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