Having lived in this top-floor south London flat for five years, the owner decided the time was right to change up a gear and tackle a renovation. ‘I wanted my own space and liked the idea of buying something that required work; both to save money and to make it the way I wanted. I just didn’t expect it to take five years to start the project,’ he says.
Familiar with interior designer Bhavin Taylor’s style through the office renovation of the company he worked for, the owner was confident their tastes would align. ‘I wanted someone who could turn my unstructured thoughts into a coherent vision and design. I have strong opinions about what I like, but don’t have the design ability or time to create them myself,’ he adds.
‘When I first saw the property, my initial reaction was that it was tired and missing the love and attention it deserved,’ recalls designer Bhavin. ‘The floors were uneven, there were damp patches in the ceiling and the kitchen was falling apart.’ Knowing that a significant proportion of the budget was set aside for building work, Bhavin planned a cost-effective interior scheme that would make a strong impact.
‘I wanted to create a strong colour block theme throughout, with all the skirting boards and doors painted in the same colour as the walls,’ explains designer Bhavin. ‘The client also requested a clean, minimal-maintenance property, but with a lived-in feel and some industrial elements. I had to restrict my use of wallpaper ideas, which as a designer who loves wallpaper came as quite a sacrifice,’ Bhavin concedes.
The vigorous use of solid block colour throughout the flat echoes Bhavin’s identity as a designer. ‘As a British born Indian, a lot of my inspiration comes from my Indian heritage, growing up living and breathing lots of festivals and weddings that are so colourful and full of pattern.’
‘Here we don’t live in the sunniest country in the world but if your personal surroundings are full of life and colour, then you can feel happy all year round.’
Light Roman blinds concealing blackout roller blinds are an elegant and practical window treatment idea. Built-in furniture painted in the same block tones creates a sleek, cohesive look.
With some existing furnishings to work around, including the dining room table, sofa and armchair, Bhavin took his cues from these. As the furniture was quite big and he wanted to make the room feel spacious, it took a while to figure out the right layout.
Keeping the kitchen and main living space separate was a must-have, as knocking through would have caused a problem for furniture placement.
Muted colours create a subtle scheme in this half of the room. The map artworks of Paris and London add textural interest.
The brief was to create a clean, functional kitchen utilising space for storage and including a breakfast bar which offers a more informal alternative for eating than the dining room table.
‘To me the most successful elements of the project are the very practical touches that really enhance the living experience’ says Bhavin. ‘From the blackout blinds and the placement of the sockets to kitchen storage ideas that is actually fit for purpose. They’re all small details that add so much to my day to day life.’
A resilient sisal carpet is suited to this high traffic area where a wall of animal print brings a subtle hint of glamour.
The colour block theme is evident throughout the flat, with skirting boards, doors and cabinetry painted in the same dark tones as the walls. ‘This is my favourite room,’ says the owner. ‘It has a strong impact but also a restful vibe. It ticks a lot of boxes.’
The dark blue bedroom scheme creates a cocoon-like feel, while the mint throw and fun trophy heads lifts the scheme. Wall lights are hung from a peg to add a practical but quirky touch.
Fitted wardrobes are painted the same dusky blue as the walls, which gives the bedroom a dark immersive feel. Contrast yellow handles add contrast.
Dusky pink gives the guest bedroom a soothing restful vibe, teamed with plush soft furnishings and layered bedlinen.
Neat cabinetry frames the bed with its upholstered headboard that brings hotel-like luxury.
Black accents on taps, shower fittings and the vanity unit give this practical scheme a chic contemporary twist. A back-lit mirror provides useful extra lighting and its steam-proof design means that glass won’t fog up.
Feature by Juliet Benning