An elegant and colourful family home in London

Brave colour choices and punchy patterns are celebrated in this bold and beautiful family home.

As a child, did you ever dream about your future home? This homeowner did. ‘I would say, ‘When I grow up and have a family, I’d like a house with a fireplace and cool art’,’ she says. ‘Now I have it! This is my grown-up home!’ Alongside the roaring fire and striking paintings, her London terrace boasts an exciting mix of pattern, colour, inherited pieces, contemporary furniture and cleverly upcycled finds. ‘I suppose you’d call it eclectic?’ says the owner, sounding unsure. ‘It’s not standard!’

As well as being a dream come true, this place is the happy result of a lifetime of collecting. ‘Whenever I go somewhere, I pick up things,’ she says. ‘I’ve been walking around with fabric swatches and wallpaper scraps for years. Here, I’ve had a chance to use them all.’ The house has also allowed her to display treasures that have been in storage. ‘I’ve had one painting for about 20 years,’ she says. ‘It’s been at Big Yellow the whole time!’

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

So why the delay? It’s because, despite living here on and off since 2009, the owner and her husband have only owned the whole house since 2013. Before that, it was two flats. They lived in the lower one and, once her three children came along, moved to a bigger, rented home and let the flat out. ‘Then, one morning, we emailed the neighbours above it to see if they wanted to sell,’ she says. ‘First they said no, then it was why not?’

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Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

THE PROPERTY

Finally, the homeowner, an interior designer, had the chance to convert two into one and create a family home worthy of her childhood ambitions. ‘Initially, we just gutted the entrance and added a new staircase,’ she says. Then she opened up the poky rooms on the first floor, removing the kitchen, before working out how to redesign the space. Her ambition? ‘For it to work for everyone and every age.’

Now, the lower two floors are very much for the children. ‘They know they can have their friends over, watch a film and do anything they like there,’ says the homeowner. Equally, if the couple want to entertain, the first-floor living room is the perfect toy-free space. ‘I love our big dining table too,’ she adds. ‘I like having lots of people round. It was great to be able to design a space where that’s possible.’

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

HALLWAY

Harlequin’s bold, geometric Sumi wallpaper creates a striking feature in the hallway. The shell-frame mirror was a family heirloom.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

LIVING ROOM

Alongside the roaring fire and striking paintings, this London terrace boasts an exciting mix of pattern, colour, inherited pieces, contemporary furniture and cleverly upcycled finds.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

The living room was designed around the fireplace. Shades of lilac and orange blend in with this neutral scheme.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

KITCHEN

A practical, stainless-steel table provides additional storage and worktop space in this industrial-style kitchen.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

DINING ROOM

Rather than kit the house out from scratch, existing pieces were modified so that they work in their new surroundings.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

The fabulous chairs, which were a gift, have been upholstered in a zingy red and blue fabric.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

The plate rack holds china by Astier de Villatte – a new piece is added to the collection each year. The lights on either side of the rack are bespoke.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

STUDY

The study-come-dressing room on the top floor is complete with bespoke shelving, which flanks a simple desk.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

MASTER BEDROOM

Here, the same wallpaper is used as in the living room, but in a different shade. It gives a little bit of depth without interfering with the overall scheme. The headboard is made from two old doors that were found at a tip.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

GIRLS’ ROOM

This room is pink to the max, but as young girls get older, some of the fluffy stuff can be trimmed out and the girls can still enjoy it.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

BOYS’ ROOM

This room has lovely grass-cloth wallpaper – it was inherited as part of the room when it used to be the master bedroom.

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

Modern colourful home

Image credit: Alexander James

Photography  ⁄ Alexander James

This home was part of our House Tours Event 10 & 11 October 2019, sponsored by Heals, Roger Oates, Thomas Sanderson and Yves Delorme.

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