Drawing on her love of wildlife and nature, the owner has turned her period townhouse into a restful city retreat
This west London townhouse teems with wildlife. Not the real variety, but the decorative. There are tapestries and wallpapers adorned with hummingbirds and butterflies flutter across blind fabrics. Lights take their cue from nature, too, in the guise of antlers or branches. On walls, tranquil landscape paintings add to the feeling that you have stumbled out of a major city and into a secret garden. ‘I wanted everything to feel fresh and restful,’ says the owner, ‘with my love of nature threaded throughout.’
The owner discovered the property, which is set in a quiet cul-de-sac, three years ago. ‘I’d just given up looking because I couldn’t find anything in my budget,’ she explains. The house immediately appealed, as she could see that with a few tweaks, it would offer plenty of space for herself and her two grown-up daughters, who live with her. Yet it was also compact enough to be easy to manage.
The project to update the house began cautiously. ‘At first, I only intended to raise the kitchen ceiling to bring in more light,’ says the owner, ‘but, as I hope to be here for a long time, it made sense to make other alterations.’ These included opening up the rear of the house and adding space to the back of the living room to incorporate a dining area. From there, glass doors lead into the kitchen, with its subtle glass extension, which in turn has a new opening through to the garden room.
A set of sliding glass doors link the garden room, originally a utility room, to the patio garden, which has been designed for a truly indoor-outdoor experience. Glazing in the ceiling lets the light flood in so that the owner can enjoy comfortable sofas and the sun’s rays even on cooler days.
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‘I’d planned to do the interiors myself until a friend recommended an interior designer,’ says the owner. ‘She gave me lots of great ideas and we worked together to create my own look.’ In the living room, vases of flowers and a selection of vibrant soft furnishings enliven the simple grey palette with hits of colour.
A beautiful tapestry makes a dramatic backdrop in the dining area. ‘I’m drawn to nature so I love to fill my home with bird prints, flowers and crystals,’ says the owner. ‘They give the house a great energy.’
This room was redesigned and extended to create a better connection between the living spaces and garden. Lime green bar stools add a colourful accent to the white space.
A living wall softens the look and feel of this cosy outdoor spot. Here, ferns, shrubs and perennials flourish, and a contemporary water feature adorns the back wall. ‘By day, the garden is the perfect suntrap,’ says the owner, ‘and at night, clever lighting hidden in the foliage transforms it into a really magical space.’
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A feature wall behind the bed ensures it is the focal point in this appealing scheme. With the neutral decor, there’s plenty of scope to add extra colour hits with pieces such as the bird cushions and geometric rug.
White walls allow for flamboyant accessorising that makes the bathroom feel more like a bedroom or living area.
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Now the property’s transformation is complete, it has clearly been a resounding success. ‘I’ve renovated homes before,’ says the owner. ‘Yet this is the first time I feel that it’s not just the objects in it, but the entire house that really expresses who I am.’
This article originally appeared in 25 Beautiful Homes, July 2017.
Image credits: Robert Sanderson