This Victorian redesign is drawn to the light

A new layout created bright, open spaces that beautifully showcase an exquisite collection of art and antiques.

When the homeowners’ children left home, the couple decided that instead of moving to a smaller house, they would stay put and modernise the place where they already lived. It would not be the first time they had taken on such a project: when they bought the property in the Seventies, it had been divided into five flats.

This time, with the help of Studio Indigo, they have dramatically yet sensitively transformed their grand Victorian house in London into a haven of rare beauty where they can enjoy a new chapter in their lives.

‘Mike Fisher, creative director of Studio Indigo, showed us his houses in London and Cape Town, and we liked his style. He was also the only person who suggested putting the drawing room at the back of the house, overlooking the garden, which was an idea that my husband and I loved,’ explains the owner.

THE PROPERTY

The couple had already extended the house at the back some twenty years ago, but the link between the old and the new had never felt fully resolved. A decision to remove a secondary staircase (which connected the original house with the extension) restored the sense of importance to the original staircase and to the entrance hall. It also enabled the couple to reorganise the layout of the rooms and put the main living spaces at the back of the house, overlooking the garden. This created a better sense of cohesion between the old and new parts of the building.

LIVING ROOM

‘We use this table all the time because the room gets so much light,’ says the owners of the elegant yet informal new space.

Victorian home

DINING ROOM

The chairs were designed to accompany the antique refectory table. Their daughter-in-law painted the large abstract work, while the decorative frieze above the picture rail was commissioned after they visited Florence. A painting by one of the Dutch masters, which the owner inherited from her father, is teamed with a table from her grandmother.

Victorian home

Bespoke dining chairs. Ben Whistler, benwhistler.com. Chair backs in Bukara in Col 2 Bronze, £276m, Dedar, dedar.com.

KITCHEN

The pair of carved walnut doors are from the owners grandmother’s house in Zurich. ‘They are the most lovely colour and a very unusual feature for a London townhouse,’ she says.

Victorian home

Glazed sliding doors enable the kitchen to be closed off from the drawing room. Bespoke kitchen, Artichoke, artichoke-ltd.com.

Victorian home

ENTRANCE HALL

Venetian polished plaster was applied to the walls to reflect light. Its butter colour provides a contrast to the dark metalwork of the original staircase.

Victorian home

Small Oak wall light, £3,240, Cox London, coxlondon.com.

GUEST BEDROOM

This eclectic room is furnished with Chinese and Tibetan pieces that were collected by the owners mother. They are complemented by a bespoke headboard in ebonised wood and mirrored glass, designed by Studio Indigo and inspired by Chinese screens.

Victorian home

Walls in Ammonite estate emulsion, £43.50 for 2.5L, Farrow & Ball, farrow-ball.com.

GUEST BATHROOM

The modern design of the hourglass-shaped slipper bath is exaggerated by its proximity to traditional paintings and an ornate frame on mirrored glass.

Victorian home

Cabrits freestanding bath, £3,675; Amalfi 55 basin, £490, both Victoria + Albert. vandabaths.com.

Victorian home

CHILDREN’S BEDROOM

Curtains in a fabric embroidered with delicate flowers are a highly suitable match for a pair of charming beds painted with foliage and bird motifs, which she inherited from her grandmother. ‘I used to sleep in them when I stayed with her in Switzerland,’ she says.

Victorian home

Curtains in Wisteria, from £124m, Chelsea Textiles, chelseatextiles.com.

MAIN BEDROOM

A mix of patterns adds a playful feel to this exuberant scheme. The headboard, designed by Studio Indigo, echoes a metal example in the couples Cape Town house.

Victorian home

Raindrop chandelier, from £2,900, Valerie Wade, valeriewade.com. Architectural and interior design, Studio Indigo, studioindigo.co.uk.

MAIN BATHROOM

The double show enclosure, which was designed by Studio Indigo, gives the bathroom a standout sculptural element, while heavily veined Calacatta marble and a large-scale painting lend visual energy.

Victorian home

Bespoke shower enclosure, made by Spa Glazing, 020 7998 9320.

Photography/ David Lovatti

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