John Street, London townhouse
The design brief was to give some youth, energy and a slightly more contemporary feel to a beautiful and well proportioned, but rather serious house. As colour is always my starting point, I knew a very effective way of changing the feel of the house was to use some unexpected and fun colours. I love to have a unifying colour either subtly or boldly iterated through a house or project. And blues are one of my favourites! It creates a visual link through the property that people often unconsciously respond to. It makes the home hang together.
Arriving at the front door of the flat fronted, brick façade, you have a pre-conception of what will be inside. So I wanted to play with people’s expectations and subvert them totally. You enter into quite a grand and classic space, which is made rich and strange by the high impact geometric wallpaper on the left wall in jewel tones. There is also a fuschia-pink lacquered cabinet ahead of you. These items in particular create the mood, and inform the viewer that this will not be a regular London townhouse.
In the drawing room, which only receives natural light for around an hour a day in the afternoon, I decided to make it sunnier with the use of yellow, and combined it with turquoise, one of my favourite colours. I also decided to use some graphic and geometric patterns for additional impact and to give the room a more 21st century feel. And then I brought in various textures and hard surfaces to give the room additional lift; such as velvet, wool, lacquer, brass and marble. I am a geek for architectural history and this house has historical detail in abundance, so it is lovely to play these games of combining our own time with the craftsmanship and detail of the past.
On the lower ground floor the open plan kitchen dining and living areas are located. A spiral staircase links these spaces to the garden.
The aqua blue lacquered shelves either side of the chimney bridge dining table house some of my collectables which I buy on my travels.
The garden is accessible from the lower ground floor and ground floor drawing room and features artificial grass as the sun doesn’t quite reach all corners of the garden which are shaded by nearby buildings and large protected trees, so the grass was a fun as well as practical solution. The colourful plastic contemporary garden chairs and tables are also fun, as well as practical and can be left outside all year round.
Blues are the most calming of colours so it is a great choice for a bedroom where you want people’s state to be relaxed. The only thing to guard against is making the room too cold, as blues are cool tones, so warm counterparts should be used. In this first floor master bedroom, as the room is an unusually large for central London (27ft x 17ft), I added oversized white ceramic lamps with large-scale yellow lampshades. These tie in with the vibrant yellow in the fireplace painting. Yellow and blue are a wonderful colour mix, reminiscent of sky and sun. Yellow warms the blue and provides a little burst of energy. It is an infectiously happy colour. People often think that space needs to be filled, but negative space (if you have enough square footage for it!) can be very luxurious. This blue and cream rug by Martin Lawrence Bullard is so beautiful I just wanted to allow it the floor space to be one of the main focal point of the room. Not covering the rug in furniture also makes the sitting area of this bedroom feel expansive and spacious. The original ceiling is Listed and protected and therefore can be touched or altered in any way.
One of the things to remember is that just because a bathroom is functional it does not mean it has to be devoid of character. Here a shabby chic Georgian chair gives this room an instant sense of comfort. But if you do not have any room for furniture, try a vase of flowers, some candles and a couple of pictures. Good lighting is crucial too, so always make sure you have well-lit mirrors, preferably lit from left and right, and sufficient ceiling lighting. I also always like to include fabric or a wallpaper as it warms the whole room up and gives texture. There are some great water resistant examples of each now available. Or use an outdoor rug as an oversized bath mat. Outdoor rugs can be brilliantly affordable and often come in some great geometric designs. These ideas can all transform your bathroom into something with real warmth and personality. This is key given we often spend the first 20 minutes of every day in our bathroom so it is really important that you enjoy being in there and that it lifts your spirits to set you off on your day happy.
Two further guest bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms are located on the second floor each designed in an individual style with pops of colour.
Further bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms are located on the 3rd floor with a roof terrace with a table and chairs affording 360 degree views all over London on the top floor.
Amidst all the colour, I iterated blues throughout the house as my constant. It creates a visual link from room to room that people subconsciously respond to. It makes the home hang together.
The end result of this property was just what I wanted. A rather patrician façade concealing an unexpected bright jewel.
Ask Rebekah Caudwell Design your question
Ask Rebekah Caudwell Design your question