dra­matic ef­fect

Preston Schroeder’s ex­tended and ren­o­vated home show­cases his love of bright colour, ex­otic arte­facts and op­u­lent fin­ishes

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENT - fea­ture EMILY BROOKS | PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BRUCE HEM­MING

Vi­brant tones and ex­otic finds bring op­u­lent style to a south­west Lon­don res­i­dence

Pop art, in­dus­tri­alin­spired de­sign, global hand­i­crafts, an­tiques, Seven­ties glam­our and plenty of colour fill Preston Schroeder’s home. You could cer­tainly never ac­cuse him of be­ing afraid to mix things up. ‘I have al­ways wanted to de­velop a house that re­flects my per­son­al­ity,’ says Preston, who lives here with his part­ner Mar­cus Blake, a prop­erty de­vel­oper, and their teenage daugh­ter, Dul­cie. The cou­ple had pre­vi­ously bought a num­ber of homes with a view to ren­o­vat­ing and sell­ing them, but when they found this prop­erty, they de­cided to stay put and fi­nally in­ject a sense of in­di­vid­u­al­ity that had been miss­ing.

‘I dis­counted this house ini­tially, as it was on a busy road, but other op­tions were scarce, so Mar­cus and I ended up view­ing it,’ says Preston. ‘It was a ne­glected ren­tal prop­erty and the gar­den was like a for­est. But I knew we could rein­vent it. I remember stand­ing on the first floor, look­ing out to the gar­den with a smile on my face think­ing, “This is the one.”’

Af­ter liv­ing here for a year to get a feel for what they wanted, Preston and Mar­cus worked with an ar­chi­tect to draw up plans for two ground-floor ex­ten­sions at the side and rear, both top-lit with rooflights, plus an at­tic con­ver­sion. Ini­tially, the plan was to have the ex­ten­sion fully wrap around the house, but when that idea was re­jected by lo­cal plan­ning au­thor­i­ties, they set­tled for a small side court­yard. This turned out to be one of Preston’s favourite fea­tures – a pocket of calm that leads the eye through the space from the light hall, with a pink wall that ties the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior to­gether.

An avid glo­be­trot­ter, Preston grew up in Cape

Town. He headed up his own fash­ion brand, Pur­ple Smoke, which spe­cialises in re­sort wear, while working as a re­tail buyer for lux­ury ho­tels, sourc­ing un­usual and lo­cally made items for them to sell. His nat­u­ral affin­ity for seek­ing out in­ter­est­ing items is abun­dantly ob­vi­ous in his home, which is full of cu­riosi­ties. ‘I love to go off the beaten track and into mar­kets to get a feel for a place,’ he says. ‘In Bali, I can spend days on a bike go­ing around the back streets dis­cov­er­ing artists and an­tiques deal­ers.’

Preston loves com­bin­ing old and new pieces. For ex­am­ple, a pair of 19th­cen­tury French chairs in the sit­ting room have been re­uphol­stered in a shock­ing fuch­sia, while dark wood din­ing chairs are given a new lease of life thanks to some leop­ard-print. Where he was un­able to find spe­cific pieces, Preston had fur­ni­ture made be­spoke. An­tique pieces were mod­i­fied, so a grand side­board that was bought at an auc­tion house has been con­verted into a basin unit for the en-suite bath­room.

‘The best money I spent was working with a spe­cial­ist light­ing de­signer, Light IQ,’ says Preston. ‘As the ground floor is open-plan, I felt it was im­por­tant to have al­ter­nate spa­ces lit up at dif­fer­ent times, but I still wanted it to feel bal­anced. Our home is now com­pletely trans­formed at night.’

Preston’s house is full of hu­mour and fun, but it is also so­phis­ti­cated in the way that el­e­ments are re­peated through­out, be it with a brass light fit­ting, a plain satin fab­ric or a par­tic­u­lar colour.

His most valu­able ad­vice is to ex­per­i­ment. ‘I think it’s vi­tal to keep an open mind and not just stick to what you know,’ says Preston. ‘In­stead, be pre­pared to play.’

For­mal sit­ting room Vin­tage pieces and strik­ing soft fur­nish­ings bring a sense of fun and colour to this invit­ing spot. Vin­tage sofa up­hol­stered in Varese Wedg­wood, £72m, De­sign­ers Guild

Cloak­room metal­lic fin­ishes and an an­tique table re­pur­posed as a van­ity unit add char­ac­ter to this area. Ex­quis­ite mo­saic tiles, £53 a sheet; basin, £600, both Porce­lain Tiles

Main BED­ROOM A be­spoke head­board is set into a di­vid­ing wall that sep­a­rates the sleep­ing area from the en suite. head­board up­hol­stered in tiber Ce­ladon satin, £27m, De­sign­ers guild. walls painted in Aqua blue matt emul­sion, £38 for 2.5L, Nep­tune

En suite the fo­cal point of the cou­ple’s bath­room is an op­u­lent an­tique cab­i­net, trans­formed into a stun­ning basin van­ity unit. walls painted in Pow­der blue matt emul­sion, £38 for 2.5L, Nep­tune. toledo brick wall tiles, £99sq m; rhom­bus mo­saic floor tiles, £275sq m, both Fired earth. Pil­lar off­set wall lights, £669 each, orig­i­nal btc

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