Tag Archives | living room

Project story – Colourful family home in New Malden

Sitting room in New Malden

Sitting room in New Malden

This beautiful period house in New Malden required complete refurbishment when it was bought by my clients, a young family.  They also elected to extend into the garden, which allowed for a large kitchen / diner / family room at the back of the house.

The brief was to create a colourful family home, which had to be practical as well as stylish.

The client has a keen eye for style and sourced some great finds, many from eBay.  In addition, much of the furniture was coming from their previous home.  My job was to provide guidance on colours, walls, floors, layout and window treatments, and pulling it all together.

Thank you to Anna Stathaki for the great photography.

The entrance hall is calm, but the patterned tiles on the floor add interest, with the colours echoed in the stair runner with its dark border.

Calm entrance hall with patterned tiles and stair runner with border

The formal sitting room at the front of the house (also see main picture in this post) is also calm and collected, with splashes of blue and green to bring out the colours in the vintage rug, passed down from parents.

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Moving through to the back of the house, the bright extension offers plenty of space for family life.

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The family room retains the original fireplace, adding in contemporary furniture in clean lines to contrast.

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Upstairs now, the master bedroom is a restful space, despite the pops of colour.

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The guest bedroom on the top floor.

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Check out my portfolio and my Houzz profile for additional images, including the children’s bedrooms.

All in all, this home is a great example of how to create a colourful family home, against a backdrop of pale neutrals.  If the family ever get bored of the colour, they could just change or recover the furniture to something more neutral and it would look completely different.  No need to redecorate.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into the story behind a project in my portfolio.  Do get in touch if you’d like me to help you too.

Photography credits throughout: Anna Stathaki

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Living room ideas – how to plan a room you’ll love

This post is part of a series of tips on interior design and working with an interior designer.  Today: living room ideas.

One of the key spaces in anyone’s home, the living room – or living area in an open plan space – often has to work hard, particularly in a small house or a flat. It may have to give you space to relax, chat with your friends and family, read, watch films and TV, it may be where your kids play, where you do your yoga, where you use your computer. So how can one space accommodate all these and still make you happy when you walk in?

The key is in good planning, and the beginning of this series walks you through how to plan a space in detail – see Getting Started, Colours and Inspiration, Layout and Sourcing. So, work through those posts with your living room in mind and then come back here to see some more ideas about living rooms and how to make them work for you.

Shape

In a long skinny room, consider using a darker colour on the end walls to draw them in. This works even if the colour is only slightly darker than the other walls; it doesn’t have to be high contrast. It could also be your curtains or blinds, if that’s where your window is, or wallpaper. Also, you could put a long mirror on one or both of the side walls to widen the space – this will work particularly well opposite a window.

Love the colours used in this room in House & Garden June 2013

Love the colours used in this room in House & Garden June 2013

Placement

Try not to push everything against the walls, even in a small room. It will just draw your eye to the boundary and you’ll immediately see how small the space is.

Create different zones for the different activities you want to carry out in the room, and think through how each activity will work in the space, that you have a side table for your drink, a plug for your laptop, that kind of thing.

Think about creating more than one obvious seating space. Even in a small room, could you have a corner sofa and then a couple of small chairs and a side table near the window, perhaps?

In an open plan space, consider zoning with a large rug.

The bookcase behind the sofa adds depth, texture and interest

The bookcase behind the sofa adds depth, texture and interest.   Architectural Digest, Spain.

Storage

You’ll either want everything hidden, everything on display or somewhere between the two. If your living room is also where your kids play, I expect you’ll want hidden toy storage. But you might want your books on show.

Make sure the things you need are right next to where you’ll be for each activity, that there’s somewhere to store your DVDs near the TV, somewhere to store your yoga mat where you’ll practice, your laptop etc.

Lighting

Think layers. Along with everyone else, I’m sure you have a pendant or spotlights in the ceiling. But as well as being a harsh light to relax in, it’s also not very flattering.

Add table lamps, floor lamps, wall lights, so that you can have pools of light rather than one flat light source. It’s the play of light and shadow that makes the room interesting, relaxing and flattering all at the same time.

If you are wiring from scratch, consider directional spotlights rather than downlights, so that you can aim them at walls, art, anywhere but straight down onto the floor.

Television

Think about the TV rather than pretending it’s not there and planning around it. Do you want to hide it away? Camouflage it in full sight by putting it in front of a dark wall or positioning it amongst art? If you don’t want it to be the focal point, then think what you do want and work around that. A fireplace, a piece of art?

Was this useful?  Let me know in the comments!

If you have any questions you’d like me to answer in this series, leave a comment or send a message via the website – I’d be delighted to help!

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Project story – Riverside Apartment

This riverside apartment was a 1990s build which had not been decorated since the developers left. The client uses it during the week, spending the weekends with his family. He was happy with the layout, kitchen and bathrooms, and he also wanted to keep much of his existing furniture, for the time being. So, the brief was to warm it up a little, improve the lighting, improve the acoustics, and source some higher quality window treatments, some furniture and new flooring.

The client has a clean and unfussy style, and ruled out wallpaper, carpet, new rugs and pattern. How to warm up a space without these?

We went for neutrals with a warm undertone, and plain accent colours. Also, the fabrics that we used for the curtains and upholstered headboard were on the heavy, textured side, for maximum warmth and sound absorption.

Here’s the before and after for you.

Master bedroom

Master bedroom - before

Master bedroom – before

Master bedroom - after

Master bedroom – after

The master bedroom was warmed up using an off-white paint with a warm, almost pink, undertone (used throughout), and deep purple velvet curtains and silk lampshades.  The blackout-lined curtains with simple pelmet give complete darkness for sleeping and significantly improve the acoustics, as does the upholstered headboard.  The bedside tables and a bespoke tallboy are in greyed oak, and the new floor is simple oak with a matt varnish (used throughout).

