all things con­sid­ered

Ex­tra-spe­cial care and at­ten­tion was given to the thought­ful restora­tion of this Ed­war­dian ter­race in west Lon­don

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture SER­ENA FOKSCHANER | Pho­tog­ra­phy KA­SIA FISZER

Soon af­ter slip­ping off your shoes by Vivi­enne and Hamish Pringle’s front door, an air of calm de­scends. Ahead, white walls stretch to­wards the gar­den where flow­ers cas­cade from vin­tage plant stands. In an­other di­rec­tion, through a Crit­tall screen, you can glimpse rangy white so­fas piled with hand­wo­ven cush­ions. A trio of spe­cially adapted pen­dant lights hovers over the rus­tic din­ing ta­ble, one of the many details that ce­ment the mod­ern but soul­ful feel of this Lon­don town­house.

Down­siz­ing from a ram­bling fam­ily home, the Pringles, who met in the ad agency where they both be­gan their ca­reers, were drawn by the Ed­war­dian prop­erty’s pre­vi­ously un­touched feel. ‘Our four chil­dren had grown up and moved out, so we felt it was fi­nally time to do some­thing for our­selves,’ smiles Vivi­enne. ‘This place had had the same owner for over 40 years, so it was ripe for ren­o­va­tion and gave us the chance to put into prac­tice the lessons we’d learnt over years of ren­o­vat­ing prop­er­ties.’ To re­alise their scheme, the Pringles turned to ar­chi­tect Peter Thomas de Cruz. ‘ We chose him be­cause we like the way he in­tro­duces light into older prop­er­ties,’ says Hamish, who is now an artist.

How­ever, this was no carte blanche project for the ar­chi­tect – ev­ery de­tail was con­sid­ered. ‘ We wanted to mod­ernise the in­te­rior but not turn it into a fea­ture­less white box,’ says Hamish. The cou­ple rented dur­ing both the de­sign and plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion pe­riod and the nine-month building process. ‘Plan­ning in great

‘De­sign­ing our own kitchen and em­ploy­ing a pro­fes­sional join­ery com­pany to build it pro­duced a unique re­sult and also saved us money’

de­tail made all the dif­fer­ence and giv­ing the builders free rein was the most ef­fi­cient way of work­ing,’ says Vivi­enne.

The trans­for­ma­tion was star­tling, cre­at­ing a ground floor with a series of light, open spa­ces out of what was pre­vi­ously a hud­dle of dark rooms linked by skimpy pine doors. A new wide open­ing from the hall­way of­fers a sight line to a pro­fu­sion of green­ery in the gar­den. Here, in­stead of bi­folds, a square bay win­dow, its black frame echoed in the fish pond be­neath, projects into the gar­den, which is bor­dered by pas­tel-hued ver­ti­cal fenc­ing de­signed by the Pringles to ‘cre­ate the feel of an out­door room’.

In­side, the vary­ing ceil­ing heights are de­lib­er­ate. ‘They make the space feel much less uni­form,’ says Vivi­enne. The same train of thought was car­ried through to the kitchen, where the is­land sur­face is stepped. Af­ter a dispir­it­ing trawl of kitchen show­rooms, find­ing suit­able off-the-shelf cab­i­netry proved elu­sive, so the Pringles de­cided to have their all-black units cus­tom-made.

One of the as­pects the pair loved most about the prop­erty was its po­ten­tial for ex­tend­ing. Hav­ing a steeply pitched roof pro­vided scope for a top-floor loft con­ver­sion with gen­er­ous ceil­ing heights and win­dows – the per­fect space for when the chil­dren visit.

On the floor be­low, the space was reshuffled to cre­ate a main bed­room, bath­room and walk-through dress­ing room with a slid­ing pocket door – an in­ge­nious way of muf­fling the noise of an early riser. This is clearly a house de­signed for a cou­ple

rel­ish­ing the lux­u­ri­ous in­dul­gence of hav­ing empty rooms, so the other two bedrooms on this floor are cur­rently used as stud­ies.

Vivi­enne, who co-founded the ma­ter­nity cloth­ing brand Bloom­ing Mar­vel­lous, has put her own stamp on the house with re­source­ful details that draw on years of styling for her for­mer busi­ness. The strik­ing set of pen­dant lights, which cas­cade from top to ground floor, have a de­signer look, but are made from high-street light fit­tings, fixed to wo­ven flex from a lo­cal elec­tri­cal shop. In one bed­room, the headboard is made from porce­lain tiles to echo the bath­room floor; in an­other, em­bossed tin tiles have been used.

An­other perk of start­ing from scratch, ac­cord­ing to Hamish, has been com­mis­sion­ing pieces from in­di­vid­ual mak­ers. The bas­ket lamp­shades over the din­ing ta­ble were wo­ven in Africa for a Bri­tish Fair Trade de­sign com­pany. ‘ We’d seen their wastepa­per bas­kets in a magazine and thought, let’s in­vert them to make lights,’ he says. ‘Af­ter sev­eral months they pro­duced this de­sign.’ They are hung from a metal rod, its shape mir­rored in the picture ledge used for an ever-ro­tat­ing dis­play of art by friends, fam­ily and Hamish, who is poised to go to art school for the first time this au­tumn.

One of Hamish’s pieces hangs in the main bath­room. De­signed to echo the cir­cu­lar mir­rors, it is made from shards of sea-flat­tened So­lent clay, gath­ered over months of Sus­sex beach­comb­ing. Ap­par­ently sim­ple, but based on time and thought, it is a piece that sym­bol­ises the spirit of this con­tem­po­rary, well-con­sid­ered home.

‘Us­ing an ar­chi­tect with vi­sion helped cre­ate the wow fac­tor’

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