mod­ern cool

Camilo Tor­res and Dean Brad­ford have in­fused their home with bags of per­son­al­ity, thanks to their pas­sion for mid-cen­tury style and colour­ful finds


Mid-cen­tury styling has brought an Es­sex semi-de­tached up to date

Hav­ing spent years sav­ing for their first prop­erty, Camilo Tor­res and hus­band Dean Brad­ford were fi­nally re­warded when they un­earthed a mod­est and unloved semi close to where they lived in Es­sex. ‘We knew our first prop­erty would be a project,’ says Camilo. ‘Its shabby con­di­tion might have put off some peo­ple, but we were sure we could re­vi­talise it.’

Camilo, an in­te­rior ar­chi­tect, and Dean, a land­scape de­signer, ini­tially tack­led the first floor so they could live on-site while more ex­ten­sive work was car­ried out down­stairs. Their main chal­lenge was to op­ti­mise the lay­out, en­hanc­ing the flow be­tween the liv­ing spa­ces. ‘Dean and I de­cided to re­move vir­tu­ally ev­ery wall and start again,’ ex­plains Camilo. This cre­ated a more spa­cious hall and enough room for a ground-floor cloak­room.

‘To bring as much light as pos­si­ble into the house, we re­placed the old kitchen win­dow with full-length doors lead­ing out to the gar­den, and painted most of the walls white,’ says Camilo. Once the struc­tural work had been com­pleted, his eye for style came to the fore. ‘I love Scan­di­na­vian de­sign, such as clas­sic lighting and mid-cen­tury fur­ni­ture,’ he says, ‘ but

thanks to my Colom­bian her­itage, I like to add a dash of warmth and colour into the mix, too.’

For ex­am­ple, solid-wood floor­ing ap­pears through­out the house, with un­der­floor heat­ing en­sur­ing it is ex­tra cosy. The kitchen also fea­tures rich tim­ber ac­cents in the cab­i­nets, work­tops and a 1950s-style din­ing ta­ble. ‘ We teamed af­ford­able units with more lux­u­ri­ous touches, such as oak and stone,’ says Camilo.

A bold graphic wall­pa­per in the sit­ting room is re­peated up­stairs in the mas­ter bed­room. ‘The key was to cre­ate a sense of con­ti­nu­ity through­out,’ ex­plains Camilo. Cir­cu­lar mir­rors placed in clus­ters of three add a chic note to the guest bed­room, while wooden birds – a pop­u­lar dec­o­ra­tive mo­tif in Colom­bia – and plenty of fo­liage help to com­plete the look.

The re­sult is a com­fort­able and con­tem­po­rary home that chimes per­fectly with the cou­ple’s life­style. ‘This is a great place to re­lax and un­wind but, more than any­thing, we love to en­ter­tain here,’ says Camilo. ‘Top of the list are Dean’s par­ents, who sup­ported us and helped us to get on the prop­erty lad­der – our door is for­ever open to them. It feels so good to fi­nally have a place of our own.’

FU­TURE PLANS ‘We want to add a con­ser­va­tory to im­prove the flow and con­nec­tion be­tween in­side and out’

HALL rich wood ac­cents make for a warm wel­come. kallax shelv­ing unit, £30; Blad­dra boxes, £7 each; all ikea

sit­ting room grey-painted brickwork and a trio of clocks make an eye-catch­ing fea­ture wall. Clocks from £60 each, Leff am­s­ter­dam. CH07 Shell lounge chair, £1,926, Twen­tytwen­ty­one. Kaiser Idell pen­dant light by Fritz Hansen, £269, Heal’s

GUEST BED­ROOM Vi­brant ac­ces­sories bring this sim­ple Scandi de­sign to life. for a wardrobe like this, take a look at ikea’s PAX range, from £128. city cows sells a good se­lec­tion of cowhide rugs, from around £200

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