The owner of this London home drew on her Dutch roots to decorate with colour pops and painted wood floors
‘My husband and I met in Amsterdam, where I owned a flat, and he persuaded me to move to London,’ says the owner of this London home. He owned this property, but had it rented out while he lived in a flat nearby.’
‘The house wasn’t in great condition and there were lots of Eighties touches, like orange walls, an enormous turquoise enamelled bath, which was far too big for the room, and lots of glass block partitions.’
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‘Despite the house’s dated look, we decided to move in and had some friends living with us at first’, the owner says. ‘It was a bit of a party house for a while, which was great fun initially, but when I got pregnant with my first child, it was time to create a family home.’
This four-bed, three- storey, terraced Twenties house in southwest London had been rented out and had had very little done to it, so it was in a bit of a state.
The couple extended the kitchen into the side return, and also up converted the loft. With the basic structural work complete, it was then a question of tackling the house room by room, which they’ve done over several years.
‘I was excited to bring in some of my native Dutch touches,’ says the owner. ‘I can’t bear things matching and we like to use plenty of colour – blues, greens, reds and oranges are popular in Holland, along with exposed brickwork, terracotta tiles and acres of painted wood. Simple design is valued along with comfort.’
‘I’m not one for lots of pattern and I don’t like wishy-washy tones,’ says the owner. ‘So the living room is painted in a very definite blue, and there’s a feature wall in a similar hue behind our bed.’
She wanted the family to be able to relax and not worry too much about the furniture or spilling things. ‘Wood floors are great for that, as you can clear up any mess in seconds,’ she says. ‘I deliberately chose dark furniture and wood pieces, too, because I want people to be comfortable when they come to visit, and not be concerned that they might ruin something.’
As the couple already had a table in the kitchen, the owner wanted to create informal seating at one end of the living room. She chose a wooden table and benches, which are a staple in Amsterdam.
‘The area also doubles up as an office for me, which is great as I run JJ’s Wigwam, an online business selling childrenswear and accessories, from it,’ she says. The owner also added shelves along the walls at both ends of the living area as well as in the dining area, and some boxes to tidy away all her work things away in seconds.’ There’s plenty of space for the kids to do their homework and we can quickly clear everything away,’ she adds.
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The owner wanted to recreate her parents’ kitchen, with some brickwork, wood floors and floorstanding units only, plus open shelving for crockery and pans. So the couple opened up the chimney breast and put the cooker there.
They couldn’t find a kitchen they liked, so they got a carpenter to make one for them. ‘The cost was relatively reasonable and we could have exactly what we wanted,’ says the owner. ‘It took ages to find the right blue for the units. We started with one that was a bit too dark, but eventually found a warmer tone.’
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‘Metal beds are very Dutch, so we chose them for three of the bedrooms, and a wooden one for the fourth,’ the owner says. They also decided to paint the wood floors and add rugs. ‘I really like the look of metal against painted wood, which makes it easier to provide a contrast of different textures with soft bedding and blankets.’
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‘Simple style is my thing and I like to mix in old pieces found in junk shops with contemporary buys,’ the owner says. ‘We’ve slowly added bits of artwork and the odd cushion as we’ve found them. Now everything is just the way we want it.’