House Design

Lucy Hammond Giles' jewel-colored London home is full of Christmas cheer

The London home of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s Lucy Hammond Giles is awash with joyful color and pattern

colorful and patterned living room with green walls, a bay window and a Christmas tree
(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

‘Design is about working with space,’ says Lucy Hammond Giles. Creating rooms that look beautiful but also that feel right and make people comfortable being in them  – combining timeless form with essential function, mixing both the prosaic and the poetic.’ 

Lucy speaks from years of experience as one of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s prestigious team of decorators. ‘It’s about understanding what is existing: the house and the people who will live in it, and how to make it joyous and interesting while functional and relaxed.’ 

When it came to her own home,  where joyful color and pattern have ensured this is one of the world's best homes, Lucy faced every decorator’s challenge of being aware of the myriad possibilities, while dealing with the parameters of real life.

‘I love light, space and pattern but there were limits, narrowed by our circumstances: the house is a 1950s build, we are a family of four with a dog, we didn’t have a huge budget and had existing furniture and paintings,’ she says. 

The family have been in the house for 13 years. ‘It was very respectable when we bought it, but with disjointed divisions of space and no focus towards the garden,’ says Lucy.  

Kitchen dining area

kitchen diner with green banquette and shelves

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

Lucy knew instinctively that she would want to open up the courtyard and incorporate it into the kitchen but she and husband Marco, a lawyer, didn’t do this until they had lived in it for three years.

The now extended kitchen diner showcases dining room ideas and with ceiling skylights is the brightest room in the house. ‘We kept it light and used a lot of greens and plants to distract from the lack of windows at the kitchen end,’ says Lucy.

Home office

colorful office with leather chair and seating with storage drawers

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

Originally a garage, this vibrant area beside the kitchen diner area is now a work space and games room with lots of storage ideas to hide the messy bits. For anyone looking for home office ideas, the space makes for wonderful inspiration.

Kitchen

kitchen with green glossy cabinets and island with bar stools

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

The kitchen abounds with kitchen ideas. The cabinets were designed by Lucy, made in timber by a carpenter and spray painted an RAL (Reichs-Ausschuß für Lieferbedingungen und Gütesicherung) color. 

Living room

Colorful, patterned living room with green walls, bay window and Christmas tree

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

Bought partly for its proximity to a west London park, the house is deceptively small from the outside and quite unexpected inside. 

This family space, where jewel colors provide a rich atmosphere all year, is awash with living room ideas. As well as its deep dramatic paint colors such as the cozy and grounding sludgy green walls, it is layered with textures, upholstered in rich cloths and peppered with family art and antiques. 

A few modern pieces are set against the vintage, and every available surface is a home to cascading greenery, making it feel very alive. 

colorful living room with green walls and fireplace

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

‘We read in the formal living room on rainy weekends and dark evenings, with the radio on and fire lit,’ says Lucy.

Hallway

staircase with lavender and gray walls and gallery wall

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

The lavender shade is used in the ground floor hall but Lucy didn’t want to carry it to the top, so using it half and half was a good way to transition color, one of many clever hallway ideas.

Basement hall

basement hall with turquoise walls, leather swivel chair and climbing wall

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

All along, the couple had decided they didn’t want a basement but when, six years ago, neighbors on either side started digging – ‘we couldn’t get out of our front door as we’re in a corner’ – they thought they’d join them. 

It was more than worth the upheaval. ‘It’s actually so much better than I could have hoped with high ceilings, light wells and valuable extra space,’ says Lucy. 

The house had been created with flexible family living in mind from the word go. Lucy’s two sons, Freddie, 13, and Joey, 10, currently share a large bedroom at the top of the house, but as they grow they will move down to their own ‘apartment’ in the basement.  

The hallway in the basement was to be used for books but instead it has been utilised as a climbing wall for Marco. ‘His genius idea and much more exciting,’ Lucy says.   

Basement bedroom

colorful bedroom with teal walls, patterned bedding and artwork

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

The bedroom is a masterclass in bedroom ideas. A sharp teal blue on the walls keeps the room from feeling entirely traditional. 

Main bedroom

Blue bedroom with wall hanging and patterned bedspread

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

Deep blues are the order of the day in the bedrooms. 'I love how dark colors work well in dark bedrooms – they make them cozy, while anything you put on walls looks amazing,’ says Lucy.

Shower room

yellow and taupe shower room with black and white geometric tiles

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

The shower room is inspirational with plenty of bathroom ideas. ‘This is a riff on the Hollywood lights from my mother’s bathroom in the 1980s,’ says Lucy.

Shower room

shower room with blue patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Future/ James Merrell)

A patterned wallpaper injects character into the shower room. 'I had wanted to use this paper – the pattern brings in excellent color and movement,’ says Lucy. 

Festive celebrations mean that this home is used even more heartily than usual. They begin with a Scandi-style Christmas Eve with Jansen’s Temptation (dauphinoise with anchovies) and shots of Aalborg (aquavit), in a nod to Lucy’s half-Swedish stepfather; the day itself starts with stockings in bed and a reviving dash across London parks followed by an early-ish ‘proper’ dinner, then dancing and plenty of popping of corks, before collapsing in the living room for a film – or a snooze. 

Interior design/ Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler

Photography/ James Merrell

Mary Weaver
Mary Weaver

Mary is a writer and stylist, a contributor to Homes & Gardens and Livingetc where she was Houses Editor for 14 years.  She has a background in interiors, freelancing for all the major magazine titles, and previously enjoyed a career as a fashion editor.  Design is her passion and she is a serial home renovator, about to embark on an exciting new project, a Regency townhouse, in Brighton.  Her style is a personalised riff on Parisian chic meets contemporary luxe with a twist of kitsch thrown in.