Could our passion for open-plan homes be on the wane, as our desire grows for rooms where we can each relax in peace, away from the bustle and noise of daily life? This is certainly the case for the owners who, after 10 years of living in their open-plan Victorian terraced house in south-west London, have just completed a renovation to reverse the process. As their three children, approached their teenage years, there came an inevitable shift in family dynamics and the boundaries needed to be redrawn. This state of affairs led to the couple calling on interior designer Tor Vivian to help establish a new kind of harmony.
It was the open-plan layout that initially attracted the family to the property. The previous owners had already extended the property at the back and had opened up the ground floor. The house had a lovely feel about it and we were able to move in straight away. It suited us perfectly; we spent most of our time in the communal space, which was ideal for keeping an eye on three young children.
This room was reinstated to create a formal yet comfortable space for entertaining. Accents of blue and green add vibrant notes to the neutral palette, with metallic pieces for a fresh, modern feel. The sofa and floor lamp were inherited from the owners father, Christopher Wray.
The clock face overlooking this welcoming space at the back of the house is one of two that were made in the 1980s for the original Christopher Wray shop façade. As the masonry was unable to take their weight, however, neither was ever put up, until now.
Bold blue cabinets are a striking contrast to crisp white walls. ‘There were no compromises made in this room,’ says Tor. ‘This is where Arabella cooks for the family and also for her businesses, the Alpine Bar and Gallery Café at Chel-Ski and Clip ’n Climb.’
‘Although this space is not huge, we’ve managed to fit in a couple of integrated fridges, four ovens and a Barazza hob,’ says Tor.
This end of the newly configured room serves as a relaxing space for watching television, with storage and display for objets d’ art. ‘I created three or four different layouts for this space so the couple could make an informed decision,’ says Tor. The Crittall-style window in the new partition provides a link to the kitchen and allows natural light to flow through.
The generous ceiling height in the basement is emphasised by a skylight that floods the new den (below) with natural light. ‘This is very much a space for the children to call their own,’ says the owner. ‘We now all have our places around the house where we can retreat to when we like, but we still have the kitchen where we can gather together as a family. It’s the perfect balance.’
Hot pink accents and a bright mix of patterned cushions combine with silver-grey wallpaper, blinds and bedding to bring a sophisticated feel to this 14-year-old’s room.
This space was designed with versatility in mind. Shelves allow her, to change her display of decorative objects against the backdrop of the subtly patterned wallpaper, while the blue glass window, added by the previous owners, is a quirky touch.
A penchant for ﬂamingos was the starting point for this pretty scheme. The marble-topped vanity unit and fluffy sheepskin stool add notes of glamour without overpowering the compact space.
The owner tasked Tor with creating a Banksy-themed scheme for his room. ‘We briefly considered covering the walls with a mural, but felt it wouldn’t have longevity,’ says Tor. Instead, a concrete-style feature wall captures the cool urban feel that they wanted and is the perfect backdrop for Banksy prints and vintage furnishings.
‘I wanted our bedroom to be a sanctuary, like a luxury hotel room,’ says the owner. With this in mind, Tor used faux fur cushions and throws for cocooning softness, and brass studwork and exotic mother-of-pearl elements to give the room scheme a tailored yet decorative finish.
Tor overcame the challenge of this compact space by installing a Crittall-style wall to separate part of the bedroom without blocking light. She designed the fabric-covered chest of drawers, which conceals a television, to match the wardrobes beyond.
As a nod to the heritage of the property, this room has a Victorian aesthetic. ‘It feels opulent and is also a nice contrast to the contemporary style used elsewhere in the house,’ says the owner.
Photography ⁄ Davide Lovatti
Interior designer ⁄ Tor Vivian