LIGHT & SHADE
The black and white scheme of Amy Morton’s London flat has been expertly softened with natural materials, vintage fabrics and carefully curated finds
'I'm not quite sure where my love of monochrome came from, but it doesn't seem to be fading,' says Amy Morton of the palette in her Edwardian flat. 'For me, monochromatic interiors are peaceful, calming and uncluttered. I've always been drawn to well-made, utilitarian items from the past - pieces that are often very simple and don't require elaborate decoration or bright colours to enhance their beauty.' It's rare to see a home with such a regimented scheme and, on paper, you might imagine it
‘I’m drawn to neutrals: natural linens, vintage ticking and patterned florals in shades of black and white.’
to be stark or cold. But, thanks to Amy's eye for vintage and antique pieces, the look is soothing in the most sophisticated way. In the sitting room, crisp whitewashed floors and walls are softened by vintage fabric-covered chairs, linen curtains (crafted from antique French sheets), woven coir rugs and abundant cushions designed by Amy. There's an industrial edge, too and antique bus signs, time-worn science posters, military shells and heirloom metal storage trunks add an edgier vibe that sharpens the look - a striking contrast to the colourful interior that prevailed when she and her husband, Will, first viewed the flat. 'We had been outbid on different London properties every weekend for nine months. This flat, in Bounds Green, was cosmetically very run down but had great bones. We rectified damp issues, ripped out the bathroom, changed non-period fireplaces, doors, floorboards and skirting with reclaimed Edwardian finds and swapped pink plastic chandeliers, ►
purple walls and peach carpets for a much simpler look,' she says. Amy's first passion was textiles, followed by an instinctive obsession with antiques. 'I'm drawn to neutrals: natural linens, vintage ticking and patterned florals in shades of black and white - a mix of French brocante meets timeless Scandi,' says Amy. `With a monochrome backdrop, things move around all the time. I like clean lines and statement finds, original over high street. The design of each room at home always begins with one key piece, like our oversized antique star light fitting or Scandinavian white antique bench. I fall in love with pieces impulsively and they find their own place.' Growing up, Amy explains, her parents instilled in her an appreciation of good design from a young age. 'My mum took me to many exhibitions in London while I was studying and nurtured my interest in fashion and textiles. I had wonderful teachers at school and, from 16, my focus was solely on fabrics: With such a keen eye for detail it comes as no surprise that Amy carved out a career heading up homeware and fabric development for Cabbages & Roses, trawling antiques markets for vintage designs that would provide inspiration, before moving to John Lewis as Fabrics Buyer. 'While at Cabbages & Roses, I had the opportunity to regularly visit antiques markets and this is where my passion for sourcing really developed,' she says. `I now mainly source from Sunbury Antiques Market and IACF events, but am always hunting out local antiques fairs and shops, wherever I travel: The move here in 2015 coincided with the launch of Amy's new business and online shop, Pillo, where ►
she sells antique homewares, soft furnishings made from beautiful vintage textiles, and new linen designs, which take their cue from aged fragments. Each piece is designed, screen printed and made by Amy. 'My linen designs are inspired by vintage patterns that I find on my travels, or from antique pieces in museums. I'm particularly fond of anything with French origin,' she says. Sourcing, layering and curating lies at the heart of Amy's style, and that is reflected in both her home and business. 'I don't follow trends -everything here is personal and unique to us. If you follow your instincts, then your home becomes a reflection of you - each layer resonates your life story and personality.' ■
‘If you follow your instincts, then your home becomes a reflection of you – each layer resonates your life story and personality.’
The Owners Amy Morton (below), founder and designer behind homeware company, Pillo, and her husband, Will, a Sound Engineer, live here with their cat, Steve. View Amy’s designs at pillolondon.com – her new collection is launching this month. The Property The flat is located in an Edwardian building in London. It has two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen/ diner and studio.
ABOVE Contemporary matt white units from John Lewis are juxtaposed with vintage crates, worn chopping boards and antique enamel signs from Pillo. The vintage industrial black pendant lights are from Floral Hall Antiques. LEFT Amy favours vintage utilitarian pieces and decorative finds. These plates and linens are all from her shop, Pillo.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT The couple completely overhauled the bathroom and replaced it with a suite that suits the age of the property; vintage linens, faded florals and time-worn hemp sacks are all washed and stacked, ready to be repurposed; the cabinet, from Sunbury Antiques Market, was originally for tools.
CLOCKWISE FROMTOP LEFT The large square pillows are from Casa Honore, a hotel in Marseilles where the couple stayed on honeymoon; the blue vintage chest from Spain was found at Sunbury Antiques Market; the Scandinavian bench was discovered at Ardingly Antiques Fair and prompted the bedroom scheme. The cushions are from Pillo.