Wilberforce Road, London N4
Our clients were moving to a newly refurbished ground floor flat in Finsbury Park and asked for our help to turn a neutral new development into a home for their growing family.
A common challenge in London – how to maximise living and dining space in an open plan area. This project started off with some key space planning brainstorming and we came up with the idea of a corner bench in order to maximise the number of people that could be seated around a circular table. Benches are great as they can have storage inside lift-up lids and in this case even provide a place for the cat’s litter tray with a cat flap at one end for easy access!
At the far end of the room there was space for a generous 3-seater sofa. However, being a lower ground flat, access for something of this scale was not possible, so in order to furnish the space as desired, we had a sofa made in four sections – back, seat and two arms – which were all assembled in-situ.
Another customised detail to note in this room is the curtains: as you may notice in the photograph, the track curves around on one side allowing the full width of the bi-fold doors to be seen when the curtains are fully open, hence not reducing the natural light coming in.
Our clients moved into this property early summer and it was already newly decorated in a selection of neutral paint shades, along with a pale wood floor and taupe coloured carpets. Kitchen units and worktop were in a deep grey tone, leaving a fairly blank canvas ideal for introducing some accents of colour and pattern. This room presented a great opportunity to combine patterns of various scales; a small geometric design on the curtains and a larger one on the rug with a variety of cushions in the mix too.
In terms of materials there is quite a combination too – marble table top, mid-century style wooden TV unit and clock, white rocking chair, walnut dining chairs, a black and white tiled side table top and despite the existing ironmongery being in a brushed chrome finish we crept a little copper and brass in through the floor lamp and picture frame to add warmth and variety.
Positioned in the lower ground floor of an imposing Victorian house, with a bay window to the front, this room had an unusual detail of a ledge running along the wall where the head of the bed would go.
To us this was an ideal wallpapering opportunity! I love how it doesn’t feel too busy around the bed/bedside tables area because the pattern is contained within the recessed area above headboard height.
This allowed us to be creative with the bedside tables (and lamps) – they don’t match! On one side we’ve got a white mid-century style drawer unit and on the other, a simple table with an iron base and tiled top.
Apart from the navy blue patterned wallpaper, stained oak headboard and the dark grey velvet chair, the rest of the furnishings are all quite neutral and restful in tone. We even painted an existing wooden chest in a distressed grey finish – à la Annie Sloan. A variety of textures and a few hints of a dusky coral colour in the cushions and the feather pendant light add contrast and warmth to the room.
Guest Bedroom / Study
This is a good example of a multi-functional room – a guest bedroom that doubles up as a study, for two people. Double bed and double desk, plus lots of file storage…. and a place to showcase a guitar collection.
It was another opportunity within this property to incorporate some bespoke furniture, something we love to do if the opportunity and need arises. (To see more details – have a look at our Bespoke Furniture Projects here.) In this case, the double desk was made to maximise the work space in the room, with a slot in between both workstations for an off-the-shelf drawer unit to slot in. Hand-making an integrated set of drawers within this desk would have made it much more costly to produce and we like to be budget conscious when designing such pieces. We were able to specify cable management holes for the computers, printer and desk lamps to keep everything neat and efficient. The desk is veneered in walnut, which adds a warmth and complements the black, white and grey colours within the room.
It’s always an honour to be asked to design a bedroom for a little person who has not even arrived into the world just yet. To share in that feeling of excitement and anticipation, and the positive feelings that result from feeling prepared (at least from an interior design point of view!) for the new baby.
Having two small children myself has also allowed me to put some of my design thinking to the test over the past few years. I enjoy putting the results into practice when helping first time parents plan out that special space in their home.
It’s easy to get carried away with all the amazing baby related products out there – everything from cute bedding, wall stickers and accessories, to kitting the room out with some teddys and toys.
However, there are some bigger decisions to be made first: Best position for the cot – so you can peak in without light from outside shining on baby’s face, practical storage and nappy changing area, and some good blackout curtains or blinds for the window – a must for those summer time early sunrises!
I also like to think about a room that can evolve with the child – so not too ‘babyish’ in terms of colours or themes. Wall stickers are a great way to update the decor – most will peel off the wall with no damage to the paintwork. Also, will the current furniture layout still work when the cot is replaced by a single bed? If any furniture is being built-in it is certainly worth considering the eventual layout of the room now so you don’t regret your layout decisions later on.
As with the rest of the flat, we wanted to make the entrance way as practical as possible for a family with a young baby, cat, dog and hamster! This meant replacing the fitted carpet with a black and white geometric floor tile which also adds visual interest to an otherwise neutral entrance. We also had several floating shelves fitted in an empty alcove.