For a sporty family used to the reliably good weather and relaxed outdoor lifestyle of Los Angeles, living in London might come as a bit of a shock. However, when work moved the Canadian-born owners and their family to Britain ten years ago, the environs of leafy Richmond Park proved to be a worthy substitution for their previous home.
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At first, the couple rented in the area then, having been won over by it, decided to settle there. One street, and one house in particular, caught their eye and, when it came onto the market, as the owner explains, ‘We jumped. It is right next to the park, and it is also an easy drive into central London.’
The early 20th-century property (including a dilapidated timber conservatory) was run down and in need of renovation. So, while the family continued to rent for another two years, they worked with architect Ray Thompson and interior designer Juliette Byrne to create a clean-lined, contemporary home that sits in harmony with its parkland surroundings.
Classic architectural details, including the chair rail and fireplace surround, were added to help emphasise the formal nature of this space. To keep the look modern, the walls and woodwork were painted the same color.
The porch was remodelled with new side windows and the internal glazed doors were created to match.
The floor tiles here extend throughout the ground floor and on to the terrace, ensuring a seamless connection between inside and out. The otherwise monochrome scheme is lifted by upholstered stools, in homeowner Eleanor Klein's favourite color, plum.
An articulated pendant light and chairs with low backs were sourced to allow for an uninterrupted view of the garden beyond.
We based the layout of the planting on the geometric grid that was designed for the interior; says landscape gardener John Sallis Chandler, 'and we kept to a strict green and white palette to allow shapes and textures to stand out.'
This room was originally the main bedroom, with a bathroom and dressing room next door. The designer suggested swapping the bedroom and dressing around so that the owners can see the garden from the bed. She designed the cabinetry with mirrored doors to boost light levels in the naturally dark space.
Inspiration for this smart scheme came from the bathrooms in the owners favourite Four Seasons Hotel.
As the owner is not keen on pattern, the designer chose grasscloth wallpaper and textured curtains to introduce interest and warmth to this room, and to soften the effect of the dark wood in the connecting dressing room.
To make this long, narrow room feel as large and uncluttered as possible, Juliette designed a wall-hung desk with handy overhead shelving and used plum as a bold touch of color.
A compact bathroom for the girls was fitted into the apex of the newly configured second floor. Juliette lined the wall around the window with mirror glass to create a sense of infinity in the small room.
The bold use of purple (helps to link the upper floor with the shades of plum found throughout the house). This room's distinctive Sixties feel is given an extra boost by the Eero Aarnio Ball chair, also in rich purple.
Photography/ Davide Lovatti
Interior design/Juliette Byrne