AMAZING READER HOMES to inspire you
Victorian terrace, three-bedroom new build, country cottage and more...
Combining the sunshine and openness of her native Australia with English elegance and reserve in one home was the challenge Sydney-born Sommer Pyne set herself when she moved into a four-storey Victorian house in south London. ‘I wanted some rooms to feel light and airy, like a Sydney home, and others to be dark and moody,’ explains Sommer, who lives with husband Will, a digital media worker, and their daughter Lyla-Rose, three. ‘When I planned the kitchen with its skylight and huge glass wall, Will said: “Remember, we’re in London; it rains – a lot.” But I love that antipodean, inside-outside vibe and it felt right for this house.’
The six-bedroom property had already been extended but Sommer’s vision to give it dual nationality meant it needed another overhaul and, as it would be quite a lot of work, she sought the expertise of Ade Architecture. With their help, she designed a wider extension for the back as well as a basement to include a guest room with ensuite, gym, cinema room and a bar that opens out onto the garden. ‘I didn’t want the basement to feel dingy, so the rooms have high ceilings and there’s a double-height space that brings in light from the ground floor. It meant six months of digging,’ she says.
On the ground floor, there’s more of a light/dark contrast, with a black-walled living room and a white family room. The master suite on the first floor is split level, with a grey-painted bedroom and steps leading down to a spa-like bathroom. ‘It’s my escape when life gets too full-on,’ says Sommer.
This house wasn’t just about reconciling Sommer’s Aussie roots and English lifestyle – it was also about discovering a new direction for herself. ‘When Lyla-Rose was born three months early, it turned our lives upside down. At the same time, I wanted to leave the advertising industry, where
I’d been working, and unite my love for interior design, crafts and cookery,’ she explains. ‘I’d thought of opening a lifestyle boutique and then, during the renovation, the penny dropped – our home could be a business.’
She founded House Curious lifestyle workshops and now runs sessions on everything from candlemaking to calligraphy in her kitchen and living room, and has just expanded into an online boutique.
Does it feel odd to share her home with strangers? ‘Aussies tend to have an open-door policy, so it’s probably weirder for Will. But we’ve had fun decorating the house together,’ she says. ‘This property might house a business, but ultimately it’s a forever home for our family.’ HB For information on Sommer’s workshops, visit housecurious.co.uk
BAR AREA ‘It felt like a crazy indulgence but I knew it would be perfect for hosting my workshops and events,’ says Sommer of the stylish bar. The sign is a tribute to her grandparents. ‘My nanna’s two loves were scotch and her husband Ted,’ she explains
FIRST-FLOOR MASTER SUITE
‘This is where I come to hide,’ says Sommer of this fabulous space that includes a bedroom, bathroom and dressing room. She now stocks the bedside table, brass hanging lights and metal chair in her online shop, House Curious. The print is Sky C from Holly’s House