I can confirm this is our home. We do live in London and we own the property.
Where our house is and who lives here:
Our home is in South East London, our little part of the street is officially known as Lee, but walk a few steps one way and you’re in Hither Green, while a few steps another way takes you to Blackheath (SE12 8LR is our postcode). Col, my husband (a mad, keen cyclist), Ethan (our six year old son who pretty much uses the whole space as his personal stunt zone), Lily (me, who is neither a mad, keen cyclist or a stunt apprentice but does love interiors) and Ned (our black Labrador who has a penchant for solo train travel — we’ve had to do mad dashes to Victoria Station (platform 2) and part way to Dartford to collect Ned who takes off from his walk and hops a train…seriously!)
What we did to the space:
Our house was a typical Victorian cottage with a side-return off the kitchen. We knocked through from the kitchen and dining room to open the space right up so we could use it as a cooking, eating, relaxing and entertaining area. Really, we wanted a space we could all hang out in as a family or with friends with little nooks, like the window seat and hanging chair, to curl up in and has a sense of fun.
What was also important was letting in as much natural light as possible. We dug down to give the ceilings some more height (handy, as Col is tall) and then put in floor to ceiling sliding doors leading on to the deck outside, a big skylight in the ceiling, as well as a large picture window which opens right up so we have ended up with an indoor/outdoor window seat.
We designed the kitchen cabinets with a local carpenter who beautifully interpreted all my pictures, sketches (appalling) and any bright ideas I got at around 3am into handmade oak sliding drawers running the length of the wall and the purpose-built island.
Our neighbours had put in a reclaimed brick fence on our side which provided the inspiration for the space’s brick wall — using genius reclaimed brick slips. From all kinds of places we unearthed shelves, brackets and leather straps for the kitchen cabinets, while one of the builders twisted some copper piping to make our sink taps. Weirdly, it was the couple of steps leading down from the dining room and hall way into the kitchen space which gave us the most headaches. We couldn’t match the original floorboards and we didn’t want it to look all match-matchy, so in the end we opted for green and white patterned tiles and turned them into a feature.
The kitchen space took about four months.
Who helped with the project:
We were lucky enough to have a commercial architect friend recommend his architect mate who turned out to be Patrick Owens Architecture. Pat was fantastic in figuring out genius ways to incorporate our ideas and how we wanted to live in the space.
Local builders, Sky Roofs & Build Ltd did a wonderful job.
John Duffy, a local cabinet maker did a beautiful job handmaking the kitchen cabinets.
Has to be the window seat with the picture window which opens right out. Being Australian (I have lived in London for 12 years), I just wanted to replicate the indoor/outdoor living (the builders kept reminding me ‘You’re not in Sydney now, Lily’). We’ve put an outdoor window seat on the other side so when the window is opened right up, you can be inside and outside at the same time. Our son loves this spot too and we both cram ourselves into the space to read or watch the clouds. I have included some pics of my son in the seat — taken this morning and I’ve just realised he is wearing a Bondi Beach T-shirt…this was not intentional!