Modern Rustic #18

This serial renovator is addicted to moving. His latest flat is his thirteenth home in almost as many years – just as well he keeps things simple.

Get the look The cabinets are painted in Chalk Paints in Paris Grey and French Linen by Annie Sloan, sealed with dark wax. For a bench and table like this, try Harvey Jones. The fridge is by Smeg. The wall tiles are from The Reject Tile Shop. The industrial-style pendant lamp was found at a stall in Brick Lane. For similar, try Trainspotters. Buy an olive tree at Clifton Nurseries.

The properTy

A first-floor flat in an end-of-terrace Victorian house in northwest London, comprising an open-plan living room/office/ kitchen-diner, two bedrooms and a bathroom.


The owner started the renovation work within hours of picking up the keys to his new property. To do this, he got building permissions in place and lined up his contractor while the sale was going through, then employed Mark Lewis as project manager.

Structural work was kept to a minimum – the wall between the kitchen and living room was knocked through and the ceiling was raised a few inches, but the rest of the work focused on sprucing up the surfaces and fixtures, using a pared-back palette of putty colours, washed-out blues, wood and metal.

Get the look Quirky Dovetail is a good source of reclaimed glazed cabinets.

The bespoke cabinets are made from reclaimed floorboards. They and the table are lightened with quick-drying chalk paint, which the owner says is a decorator’s dream due to its malleability.

He also found some nifty ways to save money along the way, such as the kitchen tap, fashioned from plumbers’ pipes and a steal compared to the one he eyed up in a shop

Get the look Find a plumber to replicate this copper fitting at rated For white tableware, try John Lewis. Victorian stoneware beer bottles like this one are available at The Vintage Wall.

Most of the furniture is reclaimed or repurposed, which, he says, was the biggest job of all, involving frenzied hunting trips around the UK, France and Denmark.

Get the look The Sunday armchair is from The cushions are made from old linen sacks found in France. The ruler, discovered in a junk shop in Sri Lanka, is part of a theodolite measuring tool.

Living room

The owner says he didn’t want to create a show home. He wanted it to feel cosy, like you’re cocooned.

Get the look The walls are painted in Tom’s Bakery Claypaint by Earthborn. The photograph of Primrose Hill at dawn is by Paul. The wooden bench came from a junk shop in Devon. The Anglepoise was found in a Cornish antiques shop. Try The Old Cinema for similar. The tin flight case was brought back from New York. The coffee table was made by Paul. This is a Trenzas wool rug by Gandia Blasco at Heal’s.

He used various shades and textures for tone and warmth and mixed reclaimed pieces with big, comfy seating.


This space was boarded up, so it was a nice surprise for the owner to find the alcove when he bashed down the partition wall – it’s the perfect size for a mini office.

Get the look The metal document holders are from Rockett St George. The vintage-style filing tray is by Rose & Grey. For similar library steps, try the Bekvam stepladder from Ikea.


The bedrooms are decorated in the same palette as the rest of the flat, so the whole space flows.

Get the look The walls are painted in Pure Brilliant White matt emulsion by Dulux. The bed and Stirling rug are from John Lewis. The bed linen is by Muji. The bedside table was made by Paul, using an old dolly tub and cut-down scaffold boards, then painted and waxed. The vintage Anglepoise lamp was found in a Cornish antiques shop.

guest bedrooM

He wanted to create calm and tranquil bedrooms, with enough warmth and texture to stop them being monastic.

Get the look The bedstead is by Feather & Black and painted in Mole’s Breath eggshell by Farrow & Ball.

The owner’s photography work decorates this room too, with photographs taken on his travels, in this case in Kerala, India.

Get the look The cedar stool is part of the Riva 1920 collection from Heal’s.


Here he has optimised the small space with wall-mounted taps and a counter-top sink. The cupboard underneath provides storage space.

Get the look The basin and mixer taps are from Aston Matthews. The tiles come from The Reject Tile Shop. The wall light is by Trinity Marine.

Photography / Paul Massey 

Learn more about Mark Lewis’s work at


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