Step inside this five-storey Victorian family home

There are times when life gets complicated

There are times when life gets complicated. And most of us would agree that the arrival of twins might not be the best moment to embark on a top-to-toe redesign of your home. But the owners of this property, who already had two children under five, aren't the type to get fazed by such matters. 'Hmmm, there was a bit of dust,' they say, 'but it was fine, really.' 

The couple originally bought this striking terrace in north-west London to give them more space after deciding to try for another child. Structurally, the building was pretty sorted - an interior designer had lived there for 15 years and taken on the major changes. But the decor looked a little worn and the pair wanted to put their own stamp on things.

They had been living in the property for 18 months and hardly done a thing so, even though the twins were just six months old, they decided to go for it. 'At first, we were going to take on the refurb ourselves,' they say, 'but then we realised the house was just too big and we were too busy, so we spent a fair bit of time looking through magazines, deciding what we liked. Then we came across an interior designer's work in Livingetc and we knew we'd found the right person.'

1/10 Entrance hall

entrance hall with wallpaper on wall and designer

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

The designer asked them lots of questions about what they liked and how they live, prepared moodboards and spent time sourcing one-offs - even designing key pieces, such as the marble-topped table in the couple's dining room. 'She made us think laterally. Even though we knew what we liked and she took that on board, she encouraged us to consider things we'd never have thought about, such as the 20th-century pendant in the living room. Because of the period of the house, we probably would have gone for the more obvious choice of a chandelier. Our designer has made this house look so individual and we love that.'

Jaime Ibarra

2/10 Living room storage

living room storage with cabinet and stuffed owl

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

The living area is far from conventional. For starters, there's a lot in it. This cabinet features a stuffed owl and collection of vintage soda siphons while, throughout the space, trinkets are scattered on various surfaces between the pick 'n' mix of contemporary and aged furniture, and it all somehow just works. Even the art choices are out-there. Antique Victorian portraits sit opposite vintage surveyors' tools and ethnic art in the dining room, while a specially commissioned painting by artist David Caines dominates the living area. An eclectic mix of accessories means there's something eye-catching at every turn.

Gentry sofa
Pasmore armchair
Minotti London

3/10 Living room mantelpiece

living room with mirror and show pieces

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

The lower-ground level is where everyone hangs out as a family to play, cook and eat, while the living room is somewhere the owners relax after the children have gone to bed. 'The room has the best combination of calmness and quirkiness, everything in it makes me happy. I love the fact that this room is so unique. It's got our stamp on it - all the things that are special to us.' 

Wall mirror
Graham and Green
White vase

4/10 Breakfast area

breakfast area with white wall and flower on glass jar

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

A white wall works as a backdrop that showcases a range of eye-catching furniture and accessories. 'Our interior designer used pieces that we already had and completely rethought them.'

Circus pendant
The Conran Shop
Eames DSW side chairs

5/10 Kitchen/breakfast room

breakfast room with kitchen and white wall with wooden dining table and bench

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

The kitchen sits at one end of the open-plan family area and serves as the gathering spot for everyone. 'We spend a lot of time here with the children. It's definitely the hub of the house.' Even though the kitchen is a practical area, the owners wanted it to look stylish and the colours, art and furnishings all contribute.

Kitchen units
Scandinavian Designer Center

6/10 Dining room

dining room with white wall and table with chairs

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

A large window maximises natural light and brightens up the space. The owners love collecting interesting one-off items, which make a great talking point in a dining room. 'I love the colours in this room. It's such a peaceful space.' 

Dining table
Slices London
Similar dining chairs
The Cherner Chair Company

7/10 Dining room corner

dining room with corner and frames on wall

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

The dining room combines old and new with vintage portraits introducing a sense of grandeur to the room. They stand out nicely against the crisp white walls and counterpoint sleek and modern furniture.

Glass vase
John Lewis
Black glass table
John Lewis

8/10 Children’s bedroom

childrens bedroom with blackboard paint wall and shelf on wall

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

The children's bedroom wall features blackboard paint, which is ideal for the owners' creative kids. Rustic wooden food boxes are a great idea for quirky shelves. Brightly coloured accessories, such as the yellow chair and blanket, prevent the blackboard from being too dark and overpowering.

Rocking chair
Fusion Living
The Conran Shop

9/10 Main bedroom

main bedroom with pillows on bed and cosy blanket

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

In the main bedroom a neutral backdrop allows highlights of bold colour to really pack a punch. Although there's a soft side to the decorating style, it often has a twist, such as the unorthodox artwork. 'This is my favourite room,' says one of the owners. 'I love the aspect, the light, the high ceilings...'

Bespoke bed
Slices London
MOD wall light
Paolo Rizzatto for Arteluce
Angeles Agrela

10/10 Cloakroom

cloakroom with funky wallpaper on wall and wash basin

(Image credit: future PLC/Jaime Ibarra)

One of the smallest rooms in the house gets a major makeover courtesy of some funky wallpaper and boldly painted woodwork. 'Before the redesign, it just wasn't home. Now it feels like it belongs to us, it's ours. Our home.'

Tiles and basin
Fired Earth
Farrow & Ball

Heather Young

Heather Young has been Ideal Home’s Editor since late 2020, and Editor-In-Chief since 2023. She is an interiors journalist and editor who’s been working for some of the UK’s leading interiors magazines for over 20 years, both in-house and as a freelancer.