This Edwardian terraced house in Croydon looks like a typical three-bedroom property from the outside, but inside the owners’ love of bright colour and bold pattern has turned the otherwise suburban home into a tropical paradise. One half of the couple is originally from the Caribbean and this is evident throughout the interior. Botanical prints, exotic birds, vibrant tones and colonial furniture are features throughout the house. When the owners, a chef and restaurant owner, bought it they knocked down walls that hadn’t been decorated in 30 years to create a large open space full of personality with plenty of room to entertain and cook for their friends.
As the house hadn’t been decorated in such a long time the owners wanted to totally transform it. Stripping the wallpaper (including off the ceilings) took two weeks! After a plasterer had skimmed the walls and the couple had sanded the original floorboards, they turned their attention to the fabulous period features that remained in the house. ‘In the living room we ripped out the horrible 1960s fireplace and installed a woodburning stove, then we fitted a period fireplace, which we found dumped on the roadside.’ Aqua walls form a backdrop for vibrant cushions and colourful accessories. ‘I made the patterned lampshade with fabric I had left from the cushions,’ says the owner.
As the owners wanted an L-shaped, open-plan kitchen they turned the old back door into a window and fitted the sink in front. Now they can look out over the garden while washing up. The white units were a great find on Gumtree, which the owners then fitted themselves. The saving in turn allowed them to invest in good quality quartz worktops, which contrast beautifully with the white cupboards. Purple and lime accessories help to lift the monochrome scheme.
Similar curtain fabric
The original dining room was so dark and cold it was barely used. Now it is a colourful part of the kitchen-diner with a new French door leading out to the garden. Like the rest of the house, the theme is modern tropical with a purple feature wall, botanical print curtains and colourful chairs, which are the owners’ personal favourites. ‘Over the years I’ve collected all the dining chairs from junk shops and upcycled each of them with a different look, depending on period and style.’
The hallway decor takes a break from vibrant colour and instead is painted in smart navy and white for a French-Caribbean colonial theme. But carnival character is still part of the scheme with a photo-wall of eclectic frames filled with pictures of family and friends leading upstairs.
The owners met on a cruise ship and have worked their happy memories into the bedroom scheme. Choosing vintage ships as inspiration, a soft blue sailing map spans the walls, while a stylish set of framed shell prints is mounted over the bed. Coastal-themed striped linen makes the bed the focus. Old trunks and cases found in junk shops have been used as quirky bedside tables.
The attention to detail is evident in the couple’s bedroom, which has a distinctive nautical charm. A vintage cruise liner print is positioned perfectly over the period fireplace, which is artistically filled with beach pebbles in various tones of grey. A reclaimed bamboo wardrobe adds a little touch of the Caribbean.
Exotic birds are the national symbol of Trinidad and Tobago, so they are a big influence in the home. The striking yellow wallpaper in the bathroom is the owner’s favourite and it totally brightens the room. Teamed with a white suite and woodwork, the finished look is super refreshing. A darkwood vanity unit with turquoise handles stands out against the yellow wall completing the island vibe. ‘I’m so pleased with how our home looks – our Caribbean and French influences have given it a real fun and individual style.’