25 Beautiful Homes
Colleen and Rob Brand wanted to celebrate this Victorian building’s heritage at the same time as making it an expansive, welcoming home
See how one couple put their individual stamp on a former post office in London
With their children now grown up, Colleen Brand and her husband Rob decided it was time to downsize to a more manageable property. The couple’s son Nicholas had already moved out and their daughter, Sophie, 24, was also keen to spread her wings.
Having sold their north London home very quickly, the couple approached an acquaintance with a view to renting his Victorian house nearby, then discovered it was up for sale. The former post office had been converted for residential use in 2008 and rented out ever since. After viewing the property, interior designer Colleen had a proposition for Rob. ‘I suggested we buy the place on three conditions,’ she recalls. ‘I proposed a new kitchen; the restoration of the glorious windows and opening up the ground floor space.’
Rob was in complete agreement and the Brands moved in, living on site while the remodelling took place. ‘There were so many doors everywhere on the ground floor, it felt like a hotel corridor,’ recalls Colleen. ‘ We removed all the interior doors along with parts of the dividing walls to create a free flowing, open-plan feeling.’ Once the layout was right, Colleen replaced the kitchen with one that was better designed for family life. ‘I was inspired by a Dutch kitchen I’d seen in a magazine,’ she says. The new kitchen is practical with open shelving and useful storage in the island. ‘ We love to entertain,’ adds Colleen, ‘and the kitchen flows seamlessly into the dining area and beyond to the sitting room – it’s a much more sociable space now.’
The final box to tick was the window restoration. ‘My vision was for a mix of contemporary and traditional with a hint of industrial,’ explains Colleen, ‘especially in the kitchen where I chose steel-framed Crittall windows to acknowledge the building’s heritage.’ Colleen also turned her hand to the decor, enhancing elegant Victorian features using subtle white and cream on walls with bolder hues on full-height cabinetry to emphasise the high ceilings.
Thanks to Colleen’s skilful hand, the house’s future as a family home is assured. ‘ We are so fond of this area and were thrilled to find another property here to love.’