INTO THE BLUE
Decorating with the brightest shades has created the illusion of space in this London apartment
Leaf-green tiles bask in the blaze of a cadmium yellow wall. Lagoon-blue shelves are offset by cool, oyster pale tones. Andrew Griffiths’ London flat may be compact, but thanks to his eye for contrast and colour, his home feels like a series of paintings designed to give an illusion of space.
It was the traditional layout of a narrow hall flanked by the sitting room, bathroom and bedroom, that appealed to Andrew and his partner Luke Mackay. ‘Most places we saw were open-plan,’ he says. ‘Counter-intuitively, that can make a flat feel claustrophobic, as from the kitchen you’re looking directly into the sitting room or bedroom. Here, Luke can be in the kitchen while I relax in the sitting room.’
His first impressions of the flat, in a converted terrace, are concise. ‘Orangey wood floors, clunky storage and countrystyle kitchen tiles – that was the interior in a nutshell,’ he recalls. ‘It took a year to overhaul, because we lived here during the work, shifting our possessions from room to room.’ Andrew runs his own interiors business, Andrew Jonathan Design, so he was pragmatic about the project: ‘A budget means you focus on what you want from a home and then look at what you need.’
Stepping into the hall, the eye is drawn to a blaze of yellow paintwork. The
same colour is echoed in a pair of bright resprayed garden chairs on the terrace. ‘The chairs act as a focal point to guide your eye through the kitchen and link the terrace with the inside,’ explains Andrew. Again, in the kitchen it is colour that has reinvented the space. Powder pink walls coax warmth from the existing celadon green tiles. ‘The tiles weren’t to my taste but I had to work with them,’ says Andrew. Underfoot, dove-grey vinyl flooring merges with the terrace floor.
Next door, the bedroom is equally considered. ‘It needed to be a sanctuary but it’s also the place with the most room for storage so we added a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe,’ says Andrew. The high ceiling posed its own design conundrum, but was scaled down with the clever use of a low pendant light. Slender-legged mid-century pieces provide further space-saving style.
In the previously insipid sitting room, Andrew used a mix of neutrals, offset by the striking blue that binds the fireplace and deep bespoke shelving lined with colourful books. ‘ We tried lots of different blues. I love how this one changes in the light; from a navy on a grey day to a teal in the evening.’ The leather armchair was an early buy and mini bottles of Campari, aesthetically ranked on the mantelpiece, are souvenirs from Rome. Sink into a chair, and you are drawn into the masculine warmth of the blue walls and fireplace. From the sofa, the view takes in pale walls and arched windows, another of the contrasts that define the appeal of this compact but confident home.
Sitting Room a mix of high-street and high-end furnishings reflect andrew’s trained approach to decorating. Umber coffee table is similar, £399; Stone Tile rug has this look, £399, both West Elm. Stockholm mirror, £75, Ikea
Hall This custom-made storage unit doubles as a drinks cabinet. Bespoke unit by Andrew Jonathan Design
Kitchen White walls were swapped for a warm, powder pink shade. walls painted in Setting Plaster estate emulsion, £ 45 for 2.5L, Farrow & ball
hall the yellow of the walls is echoed in the dipped-paint effect stool. walls painted in Mister David intelligent matt emulsion, £ 48.50 for 2.5L, Little greene
Bedroom Andrew installed the shutters and added a lowhanging light fitting to balance the lofty ceiling. hybrid shutters are similar, from £176, California Shutters. Vitra eames rar rocking chair in white, £ 495, Finnish Design Shop. ralph Lauren homeport Novelty wallpaper (below), £70 a roll, John Lewis
Bathroom Floating fittings create a spacious feel. try the Duravit Vero sink, £176.40, CP hart. Metro flat wall tiles in grey are a match, £25.95sq m, Victorian Plumbing