Looking at the eclectic and colourful decor, it's hard to believe that this terrace was once bland and uninspiring
When the owners bought a run-down Victorian house in need of a top-down transformation, they were unfazed by its tatty bed-sitting rooms, grim bathrooms and dingy basement-cum-living area. As renovation veterans, they had fallen for the large rooms and period features of this terrace in an up-and-coming area of east London, and could see how much potential it had.
Knowing that the house needed a huge amount of work, the couple and their three children rented a place nearby for a year, while the entire house was gutted and renovated. The work was a labour of love, and the owners are thrilled with the results. ‘Doing this house up has been amazing,’ they say. ‘If you’re confident, excited and inspired by your plans, you’ll always find the energy you need to finish a project.’
With the structural work finished, the couple turned their attention to the interior. One of the owners is a jewellery designer and her natural flair for creativity shines through. In the living room, the stained-glass windows, with their yellow and pink details, set the colour agenda for the living room. ‘It was important to us to work with original details, like the floor and windows in here,’ say the owners. ‘And we love colour, especially greens, greys and golds.’
The garden room has been given a lively injection of colour with peacock blue paint on the floor. ‘The new floorboards made the shelf unit, which was bright yellow, look terrible, though!’ say the owners. ‘We repainted it in dark grey, and then the room really worked.’
A wide oak staircase leads directly from the garden room into the newly converted basement, where there is a large kitchen-diner and this little seating area at the far end. Floor-to-ceiling glazing keeps the space super bright and the doors allow direct access to the garden. Bold colour accents in textural fabrics add a lively feel to the neutral decor.
The bay window was constructed as part of the refurbishment and keeps the modern space true to the character of the house. It also provides a great spot for a round dining table, complete with window seat. The island was built to match the couple’s old units, which they brought with them from their previous home. ‘Not everyone shared our confidence that the kitchen would really work, but we think it’s the stand-out room of the house,’ say the owners.
The owners have made a striking feature out of the extractor in their kitchen. Rather than hiding it away or trying to minimise it, it’s on show for everyone to see, giving the space a surprisingly industrial feel. Throwing in something unexpected is one of the owners’ signature styling tricks and it certainly works a treat here.
In the dining area, the owners have teamed contemporary Eiffel-style chairs with a vintage mahogany table, which was bought on eBay. ‘We like modern design,’ they say, ‘but we’ll mix it with something old, so it feels timeless rather than following a trend.’ In the fireplace is an innovative seating area, which gives this period feature a new purpose.
Whether it’s a hot-pink sofa, canary-yellow lamp or a sexy French-style carved bed, the owners have a hero piece of furniture in every room, which they highlight with colourful accessories. Exposed-brick walls and sloped ceilings mean there’s plenty of architectural interest in this room, too.
Many of us would baulk at using big, brash pattern in such a small space, but the owners’ en suite shower room looks hotel fabulous with its teal geo tiles and gold brassware. ‘We’re big fans of gold, copper and brass,’ they say. ‘These metals flatter and add a glow to everything. Wherever you decide to put them, they bring out the best in the room.’
Instead of painting all the bathroom walls, the owners stripped the plaster from one to gain texture. It also gave them vital space to squeeze in the roll-top bath! Its gorgeous blue colour creates a lovely focal point.
This house tour originally appeared in Ideal Home, May 2017.
Image credits: Colin Poole