Creative Harriet and Couple Warren Have designed an inner-city eco House that's High on style and big on family life
Harriet and Warren’s Georgian townhouse is a lesson in organised design
considered and completed – well, for now anyway...’ That’s how interior designer and style director Harriet Paterson describes the eco-conscious home she has created for herself, her partner Warren Bramley and their daughter Willa. Right from its deceptively formal Georgian façade, this is a house with hidden depths and cool, contemporary design. The ground floor consists of sociable but separable living spaces, with light flowing through rooflights and a circular stairwell. Textures are natural and – even with toddler Willa weaving her way around her blond-timbered play spaces – there’s an air of serenity.
‘The first thing everyone notices about this house is that it feels calm, but don’t let that fool you that it was easily won,’ jokes Warren. ‘It took Harriet’s meticulous hard work to get to this point.’
All that behind-the-scenes planning began five years ago when Harriet and Warren found this slim townhouse in south London, which had already been partially converted. ‘Seeing the way that modernity had been inserted into a Georgian frame was inspiring,’ says Harriet, who was style director at
Livingetc before setting up her own design practice. Part of her vision was to make the house as ‘passive’ as possible. It already came with solid eco credentials – underfloor heating is fed by an air-source heat pump and a rainwater tank supplies the dishwasher, washing machine and WCS. But Harriet wanted to take that low-waste ethos a step further and dovetail it with her family’s lifestyle.
Before they moved in, the couple decided in advance where each and every book, ornament or artwork would live. ‘The idea is that everything has a place,’ says Harriet. ‘Nothing is superfluous and it’s the absence of clutter that keeps a sense of peace.’
To that end, Harriet created a ‘spine of storage’ – bespoke built-in oak cupboards that run from the ground floor to the top of the house. And Willa’s toys are stored in woven baskets that hang on wall hooks. ‘That way everything is easy to find,’ says Harriet.
Willa’s dreamy nursery is at the top of the house along with the master bedroom, part of the mansard extension the couple added. Spaces on the ground floor were also reworked, creating a guest room in what was formerly a garden room, and the open-plan first floor was made into two separate rooms. To achieve this, Harriet and Warren brought back architect John Eger of Eger Architects, who masterminded the first stage of this house’s conversion.
An important part of Harriet’s vision was to work small display areas into the open-plan spaces – here a surface for ceramics, there a shelf for plants. ‘We feel completely at home in this house because everything is here for a reason,’ she says.
See more of Harriet’s work at harrietpaterson.com. View her home as part of Open House London, 22-23 Sept: openhouselondon.org.uk.egerarchitects,egerarchitects.com.