new elegance #23

Designer butterflies and hot pops of Miami-style colour transport this period home from city to summer all year round..

Get the look The kitchen is by Smallbone and is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue estate eggshell. This is a Samsung fridge. The bar stools are from Ligne Roset. These are Tom Dixon’s Beatpendants.Thefloortiles are from European Heritage.


A double-fronted Victorian house in southwest London. The ground floor has a living room and playroom, with a glass-sided walkway and stairs down to the open-plan family room and kitchen-diner (plus utility room and WC). There are three bedrooms (one en suite), a family bathroom and study on the first floor, with the master suite on the top floor.


The masterstroke in the re-design of this home was the owner’s decision to slice through its traditional core, inserting sections of glass and crisp lines, so that the once buttoned-up 19th-century space now flows with renewed energy.

Slender gaps in the wood risers (shown above) let slivers of sunlight shine through the suspended glass-clad staircase, adding to the feeling of lightness and space. The marble island in the centre of the classic Smallbone kitchen was made so that each long side is parallel with its exterior wall – making a subtler mini trapezium.


Today, the house is anything but predictable; much of its dynamism stemming from contrasts, whether brights against pale shades or traditional vs modern materials. The couple who live here admit to quite different tastes. One loves artist, Modigliani – very measured and classically composed. The other, Jackson Pollock paint splatters, Damien Hurst skulls – anything that challenges rather than soothes.

Get the look The chairs were reupholstered in Butterfly Parade by Christian Lacroix for Designers Guild. The table is vintage. These are Jeeves and Wooster pendants by Jake Phipps for Innermost. The pink skull ornament is from Graham and Green.


But it’s the contrasting styles of architecture that pack the biggest punch – and succeed in solving an architectural puzzle that has lain at the heart of this London home since it was built. It’s not obvious at first, but the floor plan of this handsome double-fronted house is more trapezium than rectangle – probably the result of bickering Victorian builders when the land was divvied up. The result is that the house’s two exterior side walls gently angle inwards, finally meeting in a point at the end of the cake-slice of garden.

The slice of garden is cleverly designed in receding sections – decking, seating, hedge, lawn and a raised bed – which creates the illusion of depth, as if it fades into the distance. The white concrete retaining wall has been customised into a tropical bench.

Get the look The bench is covered in Palma fabric by Michael Szell at Christopher Farr Cloth. The flamingos are from Graham and Green.


The tapered, almost triangular floor spaces seemed to be crying out for a new central staircase. Which, in turn, naturally divided the lower-ground floor into two zones – kitchen-diner and family room.

The central hallway was widened and the couple laid floor tiles that are part-modern, part-Victorian. The pattern harks back to the house’s roots, but the shades are crisper. Walls and a section of floor were removed to create a double-height atrium, emphasised by the cluster of pendants.

Get the look The tiles are from London Mosaic.


The couple try to keep this as a grown-up space for chats and late-night cognacs. It also shows their different tastes in art.

Get the look The painting above the fireplace is by Tim Garwood. The Modigliani is an old reproduction. The glass knot on the mantelpiece is by William Yeoward. The vase is by Jonathan Adler. The chairs are from George Smith and the footstool is from Arlo & Jacob. The sofa is from Christopher Wray with a cushion from Designers Guild. The rug is by Suzanne Sharp for The Rug Company.

Bold colours pull the look together.


Bespoke shelving makes a feature of the unusual angles at play in the study.

Get the look The shelving is by Darma. Orchid sells tall Chinese urns.


The owners wanted every space to have a bit of light-hearted humour – even the smallest ones.

Get the look The Newspaper Black 20600 wallpaper by Illusion is from Direct Wallpaper. The Duravit WC is from CP Hart. This is an Orla Kiely towel.


Colour pops lift this loft conversion master suite into a sophisticated but fun space.

Get the look The flooring is from Pietra. The chairs and bedside cabinet are from Graham and Green. The pineapple lamp is from House of Hackney. The rug is from Heal’s. The white bed linen is from The Linen Works. The orange bed throw and small vases are by Jonathan Adler. The pineapple cushion on the chair is from Oliver Bonas. The cushion on the bed is from Designers Guild.


The organic curves of this bath are a calm contrast to all the straight lines and angles in the house. It’s placed under the window so you can lie back and stargaze.

Get the look The bath is from Victoria + Albert. The bath filler is from CP Hart. The floor tiles are from Capitol Designer Studio. The walls are painted in Salt V by Paint & Paper Library.

See more Smallbone kitchens in this style at

Photography / James Merrell

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