners had already embraced ‘going down the dark route’, as Julia calls it, the reception area was originally dressed in a far more formal style.

There was wallpaper on the chimney breasts and curtains at the window – it was very traditional, so Julia painted everything out–the walls, the ceiling and the coving.

Deep grey walls, ceiling and woodwork give a luxe look outside the holiday season.

Victorian house in south London

A well-loved period portrait is zshuzshed up for the holidays in flamboyant fashion.

Victorian house in south London

Julia introduced a few reclaimed storage pieces, such as vintage display cabinets, in order to better show off the eclectic accessories that now enliven the space.

Victorian house in south London

Julia also brought in all the plants and their accompanying stands, as she feels it's these accessories that really make a house a home.

Victorian house in south London

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Handleless kitchen cabinetry and matching the units and worktops keeps things sleek.

Victorian house in south London


The kitchen extension on the lower-ground floor was already in situ, however its decor was rather uninspiring. Originally, the walls were painted in a mid-grey, so Julia suggested painting them in a deeper RAL shade to match the colour of the sliding doors.

This also provides tonal continuity with the patio area at the near side of the garden, which enhances the indoor/outdoor feel.

Victorian house in south London

A cascade of Verner Panton FlowerPot pendants adds definition to this open space.

Victorian house in south London


Upstairs, the story was rather different as the owners had already decided to extend up into the attic to get another bedroom, so Julia worked in and around the builders as that project progressed. She came up with simple design solutions, such as rehanging the doors on the second floor so that they opened in, rather than out, to create additional space both on the landing and in a revamped shower room.

Julia’s expert touch is also evident in the master bedroom suite. The old layout had a separate bathroom and in the bedroom there was a huge antique wardrobe, which totally dominated the space. She took out the wardrobe and reworked the floor plan to create a free-flowing suite, including a dressing area between the bedroom and the bathroom.

Victorian house in south London

An industrial-style pendant light looks perfectly at home alongside the more traditional panelled wall.

Victorian house in south London

At the foot of the bed is an oversize gilt mirror. The owners wanted a calm space with a bit of drama, which the mirror delivers.

Victorian house in south London


Picking out the blue from the stand-out floor tiles and using it on the walls and ceiling gives a lovely cocooning feel.

Victorian house in south London


A feature in this space – the pegboard wall – was Julia’s doing. She got the idea from a shop she’d visited and decided to install one here on the same grand scale.

Victorian house in south London


The graffiti art is the star of the show, but the wall of hidden storage is impressive, too.

Victorian house in south London

Photography / James Merrell

Styling / Jennifer Haslam

See Also: Kids' room ideas - 45 fresh ideas for a modern yet whimsical kids bedroom


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, showcases the world's very best homes, and has access to leading international designers for insight and ideas. it was first published in 1998, and is currently edited by Pip McCormac.