Life through a lens

What home could be a bet­ter ex­em­plar of the best of Bri­tish in­te­ri­ors than the newly ren­o­vated abode of ELLE Dec­o­ra­tion’s Pho­tog­ra­phy Di­rec­tor Flora Bathurst? Here, fam­ily-friendly style meets im­pec­ca­ble de­sign

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Style Colour - Words AMY BRADFORD Pho­tog­ra­phy BEN ANDERS Styling SANIA PELL

Flora Bathurst’s ex­pe­ri­ence as Pho­tog­ra­phy Di­rec­tor of ELLE

Dec­o­ra­tion stood her in good stead when it came to ren­o­vat­ing her own home. ‘I spend all day look­ing at the most beau­ti­ful houses in the world,’ she says. ‘There’s con­stant in­spi­ra­tion.’ The four-bed­room ter­raced prop­erty in Ken­sal Rise, north­west Lon­don, which she shares with hus­band An­drew, five-year- old son Eli and two-year- old daugh­ter Iso­bel put all her style skills to the test. The 1890s house was ‘in a very sorry state’ be­fore they moved in two years ago. ‘There were rot­ten joists and holes in the floor,’ Flora re­calls. ‘ It was the ul­ti­mate doer-up­per.’ On the out­side, the build­ing was painted a lurid shade of mint green.

The cou­ple ap­proached the project with all guns blaz­ing, gut­ting the house and start­ing again from scratch. They seized the chance to re­or­gan­ise the build­ing’s lay­out, cre­at­ing a dou­ble dormer in the loft to house a main bed­room and bath­room, and mov­ing all of the walls on the first floor to pro­duce bet­ter-pro­por­tioned rooms. The ground level was ex­tended. ‘ We added a lot of rolled steel joists,’ says Flora. ‘This al­lowed us to open up the mid­dle of the house, box in the stairs with stor­age and link the front to the back seam­lessly – not easy in a Vic­to­rian ter­race.’ Help came from her in­te­rior ar­chi­tect, An­thi Grapsa of Arch Mem­o­ries and Martin Star­let, an ex­pert in build­ing with re­claimed ma­te­ri­als. It was An­thi who had the idea for the bank of cup­boards that runs be­tween the liv­ing room and kitchen hides all fam­ily clut­ter. ‘She’s re­ally good with stor­age so­lu­tions,’ says Flora.

An­thi is also an ex­pert in us­ing re­claimed ma­te­ri­als, which are with­out doubt the most im­por­tant as­pect of the house’s dec­o­ra­tion. The sal­vaged pitch-pine pan­elling and iroko sur­faces used in many of the rooms were cho­sen for their re­silience and char­ac­ter, with much of the wood sourced from Lon­don-based recla­ma­tion ex­perts Retrou­vius. ‘I love things that have in­tegrity and his­tory,’ says Flora. ‘Also, with old build­ings, I think you need to hon­our their past. In the orig­i­nal rooms, such as the sit­ting room, we put back the cor­nic­ing and opened up the old fire­place. In the newer parts of the house we felt we could be more mod­ern.’

The project also ben­e­fited from the cre­ativ­ity of the Bathurst fam­ily at large. Flora’s late mother was an in­te­rior de­signer; her elder sis­ter Bella is a fur­ni­ture maker (as well as a suc­cess­ful au­thor); mid­dle sis­ter Lucy is an in­te­rior de­signer and textile spe­cial­ist with her own stu­dio, Nest; and cousin Ru­pert is a painter. All made their con­tri­bu­tions to the space, no­tably Lucy’s hand­made cur­tains and cush­ions, Bella’s sturdy black wal­nut kitchen ta­ble and Ru­pert’s paint­ings and char­coal draw­ings in the sit­ting room and study. Flora de­scribes her style as ‘re­claimed meets clas­si­cal mod­ern’ and cites her in­spi­ra­tions as ‘Scan­di­na­vian sim­plic­ity, mid-cen­tury shapes and all things nat­u­ral’. In two years, this house has seen a re­mark­able trans­for­ma­tion and, stripped of its mint green ma­sonry, is its best self again. nest­de­; bella­; ru­pert­; arch-mem­o­; star­let­build­ Seat­ing area This vin­tage Eero Saari­nen ta­ble was a gift from the home­owner’s sis­ters. The Saari­nen chair is from her late mother and the Er­col chair was dis­cov­ered in a flea mar­ket. The cur­tains are by Nest – a sheer linen with lace pan­els and a wool fab­ric with vel­vet sec­tions and metal­lic threads. The wall lights are by Cox & Cox

Bath­room For­nasetti’s ‘Nu­v­ole’ wall­pa­per from Cole & Son dec­o­rates the walls. The mir­ror is from Retrou­vius Stock­ist de­tails on p284

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