'There is a fantastic German word that my late grandmother used to describe a person or a place that feels comforting and cosy, 'gemütlich'. That is how I wanted this house to feel,' says the owner who lives in this five-bedroom Victorian terraced house in west London with her husband and their two daughters.
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With 30 years' experience of searching for prime residential properties to buy on behalf of private clients, the homeowner, who runs her own property finding company, knows what she likes when it comes to interiors. ‘I see many beautiful houses as part of my job, but I've grown tired of the often cold, clinical feel of the decoration,’ she says. ‘A warm family home was my aim; something chic but welcoming.’
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Previously, the family lived in Bayswater, in a house built in the aftermath of the Second World War. ‘It was nothing special from the outside,’ says the homeowner, ‘but it was big and the layout was very practical.’ However, once the children reached their late teens, the family's priorities shifted. It was time for a change.
The owner and her husband hunted for an area with a village feel, offering local shops and outdoor spaces nearby in which to walk their dogs. ‘It is incredibly dog-friendly here, which I love,’ says the owner.
The house they chose to buy is in one of a group of sought-after streets and near the area's largest common. ‘After viewing many properties, I saw this house and it immediately gave me a positive feeling,’ she says.
‘I particularly liked the large garden, which isn't overlooked. We like to eat out there whenever we can.’
Although the house, on first inspection, appeared to be in reasonable condition, it actually needed a major overhaul. ‘We ended up gutting it,’ she says. The most significant part of the work was rebuilding the poorly conceived kitchen extension. ‘It had so many beams and fussy lines, it gave us a headache,’ she explains. Today, it blends perfectly with the bespoke Shaker-style kitchen that the owner designed with cabinet maker Luke McHardy.
A new Victorian-style marble fireplace makes a fine focal point for the more formal part of the double sitting room.
The pale grey of the side table and soft blue of the sofa echo the colors of the print on the wall above, bringing a sense of harmony and interest to the informal part of the double sitting room. Generous seating, enlivened with color from carefully chosen cushions, comes into its own in the formal area of the scheme when the couple entertains.
‘Our Springador and Labrador adore their bed nestled within the island unit because they are out of the way but still in the thick of the action,’ says the homeowner, who had three roof lights put into the extension to make the kitchen feel as bright and inviting as possible.
These built-in bookshelves are a neat way to use otherwise redundant enclaves created by the chimneybreast.
In a departure from the Jasmine White used elsewhere in the house, the owner has chosen a paint with grey tones for the walls, to complement black and white photographs.
The top floor of the house is where the owner’s teenagers watch television. The decoration is fresh and uncluttered with subtle touches, including a pair of graphic cushions, used to add a burst of color.
Polished marble flooring and a sleek double vanity unit bring a note of glamour and opulence to the clean lines of this space.
Photography/ Jody Stewart
This home was part of our House Tours Event 10 & 11 October 2019, sponsored by Heals, Roger Oates, Thomas Sanderson and Yves Delorme.
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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