The power of bal­ance

In the home of celebrity pho­tog­ra­pher Bil­lie Scheep­ers, the chic mod­ern style you might ex­pect sits hap­pily along­side tod­dler-friendly func­tion­al­ity

The Sunday Telegraph - Stella - - HOME FRONT - Edited by Jes­sica Doyle

Pho­tog­ra­pher Bil­lie Scheep­ers is known for bring­ing an air of old-school glam­our to her beauty, fash­ion and celebrity shoots. But one of her favourite im­ages, which hangs in her liv­ing room, cap­tures a mo­ment of un­posed plea­sure. ‘I was due to pho­to­graph An­nie Len­nox when our baby Fred­die was just a few months old, so I ended up tak­ing him along,’ she says. ‘An­nie was bril­liant. The first thing she did was pick Fred­die up and hold him up to the cam­era, so I took a quick pic­ture. She’s just peep­ing over his shoul­der, smil­ing, and it cap­tures a very nat­u­ral, warm mo­ment.’

Bil­lie – who shoots for lead­ing mag­a­zines in­clud­ing Stella, and has pho­tographed Elle Macpher­son, Thandie New­ton and Damien Hirst among oth­ers – says her ap­proach al­ways in­cludes ‘a spark of the un­ex­pected’, and the same could be said of her in­te­ri­ors style. On the sur­face, the Lon­don home she shares with her hus­band David Har­ri­gan, a me­dia lawyer, and Fred­die, now 16 months old, dis­plays sub­lime or­der­li­ness, with seam­less resin floor­ing, a kitchen is­land clad in brass, and steel-framed glazed doors. The walls and wood­work are painted in dark blue and pure white, cre­at­ing a crisp con­trast. (‘That’s the Ger­man in me,’ jokes Bil­lie, who is orig­i­nally from Ber­lin.)

But look closer, and you find that she and David have also added some un­pre­dictable touches. The me­tal chan­de­lier over the din­ing ta­ble is a very shouty shade of red, while the coral colour of the kitchen cab­i­nets was not picked from stan­dard paint swatches but mixed up to or­der, to match the shade of an Acne Stu­dios car­rier bag. ‘David came home with a new pair of jeans, put down the bag, and I said, “That’s it – that’s the colour I want,”’ says Bil­lie. David’s beloved Vit­soe shelv­ing sys­tem – a tri­umph of min­i­mal­ist de­sign pre­ci­sion – has been dot­ted with an eclec­tic mix of trin­kets, books and pho­tographs by Bil­lie.

Then there’s the small mat­ter of hav­ing a tod­dler in the house – surely a guar­an­teed way to in­tro­duce chaos. ‘Yes, things have cer­tainly got less pre­dictable since Fred­die started walk­ing,’ Bil­lie agrees. ‘And now he’s the one most likely to be re­ar­rang­ing the book­shelves, rather than me.’

The fam­ily moved in when Fred­die was three months old, hav­ing rented nearby while the whole prop­erty was ren­o­vated. ‘The pre­vi­ous decor was very retro – ’70s flo­ral fit­ted car­pets ev­ery­where, even in the kitchen,’ says Bil­lie. ‘In fact, it would have been great for a fash­ion shoot…’

The coral colour of the kitchen cab­i­nets was mixed up to or­der, to match the shade of an Acne Stu­dios car­rier bag

‘I like the clean lines of our home – but if it grad­u­ally be­comes in­vaded by Jedis and di­nosaurs, that’s fine too’

Their builder knocked through and ex­tended the ground floor, and added a loft ex­ten­sion, which now houses the mas­ter bed­room suite. The open-plan kitchen was a key part of the new de­sign, with an in­ter­est­ing mix of ma­te­ri­als, such as me­tal, Sile­stone quartz and resin. The fact that those sur­faces can be con­ve­niently wiped clean of tod­dler de­tri­tus is an added bonus.

Through­out their home, the cou­ple have pri­ori­tised both style and fam­ily-friend­li­ness. Spe­cial pho­tographs or art­works are hung just above tod­dler height, and at the end of the day Fred­die’s toys are gath­ered up and stashed in deep cot­ton bas­kets. ‘In some of my friends’ houses, you can barely walk with­out step­ping on kid stuff, but it’s nice to re­claim some grown-up space in the evening,’ says Bil­lie. An­other way she beats toy overkill is by us­ing toy­box­ ‘Ev­ery month you re­ceive a box of toys and send back the old ones. You get va­ri­ety with­out the clut­ter.’

Im­mac­u­late and stylish as the house un­doubt­edly is, Bil­lie in­sists that com­bin­ing their in­te­ri­ors aes­thetic with Pam­pers and Play­mo­bil hasn’t been an is­sue. ‘It’s all about keep­ing a bal­ance,’ she says. ‘I like the clean lines of our home – but if it grad­u­ally be­comes in­vaded by Jedis and di­nosaurs, that’s fine too. It will just add an­other layer of per­son­al­ity.’

words and styling: jo leev­ers pho­tog­ra­phy: penny win­cer

Op­po­site A vin­tage Kurt Øster­vig din­ing ta­ble, bought on Gumtree, is teamed with Eames DSW chairs and a Tripp Trapp ad­justable high chair by Stokke. Above In the kitchen, the brass splash­back and is­land con­trast with rougher painted-brick slips. Left Clas­sic shapes have been cho­sen for the liv­ing room, in the form of a Ge­orge Nel­son Plat­form bench, a sofa by Hay and a Made arm­chair

Clock­wise from above left Bil­lie bought the chair in her of­fice from Maisons du Monde, with feed­ing her son in mind. The rug is by Paul Smith for The Rug Com­pany; the of­fice is also home to a vin­tage Er­col daybed and a Tage pen­dant light by Care of Bankeryd; in the top-floor mas­ter bed­room, a paint­ing by Mel­bourne artist Tracey Mock sets the colour palette

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