‘A lot of dancing takes place in this house,’ says one of the owners of this stunning Victorian villa. But how could it not, when the family has two performance-ready stages? ‘There’s one in the living room and one in the garden. Plus, we have the ability to turn the ceiling lights into the nightclub mode at the flick of a switch!’
Along with the structural changes, they were delighted with the design tweaks suggested by the designer to improve the way the house worked. These including moving the entrance of the bathroom to provide more privacy. Before, the door opened straight from the hallway on to the bed.
The bulk of the renovation spending went on practical elements because they wanted a home that was ‘solid, with no dribbly showers’. This meant saving money where they could on the interior decor. ‘When it comes to buying items for our home, I watch the pennies,’ says one of the owners, ‘whereas my husband is more extravagant, but between us, we get it done.’
Mirrored acrylic skirting on the ground floor and around the base of the couple’s bed sets a luxe tone that’s repeated throughout the house – in the golds and blacks of their artwork, the deep-pile carpets and rugs and the choice of jewel-rich furnishings in the living room.
Naturally, they are all delighted with their home, especially as it has fulfilled their number one priority of being welcoming and sociable. ‘For my fiftieth birthday, we covered the garden with a tent and had a band on the stage out there with a DJ in the living room and danced the night away,’ one of them recalls. ‘The sedum lawn took a bit of a pounding, but otherwise, after a quick wipe down, the rest of the house was fine. That’s what I love about it – nothing can really get wrecked here.’
The kitchen is sleek, modern and sophisticated. Mirrored skirting creates the impression of floating units and, along with the oversized floor tiles, increases the feeling of space. ‘I like the way the kitchen cupboards look so clean – no handles or pulls – and the way the extractor (hidden in the island) means we don’t need an ugly great cooker hood,’ says the owner.
The redesign stripped much of the house back to its bones, revealing golden brick walls and an undiscovered fireplace in the master suite. ‘I loved finding that because those things are the house’s character and it’s the one thing you just can’t buy.’ The strip of gold wall in the kitchen continues the running theme of gold in the house and looks particularly eye-catching against the sleek grey cupboards.
If the drummer isn’t practising on his gold-spangled kit in the living room, then his wife will be turning it up in the family space – no hidden sound system for her, the giant, free-standing Bose speakers area a feature. ‘The core of the house, it’s very raison d’etre, is to entertain and have parties,’ she says.
One of the owners, who previously lived in another part of the street, knew this house for many years as party central. ‘The man who lived there always said the rule was that if the lights are on, come in, and it was party time for four nights a week,’ she says. ‘It was always my dream house and when it came on the market 12 years ago, I knew we should come here.’
That instinct was to prove fortuitous when it came to updating the property, which was lovely, but stuck in a bit of a time warp, because it had two-metre-wide alley stretching along the outside wall. ‘It was grotty, shady and damp and had a miserable, rotting shed at the end of it. Our designer said that building over it would transform the house. I still don’t understand how such a small extension has given us so much more space, but it has.’
The extension also included a spacious dressing room in the master suite and a surprise dressing room in the attic. ‘I didn’t realise there was space for that, but we just popped in a half-width staircase going up from my dressing room and created space above for the other dressing room.’ Behind the mirrored sliding door in the main bedroom lie an en suite, with a roof garden beyond.
The owners didn’t have a vast amount to spend on fittings, so they were delighted to get this bath for £100 on eBay. The chair can be moved to access the private roof garden. The black framed mirror makes the perfect centrepiece between two black storage alcoves.