When it came to choosing an interior designer for their home, the owners of this period London townhouse were determined that their own taste, rather than any signature studio style, ought to be the biggest influence.
Discovering Rebecca Hughes on Instagram, the owner quickly realised Rebecca’s love of collaboration could prove to be her greatest asset.
'While I wanted the lead to come from the designer, I also had a very clear idea of our taste as a couple and wanted to be able to contribute to the creative process,’ the owner explains.
Shortly after commissioning Rebecca, the owner found herself at the studio rummaging through samples.
‘It was a really enjoyable process,’ says Rebecca. ‘The owner would pull out what she liked and we’d have a play around together.’
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Though the London house, bought in 2010, was still in good condition after a previous renovation, the couple felt the interior was tired and in need of personalization.
‘It had always felt like living in someone else’s house so we wanted to put our own stamp on it,’ explains the owner.
‘We also felt the layout could be adapted to better suit our lifestyle so we rearranged the kitchen, added a utility room and a playroom and swapped a bathroom with a bedroom.’
With a young son and daughter, the owner was also eager that plenty of well-organised storage be a priority.
In the kitchen, the appliances are hidden behind the seamless and elegant cabinetry.
‘The house is uncluttered and unfussy. Everything has a place – I even have a wrapping paper drawer,’ the owner enthuses.
The characterful cobbled-effect tiles came with the house.
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Rebecca utilized the under-stairs space for more storage. The rich tones of the table stand out against the pale hues.
Rebecca put together a series of schemes for each room focusing on texture and gentle moderations of color.
‘My husband and I have always favoured a pared-back approach,’ says the owner. ‘We don’t like vast amounts of pattern or color and we wanted to create something timeless that would age well so if we left the house and walked through the door in five years’ time, we would still love it just as much. It’s classic without being old-fashioned and it’s modern enough to win over my husband, yet with some wonderful mid-century details.’
Slight variations of neutral hues deliver a pale and interesting result.
While pushing the couple out of their comfort zone by introducing a few patterned fabrics, Rebecca embraced her brief to avoid them by opting instead to add interest through organic finishes and varied textures.
‘We wanted everything to be quite tactile so we considered how fabrics felt as well as looked,’ explains Rebecca. ‘I brought in textured wallpapers and polished plaster but tonally kept the house very harmonious. We also invested in lots of bespoke pieces to create a sumptuous feel.’
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A banquette seat doubles as storage for toys. The Roman blind, made of one continuous piece of fabric, contributes to the seamless look.
The gentle curve of the headboard and lamp base balance the sharper angles of the table.
Refined and elegant yet with a myriad of fine details, the house is a testimony to the successful creative bond forged between the owner and Rebecca.
‘I always said to Rebecca, it’s your name above the door so we want to end up with an interior you feel equally proud of,’ says the owner.
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Polished plaster walls provide textural interest while the black slate floor and gray painted tub punctuate the neutrals.
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Completed before the pandemic hit, the house has acted as a London refuge. ‘Even though it’s close to the centre of town it feels hushed and serene,’ says the owner.
‘When you spend 12 months behind locked doors you really come to appreciate your home and how it makes you feel. Never have I felt more grateful.’
Interior design/ Rebecca Hughes Interiors (opens in new tab)
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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