Edgy textures, luxe materials and a mix of vintage and bargain buys transformed a blank space of a house into a home full of personality.
A detached house built around 1900 in southeast London. It has a large living room, reading room, WC, kitchen, dining area and utility room on the ground floor. On the first floor are the master bedroom and en suite, two guest bedrooms and a guest bathroom. On the top floor, there is a TV room, bathroom, office and girls’ bedroom.
Super-durable, wood-effect ceramic tiles were chosen for the hallway (pictured above), which sees a lot of traffic. They were simply laid over the existing tiles. And although they can be tricky to clean, they’re very hard-wearing.
This house is impressively spacious – with a living room large enough for dancing, a dining table that regularly has ten people around it, outside space that saw a summer garden party for 100 and two generous guest rooms.
But what to do with all those rooms? The solution is to give each a strong identity, so that the house feels alive. The kitchen is the hub. The living room also has a distinct personality. The rear part is for relaxing, while the front is a games room, complete with ping-pong table.
Furnishing a large property can also be tricky, but the owners solved this by focusing on the fabric of the building, not the furniture. By giving the surfaces supersized character, fitting painted panelling and period details such as ceiling roses, they then only needed a sprinkling of furniture to sit against the rich backdrops, much of which was sourced from eBay and vintage stores.
Wood panelling gives the large living room some traditional character, while an eccentric collection of favourite pieces brings heaps of personality.
The kitchen is full of clever design details – from the metro tiles inside the kitchen cabinets to the herb trough in the island.
The kitchen is classic industrial, while the rest of the downstairs is more traditional in feel.
The rustic-looking cabinet doors are sawn oak with a white finish. They look like reclaimed timber, but it’s engineered. Reclaimed wood isn’t so hard-wearing and you can’t wipe it easily.
The island is on wheels so it can be moved out of shot when the house is used as a location.
A smooth plaster finish contrasts with the whitewashed brick wall to add an element of industrial chic.
The inspiration behind the wall units came from a really old shop display cabinet that had tiles on the inside. The tap was made from copper piping – it’s a cheap way to have an amazing, cool tap.
An off-white colour scheme was chosen for most of the house, with the exception of the dark reading room. This den just seduces you to close the shutters and sit with a book, large glass of wine in hand.
The panelled wall is made from old scaffolding boards, which were washed with watered-down Skimming Stone estate emulsion by Farrow & Ball. The dado rail effect was a nice mistake – boards had been put up to where it is, but it didn’t look finished. So the owners added this thin horizontal strip which breaks up the wall a bit.
The bathroom was originally bigger than this, but the master bedroom suite was reconfigured and opened out with a sliding door as a partition. Now, panelling creates a more intimate feel and a vintage tub sits centrally, while a partition wall with built-in shelves stands alongside and keeps toiletries handy.
Even the shower has a handy built-in alcove shelf for keeping toiletries at close hand.
Photography / Malcolm Menzies