VIC­TO­RIAN TOWN­HOUSE

Us­ing her favourite colour through­out, Torna Rus­sell-hills has cre­ated a beau­ti­ful home that never ceases to de­light

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS - Words Natalie Wain Pho­to­graphs Simon BROWN

Once the chil­dren had flown the nest, the owner of this grand home was able to in­dulge her predilec­tion for pink.

In the din­ing room, orig­i­nal fire­place tiles pro­vided the in­spi­ra­tion for the rest­ful colour scheme.”

Last year, with the youngest of her three chil­dren hap­pily set up in the base­ment flat of the fam­ily home, Torna Rus­sell-hills fi­nally felt that the time had come for a change of aes­thetic di­rec­tion. The house, a fixer-up­per that she and her hus­band, Mike, had bought in Not­ting Hill in 1990, had al­ready been through sev­eral ren­o­va­tions, but now the chil­dren were grown, Torna felt she was ready to ap­ply a more per­sonal ap­proach to the dec­o­ra­tion. Com­fort­able yet compact so­fas have now re­placed the slouchy, fam­ily-sized ver­sions that pre­vi­ously gob­bled up space, and a neat kitchen is­land topped with mar­ble has been in­stalled where a vast table – a favourite spot for do­ing home­work – once dom­i­nated.

The 18-month, room-by-room re­dec­o­ra­tion of the grand Vic­to­rian prop­erty was a lib­er­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for Torna, who co-founded her tex­tile busi­ness, Torna Lu­cia, with her el­dest daugh­ter Lucy. “I no longer had to worry about the chang­ing needs of the chil­dren. It was my chance to cre­ate not only a pretty, re­lax­ing space for Mike and me to en­joy, but also an in­dul­gent in­te­rior that is spe­cial to me.”

With the help of friend and in­te­rior de­signer Sa­man­tha Tod­hunter, Torna has ex­plored her cre­ative bound­aries. The once dark and dra­matic sit­ting room has been reimag­ined

with punchy rasp­berry on the walls, while jewel-coloured pouffes and arm­chairs are cov­ered with lux­u­ri­ous, tac­tile vel­vets. “Pink is a favourite colour of mine,” says Torna, “but the grass­cloth wall­pa­per was Sam’s idea. The tex­ture is won­der­ful, and it’s per­fect for mask­ing the lumps and bumps of the walls.”

Torna’s predilec­tion for pink even reaches her bed­room, al­beit in a more muted shade teamed with grey to en­hance the tran­quil feel of the space. “This room was in­spired by a wa­ter­colour I have of my grand­mother,” Torna ex­plains. “I’ve tried to em­u­late the seren­ity I feel when I look at the paint­ing, and the pal­ette is based on the bed­side lamp I in­her­ited from her.”

This at­ten­tion to de­tail is ev­i­dent else­where in Torna’s home. In the bath­room, a chandelier in­ten­si­fies the glam­our of the mar­ble, while in the din­ing room, fire­place tiles pro­vided the in­spi­ra­tion for the rest­ful colour scheme. There are hints here, too, of Torna’s pas­sion for tex­ture and pat­tern. Bold colour has been sac­ri­ficed for in­tri­cate floor­ing, del­i­cate pat­terned cur­tains and a sculp­tural Lind­sey Adel­man pen­dant that deftly ref­er­ences the duck egg blue of the Soane din­ing chairs.

“Mine isn’t a par­tic­u­lar style,” says Torna. “I was never very keen on im­per­sonal schemes where every­thing is new. What I have cre­ated, though, is some­thing that I love. A de­li­cious home that both sur­prises and de­lights.”

SIT­TING ROOM

Art plays an im­por­tant part in this scheme. The Tim Rossi paint­ing (left) de­picts a scene from the film Psy­cho.

“I love the way the por­trait of my great-grand­mother (this page) looks over dis­ap­prov­ingly from the op­po­site wall,” says Torna. Be­spoke Frame side ta­bles, Bir­git is­rael, bir­gi­tis­rael. com. 1964 Ex­tra Fine Ar­row­root wall­pa­per in coral red, from £51m, Phillip

Jef­fries, phillip­j­ef­fries.com. In­te­rior de­sign, sa­man­tha tod­hunter De­sign, saman­tha­tod­hunter.com.

DIN­ING ROOM

The pretty pat­tern of the par­quet floor­ing was Sa­man­tha Tod­hunter’s idea and is based on a de­sign she saw in a French château.

Branch­ing pen­dant light

BB0528, Lind­sey Adel­man, lind­seyadel­man.com.

The Opera Chairs in Duck Egg Blue buf­falo calf leather, Soane Bri­tain, soane.co.uk.

Be­spoke Man­sion Weave par­quet floor­ing, Element 7, el­e­ment7.co.uk.

REAR FAÇADE

Ter­races and bal­conies blur the bound­ary be­tween in­side and out, adding an­other di­men­sion to the prop­erty’s liv­ing spa­ces. “It’s a very easy house to live in, beau­ti­ful yet re­laxed,” says Torna (above).

KITCHEN

Open shelv­ing and draw­ers were cho­sen to re­place cup­boards, while a sep­a­rate oven pro­vides an al­ter­na­tive to Torna’s beloved Aga dur­ing the sum­mer months. In good weather, the cou­ple likes to make the most of the bal­cony (op­po­site page).

Diner 75 pen­dant light, £666, Orig­i­nal BTC, orig­i­nalbtc.com.

Maroc wall tiles in Milk and Sage, £300sq m, Popham De­sign, pophamde­sign.com.

EN­TRANCE HALL

Torna re­moved the hinges from the trip­tych mir­ror (left) so she could hang it flat against the wall in this nar­row space.

An­tique trip­tych mir­ror,

Shane Mered­ith An­tiques, 020 7381 5277. Be­spoke con­sole table, Sa­man­tha Tod­hunter De­sign, saman­tha­tod­hunter.com.

AD­JOIN­ING BATH­ROOM

Creamy mar­ble-clad floor and walls (above) are paired with a glit­ter­ing chandelier (left) for a glam­orous look. “I wanted to get out of bed and feel as if I had stum­bled into the Savoy,” says Torna.

Arabescato Corchia mar­ble,

Stone De­sign Lon­don, stonedesign­lon­don.com.

LAND­ING

The in­tri­cate wrought-iron balustrade (right) is orig­i­nal to the house, which was built in the 1860s.

Chairs in Romeo & Gi­uli­etta Chiné col 104, £447.60m, Dedar, dedar.com. Be­spoke flatweave stair run­ner,

Caval­canti, caval­canti.co.uk.

MAIN BED­ROOM

The beau­ti­ful bed­cover was hand-em­broi­dered in In­dia and com­ple­ments the del­i­cate greys else­where in the room. “I wanted this space to feel warm and calm­ing, which is re­flected in the colour scheme and soft fur­nish­ings,” says Torna.

Head­board in Palam­pore in Char­coal Blue on Oys­ter, £197m, Ben­ni­son Fab­rics, ben­nison­fab­rics.com. Pink hand-em­broi­dered Kash­miri wool blan­ket, £250, Torna Lu­cia, tor­nalu­cia.com.

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