In pursuit of somethIng different, this home owner turned to interior designer David Carter for guidance..
A five-storey, 19th-century terraced house in north London. There is a kitchen and snug in the basement, with a living room and library on the ground floor. There are three bedrooms, as well as a dressing room, a cloakroom, two bathrooms and a home office, on the second and third floors.
This home reflects the owners’ taste for the unconventional. The look the couple envisaged for the brick-and-stucco terraced house was ‘a cabinet of curiosities… that was also comfortable and practical’, but they are the first to admit that they needed help to pull it off.
Enter David Carter, an interior designer known for his individualistic, colourful approach to homes. When David first met the couple, they’d spent 18 months doing the structural work and were living here surrounded by white walls and rooms crammed full of boxes.
Surveying their numerous possessions, David presented the couple with a challenge – to jettison the clutter and keep only 10 favourite items. After several heated discussions, they whittled down the boxes to a list that included just their most distinctive pieces.
These ‘eccentric’ pieces set the tone for their home. Contrasting colours and surfaces throughout the terraced house add to the ‘cabinet of curiosities’ feel of the interior.
The surfaces are the most striking features of this home. Each room has a different finish to its floors and walls, which – far from resulting in a dizzying mismatch – adds to the air of discovery.
Finding a home for the owner’s collection of books, accrued since childhood, was one of the first tasks. A corner of the living room was stolen to create a tall bookcase and inviting window seat. The floor-to-ceiling bookcase conceals a hidden bar.
The luminous grey of the living room walls was mixed from a ‘secret’ recipe that David, who eschews mood boards for a more ‘organic’ style of decorating, will never divulge.
David designed the new fireplace to bring grandeur to the once bland space where a collection of unusual art is now offset by bespoke lighting and furniture.
In the dining area, once-white walls are clad in a parquetry pattern made from reclaimed timber, scrubbed and stained for a driftwood effect.
The new skylight echoes the lines of the houses’ original sash windows.
In the basement, where the floor was lowered to create a higher ceiling, you find the darkly inviting snug. For a cocooning feel, reclaimed timber was put on the walls. The TV is hidden behind a chalkboard.
Here, the walls glow in a bespoke, hand-painted Chinese wallpaper by de Gournay.
A new fireplace brings definition to the couple’s bedroom, where the furniture is a mix of antique and bespoke pieces.
Upstairs, the floor plan was reshuffled to create a glamorous bathroom lined in a mix of gold, black and white tessera mosaic tiles.
And a jewel-like dressing room encased in pretty hand- painted wallpaper.
The guest room floor was painted a ‘sooty charcoal’, a rustic contrast to the master bedroom. Bespoke panelling cleverly conceals secret storage, while a new skylight allows for late-night star gazing.
See more of David’s work at alacarter.com
Photography ⁄ Paul Raeside