25 Beautiful Homes

restoring order

Colleen and Rob Brand wanted to celebrate this Victorian building’s heritage at the same time as making it an expansive, welcoming home

- Feature Amander meade | photograph­y RACHAEL Smith

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.’

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 ??  ?? MASTER EN SUITE The handy wall niches were designed to store bathroom toiletries. shower enclosure, from £1,500, Matki. Metro wall tiles, £63.70sq m, fired Earth
MASTER EN SUITE The handy wall niches were designed to store bathroom toiletries. shower enclosure, from £1,500, Matki. Metro wall tiles, £63.70sq m, fired Earth
 ??  ?? KITCHEN This area is flooded with natural light thanks to a roof lantern and Crittall windows. Windows, price on applicatio­n, Govette Windows. Units, price on applicatio­n, detail kitchens
KITCHEN This area is flooded with natural light thanks to a roof lantern and Crittall windows. Windows, price on applicatio­n, Govette Windows. Units, price on applicatio­n, detail kitchens
 ??  ?? MASTER BEDROOM Pastel shades paired with crisp white linen create a calming, tranquil feel. linen by the White company. Velvet and linen cushions in Blush, from £20, cox & cox
MASTER BEDROOM Pastel shades paired with crisp white linen create a calming, tranquil feel. linen by the White company. Velvet and linen cushions in Blush, from £20, cox & cox
 ??  ?? GUEST BEDROOM Using a bold patterned blind and bright throw adds warmth and texture. for a similar blind, try Harlequin alina, from £35, John lewis
GUEST BEDROOM Using a bold patterned blind and bright throw adds warmth and texture. for a similar blind, try Harlequin alina, from £35, John lewis
 ??  ?? GUEST BEDROOM A lively floral wallpaper was chosen to contrast with classic cream furniture. Wallpaper in Madras Violet, £85 per roll, cole & son. for similar chest of drawers, try the Napoli, £350, John lewis
GUEST BEDROOM A lively floral wallpaper was chosen to contrast with classic cream furniture. Wallpaper in Madras Violet, £85 per roll, cole & son. for similar chest of drawers, try the Napoli, £350, John lewis

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