25 Beautiful Homes
a Grand Plan
An aspiring interior designer renovated a neglected London semi, transforming it into a spacious urban retreat
Jody Shaw knew he had found an unloved gem when he saw this semi-detached south London property. ‘It was the perfect place to try out my project management and interior design skills,’ he says. ‘It was crying out for renovation.’
Jody, who is a qualified solicitor but wanted to retrain as an interior designer, had already remodelled a Victorian garden flat with his engineer sister, learning about full-scale renovation the hard way. ‘my sister taught me invaluable skills regarding load-bearing walls and which doors and windows can and can’t be moved,’ says Jody. So, when he and his partner Simon bought this property in 2009, Jody felt ready to take on a new project.
the house was in a sorry state – aluminium windows had replaced the original sash designs and lots of original period features had been stripped out. When work began, the builders removed seven skips of waste from the garden. ‘much of this was three layers of patio that had lead to years of damp building up internally, so all plasterwork, windows and floorboards had to go,’ explains Jody. the builders also removed a breeze-block structure at the end of the kitchen, which housed a shower, WC and wet room, none of which met building
regulations. meanwhile, Jody drew up plans to improve the overall flow.
‘I wanted a relaxed way of living, but didn’t want to go open plan,’ he says. ‘ We retained the smaller windows at the rear and redirected the flow through the dining room. the space between the sitting and dining rooms was widened to create one nice, broad reception area.’
two years ago, when Simon wanted to create a larger master suite, Jody reassembled his team of specialists. the plans included sacrificing a guest bedroom for a large bathroom, dressing room and cloakroom. With plenty of steel and clever engineering, the loft was turned into a study and studio, while a new floor at the rear now has a guest suite and shower room.
In terms of inspiration, Jody recalls scouring magazines as a child. ‘I also learnt a lot from my mother, who ran a soft furnishing business,’ he says. Jody went for a formal look in the sitting and dining areas, a modern pop-art kitchen/ breakfast room, and Little Greene’s Slaked Lime on most walls. ‘It’s sympathetic to period details,’ he adds.
‘the experience I’ve gained from working on this property has meant I’ve been able to set up my own interior design business Jody Shaw Designs,’ says Jody. ‘But, more importantly, it has resulted in our forever home.’
decorating tip‘ Try out colours and fabrics in all lights as they can look so different. Hang samples where they will be installed’