With its pen and ink squiggles, an array of bespectacled animals and plenty of black and white contrasts, this gothic family home is as bewitching as the artist’s drawings that are dotted around from wall to wall.
The home is made up of two joined-up flats in a Victorian mansion block in north London. There is a living room, study, music room, three bedrooms and a family bathroom on the ground floor. Downstairs is the kitchen-diner, a pantry, a further bathroom and an artist’s studio.
This eccentric home is a magical warren where intrigue and whimsy peep from every corner, in arrangements as deftly drawn as the drawings on the walls. But here, eccentric doesn’t mean crazy clutter. The interior style is as much about what’s left out as what draws the eye in.
The home is dubbed Hamsterville by family because of its circuitous layout and disorientating shifts of level. There’s a run of bedrooms off a long corridor, while on the other side of the house there’s a studio created from what had been a cake-slice of courtyard. Eating goes on in the adjoining room marked EAT, beneath a super-scaled pair of Sarah Stockbridge lips, and the downstairs bathroom is a dark affair, finished in black leather and verdigris-pitted brass.
The worktops and door front are made from old cherry wood chemistry lab worktops, complete with Bunsen burner holes. A skinny pantry room next to the kitchen means surfaces stay uncluttered.
A vintage cabinet just outside the kitchen and pantry works for family storage. The Rory Doner alphabet tiles include F for Fish on a Fag Break and S for Skeleton With Stole and Super Shiny Shoes.
This home is full of booty that’s been salvaged, customised or bartered. The sofa and chairs are vintage Liberty, recovered in satin. A ‘cabinet of curiosities’ in the corner is home to random objects of beauty or intrigue.
The sofa was originally spotted at an exhibition. It’s got a great curved back – perfect for watching films together. The faux pug has become part of the family.
The glass-roofed studio occupies the old courtyard. In the Seventies the building was squatted by anarchists, so this was where a young John Lydon would step out for a smoke.
The owner stockpiles vintage frames, waiting for just the right drawing or object to suggest itself.
This study is a real artist’s retreat and it’s where the artist’s earliest designs still hang, along with family mementoes. Lots of the drawings started as little joke doodles: an ant with a hammer, who is trying to break his way out of a tiny frame, or a frog eyeing up the fly trapped in the next frame along.
There’s a whole library of vintage frames in every shape and size; tall ones, long ones, gold ones, thin ones…
A hallway runs the length of the ‘sleepy side’ of the house, adorned with hibernating woodland creatures made from fabric.
Bedrooms peel off a long corridor, once a separate flat and now ‘the sleepy side’ of the house.
Enter the dark side, where black gloss and leather are set against verdigris brassware.
The basin set in a stone slab cut by a local grave stone maker.
The hallway and stairs is the point where the two flats join, with flooring clad in York stone and a wrought iron bannister added in.
This bed is genius – it looks like leather straps, but is made from iron. The chandelier was bought in Amsterdam.
The bathroom overlooks a walled garden and the sounds of local primary school children come floating over at play times.
See more of the artist’s work at:Rorydobner.com
Photography / Paul Raeside