Classic color scheming resulted in a timeless feel for this elegant family home in London
Clever storage solutions make good use of space while classic touches add character to this period home in south west London
The word both Georgie Coleridge Cole and her interior designer Katharine Paravicini use to describe each other is ‘decisive’. Given Georgie’s hectic lifestyle as the founder of online fashion and lifestyle magazine SheerLuxe, she is a woman for whom time is of the essence.
When it came to renovating the south west London home she had bought with her corporate financier husband Christopher and their three children and dog, there were just too many plates to keep spinning.
‘Our builder is a man in a hurry. He wants everything on site yesterday and is known for finishing projects early so there was no time to procrastinate and it was amazing to have Katharine helping me. We have very similar taste and I really trust her,’ Georgie explains.
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The move came about rather unexpectedly when Christopher noticed a property in the same area in which they were living that had been on the market for some time.
‘He has a good eye for a deal and, although we weren’t quite ready to move, he could see an opportunity. The house had the space we were after with the owners having dug a basement five years before, but it still needed modernizing from the ground floor up,’ says Georgie.
'We did the children’s rooms first and then slept in them using the basement as our living space while the building work was going on. It was chaos, but we were project-managing everything ourselves so every day there were questions to answer and it made sense to be here, not to mention the money we saved by not renting somewhere else.’
Checkerboard-style tiling is classic but gives a dramatic flourish, too.
The kitchen was a particular challenge where Jamie Blake of Blakes London contributed his design wisdom to create a strikingly chic, organised and welcoming living space.
‘Previously there was so much glass it was like being in a greenhouse so we added walls, a new roof with skylights and traditional garden doors and window seat, which felt more in keeping with the period of the house,’ says Georgie.
Jamie urged Georgie to retain the secondary ‘butler’s pantry’, where the hard-working aspects of the kitchen are neatly tucked away. The handleless cabinetry features elegant frames of beading that offer a sense of continuity with the panels in the hall and drawing room.
The showstopping blue-veined marble island is unique and a real talking point of the kitchen. A floor-to-ceiling bar cabinet is a much admired talking point. Dated archway entrances were squared off for a more timeless look.
See: Kitchen ideas – decor and decorating ideas for all kitchens
The colors in the dining room wallpaper were used in the living room alongside, creating a visual connection.
Katharine was a strong guiding hand when it came to fabrics and furnishings.
‘I was quite bossy and Georgie made some brave decisions, such as the Pierre Frey wallpaper in the dining room and the yellow interiors of the glass cabinets there. But it was a fun and collaborative relationship,’ says Katharine.
Originally learning her trade at Colefax and Fowler, Katharine brought a sophisticated, calming touch that was sensitive to the house’s age, though Georgie acknowledges that at times Katharine pushed her out of her comfort zone.
‘She has a real eye for balancing the old and the new. My new-found passion for antiques is largely down to her,’ Georgie enthuses.
See: Dining room ideas – inspiration for decorating and furnishing your space
The house needed complete modernisation. New panelling brought an authentic sense of period character in the living room.
See: Living room ideas – clever ways to decorate living spaces
The black frame of the mirror responds to the bold monochromatic wallpaper. A period-style basin was chosen to suit the age of the house.
Bespoke joinery offers a practical solution for working from home. Wallpaper behind gives a characterful backdrop.
See: Home office ideas – ways to decorate that are smart, practical and stylish
Upholstered walls create a cosy sense of luxury. Hints of muted grey offer a gentle contrast to the pinks in the scheme.
‘I encouraged Georgie to really go for it and upholster the walls in the main bedroom. There’s nothing more cosy and luxurious for a bedroom,’ she adds.
With its gentle pinks and warming neutral tones, this serene enclave is the perfect antidote to both Georgie and Christopher’s fast-paced careers.
See: Bedroom ideas – designs and inspiration for beautiful bedrooms
Gently gathered blinds in the bathroom strike a romantic mood.
The house is now completely finished and has been confirmed as the family’s ‘forever home’ so at least the couple can be confident that one thing they can take off their packed future agendas is further renovations.
See: Bathroom ideas – stylish decor ideas for all bathrooms
Interior designer/ Katharine Paravicini
Photography/ Anna Stathaki
Text/ Juliet Benning
Interiors have always been Vivienne's passion – from bold and bright to Scandi white. After studying at Leeds University, she worked at the Financial Times, before moving to Radio Times. She did an interior design course and then worked for Homes & Gardens, Country Living and House Beautiful. Vivienne’s always enjoyed reader homes and loves to spot a house she knows is perfect for a magazine (she has even knocked on the doors of houses with curb appeal!), so she became a houses editor, commissioning reader homes, writing features and styling and art directing photo shoots. She worked on Country Homes & Interiors for 15 years, before returning to Homes & Gardens as houses editor four years ago.
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