‘I do miss Cairo,’ muses the homeowner, who is an interior and product designer. Sitting in her light-filled dining room in west London, beneath an artwork depicting an ancient Egyptian feast that is still celebrated in the country today, the owner’s affection for her homeland is unmistakable as it is captivating.
References to Egypt abound in a pleasing mix of traditional and contemporary forms: the porch light, for example, is encased in a laser-cut shade depicting Tahrir Square, a key location in the 2011 revolution, while in the living room the mighty River Nile glistens in the treasured oil painting by Mahmoud Said that hangs above the fireplace. ‘I love being surrounded by reminders of Egypt,’ says the owner.
Nevertheless, she has also embraced London –where she lives with her husband, and their daughters – with characteristic enthusiasm and creative fervour. ‘This house is a passion,’ says the homeowner. ‘It is a blend of East meets West, a mix of everything I love. For me, a home is not so much designed as curated.’
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Following a sojourn in Chelsea, having moved to London for work, the couple began looking for a spacious, family-oriented home. ‘I fell in love with this house the moment the estate agent opened the door; it has a wonderful soul,’ the owner exclaims. ‘We'd seen larger properties, but this immediately felt like home.’
High ceilings and quirky architectural details, including the distinctive Victorian terracotta lions that are perched on gables, echo Cairo's mid-century splendour and provide a reassuring sense of familiarity, while a few minor tweaks here and there have enhanced the interior's sense of flow. ‘We squared off a curved archway linking the kitchen and dining room and reinstalled skirting boards to create a more harmonious effect,’ explains the owner.
Although there are many beautiful and intriguing items in this room, it is the fabulous Spiridon chandelier, which the homeowner sells in her shop, that commands attention. ‘I’ve had people knock on the door to ask about it after admiring it through the window,’ she says.
The wallpaper was chosen for its textural quality, and also for practical reasons. ‘It's vinyl so we can wash it, which is vital as our daughter is going through a phase of drawing on the walls at the moment,’ says the owner.
An impressive sofa from Roche Bobois is a favourite spot for the couple's three daughters. Its proportions are matched by a striking metallic floor lamp on a similarly bold scale.
Comfort, style and ergonomics combine in this room, with its woodburning stove opposite the neat island. ‘My husband loves cooking and the girls like to bake cakes so a functional, family-friendly kitchen was essential,’ says the homeowner.
Turning pockets of previously wasted space in the kitchen into an open-fronted drinks cabinet, a tile-backed fireplace and a log store, and laying whitewashed oak throughout the ground floor have brought a timeless, easy-living appeal that the owner adores.
Originally a store cupboard, this is now where the homeowners keep the the glassware they have collected on their travels around the Middle East, Scandinavia, Italy and Africa. ‘It's a bar full of memories,’ says the homeowner.
‘The attic had already been converted into a bedroom when we bought the house,’ the owner says of this space, which is alive with color thanks to the handmade bedspread.
Made for two, this luxurious bathroom features a double vanity unit and twin showers.
‘The girls had a big say in the style of their rooms,’ says the owner of this scheme, where a cleverly designed bespoke bed offers desk space and somewhere for overnight guests.
Photography/ Jonathan Gooch
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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