The rich colors used in this London home are the perfect shades to create an instantly sophisticated decor scheme

Designer Flora Soames reinvigorated this London home with period detailing, modern additions and rich color

Dining room, bedroom, kitchen
(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Passionate art collectors, the owners of this double-fronted Victorian villa in London, commissioned Flora Soames, arbiter of color and taste, to design the interior. Having worked together already on a previous country project, they enjoyed an inherent creative connection, but with a growing family – three children aged 11 to 15 – the brief for their main home was to contrast the architectural heritage alongside a more contemporary, streamlined aesthetic, suited to everyday family living.

White staircase, red carpet, glass lights

The vivid runner leads the eye upstairs, while black accents punctuate the brilliant white 

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

‘This is an extraordinary space,’ says Flora. ‘Untouched for years, the broad and capacious proportions are very unusual in this area, and the renovation represented an opportunity for the owners to make their own creative stamp.’ 

The 18-month project, finished in 2018, involved a complete refurbishment, with the addition of a ground floor rear kitchen extension. It was a collaboration between Pitman Tozer Architects, Martha Read Architects and project manager Sarah Cox, who were all responsible for the reconfiguration and hard finishes; and Flora, whose focus was on the interior decoration. 

‘The process was organic but considered throughout: the clients knew how they wanted the house to feel and what they wanted to achieve with the layout, but were keen to push the benchmark on the use of room color, pattern and texture – using their extensive art collections as the basis for all palette decisions.’

White countertop, black drawers, black framed windows

Part of an extension, this modern space connects to the home’s classicism through the cabinetry

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Red chairs and vase, blue cabinet

The bespoke joinery provides storage and space for objects that introduce character

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

As you enter, the calm and clean-lined hallway offsets covetable artworks and striking lanterns; before leading your eye up to the bold red stair runner and down the corridor to the ‘arresting, a jewel-like box of color’ that is the adjoining sitting room and study. Here, softly colored walls act as a neutral backdrop for the rich red, blue and yellow palette detailed on artwork, furnishings and upholstery.

Red chair and pots, blue cabinets, wooden table

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Bespoke media storage designed by Sarah and made by Christopher Clark Workshops is embellished with antique handles and escutcheons, and flanks the fireplace; whilst in the connecting study, his bespoke cabinetry doubles as a flexible home office-meets-bar, allowing the space to evolve fluidly from day to night. Painted in a high-gloss red, it adds a contemporary edge to the client’s antique desk and antique kilim rug.

Red sofa, blue stool, yellow walls

Vivid colours immediately set a modern tone

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Red cupboard, wooden desk, blue armchair

A treasured antique desk is contrasted with high-gloss cabinetry that holds a home bar

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

The handmade kitchen by David Willats at Heartwood was made to Sarah’s design. The modern, pared-back extension contrasts with the original architectural bones and balances generous prep surfaces with a welcoming entertaining space.

Blue bedframe and sofa, wooden bedside table

‘There is something special about bringing together old and new with abundant colour and texture,’ says Flora

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Upstairs in the main bedroom, noble proportions are matched with a cocooning, signature-style tester bed and comfortable furniture and textiles. ‘Curating a space with bespoke furniture and lighting turns the everyday into something special,’ says Flora. 

White bunk beds and ladders, horse wallpaper

The bespoke fabric canopy makes this delightful sleeping space even more magical

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Similarly, the three children’s bedrooms were designed to reflect their characters and add an element of whimsy: think playful bunk beds set against a blue and cream wallpaper, topped with a red and raspberry handmade canopy; a magical pink bedroom with a pom-pom draped four-poster; and a grown-up boy’s bedroom with bespoke wardrobe and study area. 

‘Finding the right pieces for a project takes patience and time, but the wait is always worth it,’ says Flora. ‘There is something special about bringing together old and new, with abundant color, texture and art. It creates a sense of comfort and personality that will stand the test of time.’

Blue walls, twin sinks

An oversized ottoman and double vanity deliver luxurious notes

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

White shower with seat, red lap, wooden cabinet

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Pink walls, four poster bed, white desk

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Blue wallpaper and bench, white cupboards

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Blue and white wallpaper, white bath

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Blue desk and cabinets

(Image credit: Mary Wandsworth/Mary Weaver)

Author / Ali Heath 

Interior designer / Flora Soames

Ali Heath
Interiors journalist, stylist, interior designer

Ali Heath is a UK-based interiors journalist, stylist, creative consultant, interior designer, and author and has over 17 years freelance experience, working with prestigious interior magazines, newspapers, and private clients. Her work is featured regularly in many leading interior titles, and she is represented internationally by Living Inside agency, in Milan. Ali is the author of interiors book Create, publishing June 2023. Her first bestselling book, Curate, was published in 2020 and Ali is Contributing Editor and Creative Consultant for the new book from The White Company, The Art of Living with White, published in September 2022.