HAPPY & BRIGHT A sea of bland mag­no­lia has been re­placed by pops of up­lift­ing colour in this Lon­don semi

Char­lotte King has used bold splashes of colour and dec­o­ra­tive touches to turn her bland ex-rental prop­erty into a cheer­ful fam­ily home burst­ing with char­ac­ter

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - FEA­TURE Jen­nifer gould­ing

Christ­mas was loom­ing and Char­lotte King, who was then preg­nant with her sec­ond child, was try­ing to find a larger house in Lon­don for her grow­ing fam­ily. Her last two at­tempted house pur­chases had fallen through and she was be­gin­ning to feel down­hearted about the whole af­fair.

Then Char­lotte went to view a tall, semi-de­tached Dutch gable house in west Lon­don and things started to look up. ‘As soon as I walked through the door, it had me,’ she says. This was de­spite the fact that it had pre­vi­ously been rented out, and looked some­what unloved. ‘There was a sea of bland mag­no­lia, but I fell in love with what the house could be­come for our fam­ily,’ she re­calls.

Although she was gen­er­ally happy with the prop­erty’s lay­out, the dark and gloomy lower-ground floor needed a re­think. Aided by fam­ily friend, in­te­rior de­signer An­nie Rice, Char­lotte cre­ated an open-plan kitchen with a sit­ting and din­ing area, plus a play­room and laun­dry room. She also ex­changed the dated con­ser­va­tory for an or­angery with bi­fold doors that open on to the re-land­scaped gar­den. ‘When I’m in the kitchen dur­ing the sum­mer, the view of the gar­den is like a won­der­ful flower paint­ing,’ says Char­lotte.

A year af­ter mov­ing in, the build­ing work was com­plete, but Char­lotte had not touched the rest of the prop­erty. ‘The re­cep­tion rooms were still full of pack­ing boxes, which was mad­den­ing as they’re the most beau­ti­ful rooms in the house,’ she says. With files of pic­tures torn out of mag­a­zines, Char­lotte was not short of ideas, but the prob­lem was know­ing where to be­gin. The an­swer came from an­other friend, Hen­ri­ette von Stock­hausen of VSP In­te­ri­ors.

To­tally un­fazed by Char­lotte’s pro­fu­sion of ma­te­rial, Hen­ri­ette set about cre­at­ing a co­he­sive dec­o­rat­ing scheme. For Char­lotte, the ad­di­tional bonus was that Hen­ri­ette pushed her to take risks with the in­te­rior. ‘She found some in­cred­i­ble tex­tured wall­pa­pers and fab­rics that you want to reach out and touch,’ says Char­lotte. ‘I would never have con­sid­ered some of them.’ She now likens the fin­ished house to a bou­tique ho­tel. ‘If it hadn’t been for Hen­ri­ette, I think I would still be liv­ing with mag­no­lia walls.’

pho­tog­ra­phy Mark Bolton

CHILD’S BED­ROOM Pops of vi­brant pink en­liven this sub­tle scheme. For a sim­i­lar desk, try the ox­ford, £275, the great Lit­tle trad­ing Com­pany

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