Second bedroom

The second bedroom is used occasionally.  We chose a deep red for the accent colour here, with the same paint and flooring as the master bedroom.  The bed from the master bedroom is being reused here for the time being.  Similar curtains, heavy velvet with a simple pelmet, again provide blackout and absorb sound.

Second bedroom - before

Second bedroom – before

Second bedroom - after

Second bedroom – after

Surprisingly, the original developer had left this awkward alcove rather than providing a fitted wardrobe. We filled the space with a triple wardrobe with plenty of shelves and hanging room, finished in the same paint colour as the walls, to help it disappear.

Wardrobe alcove - before

Wardrobe alcove – before

Wardrobe alcove - after

Wardrobe alcove – after

 

Living / dining area

This was painted and the floor replaced.  The old pelmets and vertical blinds were removed. The new curtains are made from a textured cream heavyweight fabric, with pinch pleat headings on an invisible track mounted to the ceiling.

Living area - before

Living area – before

Living area - after

Living area – after

The wall lights in the dining area were updated.  The client’s existing furniture remains in this area for the time being.

Dining area - before

Dining area – before

Dining area - after

Dining area – after

What do you think about this updated riverside apartment? Do you want to know where I sourced any of the items? Let me know in the comments.

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Project story – Period House – Part 2

As we saw last week, this interior design project was a real blank canvas, and the clients enjoy pattern and colour, so let’s take a look where we ended up.

Master bedroom

Master bedroom - before

Master bedroom – before

 

Master bed - after

Master bedroom – after

 

 

 

 

 

 

The starting point for the master bedroom was the Coco bed from Loaf, an excellent value quality bed.  The clients have spent some time in Paris, and developed a love for the curvaceous lines of simple French furniture.

We then searched for a wallpaper to complement the greyed oak and calico linen of the bed, and eventually decided on the beautiful Tamaki wallpaper from Romo in French Grey.  This elegant pattern has a muted palette of grey, silver and gold, and we papered two walls.

Fitted wardrobes in white provide a huge amount of hidden storage, neatly placed in line with the bay so as to make the most of the space without intruding into the room.  Fitted wardrobes on a shared wall also insulate against noise from neighbours.

Whilst I tend to prefer curtains or Roman blinds in a bedroom, to absorb sound and better block out light, the clients wanted shutters for their clean lines and to give them privacy from the street without needing sheers.  They also like to wake up with the light in the morning.  The shutters were chosen to match the weathered oak of the bed, rather than the more frequently chosen white, to be a feature in their own right and further warm up the room, complementing the wallpaper on the opposite wall.

The picture rail, height carefully chosen so as to link the windows with the wardrobes, finishes the wallpaper walls neatly as the original mouldings were long gone.

Kitchen / diner

Unusually perhaps, when there is a rear extension across the full width of a period property, it was decided that the kitchen would be in the middle reception room.  This was because the bay window at the front faces south, and thus there would be more light in the front of the property.  With a young family, the clients expected to spend much of their time in the kitchen / diner, rather than the living room, and so of course they wanted to be in the bright part of the house.

Middle reception room before - to become kitchen with doorway through to living room extension beyond

Middle reception room before – to become kitchen with doorway through to living room extension beyond

Kitchen - after, looking through the doorway into the new living room extension

Kitchen – after, looking through the doorway into the new living room extension

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dining / play area is in the front with the bay window, and the kitchen, with island unit, in the middle.  We opened up the kitchen to the new extension through the existing window space, creating wide steps down to the new room and the garden beyond.

Living room extension

This was a challenging room and it’s still not finished.  Several steps down from the rest of the house, with a lower ceiling, facing north, I thought we needed to go for cosy rather than light and bright.  Bookcases around the doorway house the clients’ large selection of books, giving colour and texture and absorbing some sound.  The shelves wrap around to the stairs up to the kitchen.  I originally wanted the shelving to actually be incorporated into the stairs but for budgetary reasons they ended up separate.  Low level lighting on the stairs is both a feature and good for safety.

Eventually, the other walls in the living room will be papered with handprinted wallpaper from Wallpaper with a Story in green, furniture and window treatments will be added to warm the room even more, but for now, this is how things are looking:

Living room extension, looking upstairs towards kitchen diner

Living room extension, looking upstairs towards kitchen diner

Bumblebee inspired Wallpaper with a Story in green

Bumblebee-inspired Wallpaper with a Story in green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrance hall

Light and bright, grounded with a dark recycled encaustic tile patterned floor, the new entrance hall is worlds apart from the sorry sight that originally greeted my clients!

Entrance hall - before

Entrance hall – before

Entrance hall - after

Entrance hall – after

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think?  Do you like the transformation?  Do you want to know where I sourced any of the items?  Let me know in the comments.

 

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Project story – Period House – Part 1

This interior design project was a fantastic experience.  My clients, a couple with two young children, had purchased a terraced period house which had had all its period features removed when it was decorated in the 1970s.  As far as we could tell, it hadn’t been updated since, so it was a real blank canvas!

The brief was to extend the living space on the lower ground floor and provide 4 bedrooms and two bathrooms upstairs.  My clients loved pattern and colour so it was exciting to help them realise their dream.

The architects designed the new expanded living space, which I was able to tweak a little to help the clients get the interior flow they wanted.

Here are some pics when the strip out had just begun, so you get an idea of what we were dealing with!

Middle reception room before - to become kitchen with doorway through to living room extension beyond

Middle reception room before – to become kitchen with doorway through to living room extension beyond

Entrance hall

Entrance hall

Master bedroom - before

Master bedroom

 

Come back next week to see the end result!

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