Houzz Tour: Texture and Colour Transform a Victorian Maisonette
The owners of this family flat wanted help to go beyond their decor comfort zone
Andrew designed a new kitchen and created lots of bespoke fitted storage to help the owners keep their newly renovated home tidy. Most prominently, he introduced a palette of gentle, earthy colours and soft textures to turn the flat into the warm and welcoming family home the owners wanted.
Who lives here? A family of four with a teen and pre-teen at the time of the project
Location West London
Property A Victorian terrace maisonette
Size Four bedrooms and two bathrooms
Designer Andrew Griffiths of A New Day Design Studio
Project year 2021
Andrew recalls the first meeting he had with the owners of this family flat. “They told me, ‘If we do it ourselves, everything will just be grey; that’s our comfortable default and we don’t want to do that,’” he says. “They were also both busy and overwhelmed and wanted someone to guide them to make more interesting decisions that they’d be excited about.”
Andrew was keen to keep the palette soft with a neutral backdrop to create a welcoming family home. The colours and varied textures in the flat were partly influenced by the owners’ African heritage.
“They wanted to subtly weave in some references – patterns, textures and colours – that reflected them and their history,” he says. “They didn’t want it to feel themed or like a pastiche, so it’s more of a gentle nod.”
It was a very collaborative process, Andrew explains, and together he and the owners settled on warm, earthy tones, varied textiles and materials, and lots of plants.
The family needed a place to stash bulky things, such as sports equipment, so Andrew created this generous, floor-to-ceiling cabinetry. “It’s very hard-working storage; it’s not just full of living room stuff, but designed to contain general life bits and pieces,” he says.
The open shelving higher up allows space for displaying treasured objects. Below this is an electric piano belonging to the older child. “She plays and it was important,” Andrew says, explaining that the joinery is designed around it.
The door and skirting boards are painted in the same colour as the cupboards.
Sofa, British Design Shop. Joinery painted in Down Pipe, Farrow & Ball. Cushion, A Rum Fellow. Side tables, La Redoute. Wall light, Maisons du Monde.
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The artwork and wall-mounted mask were picked up by the owners on a trip to Africa. “We wanted to build on these with the lovely textures of the raffia in the mirror and lampshade,” Andrew says.
The midcentury vintage sofa was also something the owners already owned; Andrew had it reupholstered in this inky blue velvet.
Walls painted in Shaded White, Farrow & Ball.
The sheer linen blinds are great for filtering the sun’s rays in this south-facing room. “Because the room is up high and looks down a road rather than being directly opposite someone, we felt they didn’t need heavy window dressings. These soften the light rather than blocking out the glazing,” Andrew says.
Side table, La Redoute.
There are three more bedrooms upstairs in the converted loft, along with another bathroom mainly used by the children, who sleep up there.
The balustrade and skirting boards are painted in the same deep grey as the joinery in the living room. “These provide a coherent thread of colour through the house,” Andrew says.
The flooring is the same engineered oak throughout; here, it’s in plank formation.
There’s restrained use of spotlights throughout the flat and, where they are used, they’re recessed to keep them subtle.
The worktop is Silestone.
Cabinets painted in De Nimes, Farrow & Ball.
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There are upper and lower doors, taking the cabinets up to the ceiling, with the harder-to-reach sections for storing items not in daily use.
The wall cabinetry also conceals an extractor fan over the gas hob.
Elsewhere, storage is mainly drawers, with two taller units by the oven (see previous image) and cupboards on the sink run.
Veneered oak Ercol dining table, eBay. Chairs, Ercol. Rug, A Rum Fellow.
It also adds extra seating for large dinners and makes this a really sociable space, which the family wanted. “The extending table seats eight comfortably, but you could probably squeeze in 10 to 12 with people bunched up on the bench,” he says.
The below-bench storage is accessed via doors; two sections are used as wine storage.
“The lights are lovely, handmade from clay,” Andrew says. “Again, it’s about natural textures and you can see the thumb prints in them. They’re absolutely beautiful.”
Handmade clay lamp shades, BaradaxCeramics.
Bed, Furl. Wall lights, &Tradition. Pendant light, Pooky. Walls painted in Desert Rose, Paint & Paper Library.
The raised pattern on the bedspread and the rough linen blind again add texture to soften the scheme.
“They then just wanted to have something a bit playful,” he says, “as it’s essentially the grown-up bathroom that also doubles as the guest toilet. It’s nice for it to have a bit of interest and feel a bit special, so we went for this lovely mint green cement basin with fluting.”
The unlacquered brass tap and shower fittings and the wooden-framed mirror, made to fit the space, soften the harder tiling. “The brass will age nicely and take on a patina over time,” Andrew says, adding, “The mirror has demister pads, as it’s such a small space.”
Basin, Kast. Brassware, Bespoke Taps.
Walls painted in Renaissance Blue, The Pickleson Paint Co.
The small space works hard, too: the sofa can transform into a bed and the side tables can become bedside tables, as the owners have family to stay quite often.
Andrew designed the built-in walnut desk (previous photo) and a storage area (out of shot).
Blind and footstool fabric, Eva Sonaike. Desk chair, John Lewis.
“He was going into his teen years and needed the room to grow with him,” Andrew says. “He really wanted green, which we included, but we kept it subtle, so it didn’t feel too childish or risk becoming something he’d hate once he hit 16 or 17.”
Walls painted in Wattle II, Paint & Paper Library.
“It’s very small, so it had to be well-planned,” Andrew says. “It’s quite simple, clean and fresh – but we wanted a bit of colour, too.”
Tiles, Mandarin Stone.
Woodwork painted in Setting Plaster; walls painted in Dimity, both Farrow & Ball.
What’s your favourite thing about this family home renovation? Let us know in the Comments.