south­ern story

Draw­ing on their State­side roots, this cou­ple cre­ated a suit­ably Amer­i­can am­bi­ence in their Lon­don dwelling

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - FEA­TURE An­drée Frieze | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY Mark BOLTON

El­iz­a­beth and Mor­gan Shaw may have been slightly daunted by the prospect of a blank can­vas, but they were ex­cited about the challenge, too. ‘ We were look­ing for a home that was large enough for us and our three chil­dren, Annabel, now six, John, four, and Owen, three,’ ex­plains El­iz­a­beth. ‘That’s when we came across a re­pos­sessed prop­erty in south­west Lon­don. And al­though it cer­tainly needed a lot of work, we could see there was scope to ex­tend up­wards, back­wards, side­ways, and even be­low.’

Straight away, the cou­ple knew the ren­o­va­tions would re­quire an ex­pert, so they hired Mark Sylvester from Icon Ar­chi­tects. Mark and his team dug out the cel­lar, ex­tended at the front and back, and filled in the kitchen side re­turn to cre­ate enough space for ev­ery­thing the fam­ily needed to live, work and en­ter­tain. Once all the building work was com­plete, El­iz­a­beth could not wait to start on the in­te­rior decor.

El­iz­a­beth asked a close friend, in­te­rior de­signer Sum­mer Williams, for help. ‘Sum­mer is from Mor­gan’s home town in Ge­or­gia and they even went to kinder­garten to­gether,’ says El­iz­a­beth. ‘Ini­tially, we just bounced ideas off her but she grad­u­ally be­came more and more in­volved un­til it nat­u­rally evolved into the two of us tak­ing on the project to­gether.’

The aim was to cre­ate a fam­ily home that was both stylish and prac­ti­cal. ‘Aes­thet­i­cally, El­iz­a­beth and Mor­gan wanted a fairly tra­di­tional look but they weren’t afraid of some mod­ern touches that melded Amer­i­can with English el­e­ments,’ says Sum­mer. ‘It was quite a rare sce­nario in that we all have

Amer­i­can roots, but we’ve also lived in Lon­don for a sig­nif­i­cant pe­riod of time.’ Sum­mer points out that in her work she tries to be mind­ful of the his­tor­i­cal sense of a building, while telling the own­ers’ story through their sur­round­ings, of­fer­ing sub­tle re­minders of their life.

With this in mind, Sum­mer fo­cused on pho­to­graphs from El­iz­a­beth and Mor­gan’s South Carolina wed­ding for ideas. One im­age of a Span­ish moss tree was the main theme for the scheme in the fam­ily room, and an en­larged ver­sion now hangs in prime po­si­tion in here.

Other rooms also en­joy very per­sonal as­so­ci­a­tions with the past. ‘Our bath­room scheme was in­spired by that of the Pal­metto Bluff ho­tel, where we got mar­ried,’ says El­iz­a­beth. ‘In true Amer­i­can fash­ion, we opted for a lux­u­ri­ous shower with seat­ing, in­stead of a bath.’ It is thought­ful touches such as this that al­low their home to tell a story.

This once-run­down house has now been turned into a stun­ning fam­ily home that lets the Shaw fam­ily’s in­ter­ests shine through. An in­dus­trial theme re­flects Mor­gan’s tastes, while El­iz­a­beth’s pref­er­ence for blue, or­ange and geo­met­ric pat­terns can be seen in ac­cent pieces through­out. All of which beau­ti­fully com­bine to cre­ate the best of two worlds in this vi­brant fam­ily home with a south­ern feel.

FU­TURE PLANS ‘ I would like to have my two boys share a room on the top floor so I can turn the nurs­ery into a lit­tle of­fice for me’

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