Preston Schroeder’s extended and renovated home showcases his love of bright colour, exotic artefacts and opulent finishes
Vibrant tones and exotic finds bring opulent style to a southwest London residence
Pop art, industrialinspired design, global handicrafts, antiques, Seventies glamour and plenty of colour fill Preston Schroeder’s home. You could certainly never accuse him of being afraid to mix things up. ‘I have always wanted to develop a house that reflects my personality,’ says Preston, who lives here with his partner Marcus Blake, a property developer, and their teenage daughter, Dulcie. The couple had previously bought a number of homes with a view to renovating and selling them, but when they found this property, they decided to stay put and finally inject a sense of individuality that had been missing.
‘I discounted this house initially, as it was on a busy road, but other options were scarce, so Marcus and I ended up viewing it,’ says Preston. ‘It was a neglected rental property and the garden was like a forest. But I knew we could reinvent it. I remember standing on the first floor, looking out to the garden with a smile on my face thinking, “This is the one.”’
After living here for a year to get a feel for what they wanted, Preston and Marcus worked with an architect to draw up plans for two ground-floor extensions at the side and rear, both top-lit with rooflights, plus an attic conversion. Initially, the plan was to have the extension fully wrap around the house, but when that idea was rejected by local planning authorities, they settled for a small side courtyard. This turned out to be one of Preston’s favourite features – a pocket of calm that leads the eye through the space from the light hall, with a pink wall that ties the interior and exterior together.
An avid globetrotter, Preston grew up in Cape
Town. He headed up his own fashion brand, Purple Smoke, which specialises in resort wear, while working as a retail buyer for luxury hotels, sourcing unusual and locally made items for them to sell. His natural affinity for seeking out interesting items is abundantly obvious in his home, which is full of curiosities. ‘I love to go off the beaten track and into markets to get a feel for a place,’ he says. ‘In Bali, I can spend days on a bike going around the back streets discovering artists and antiques dealers.’
Preston loves combining old and new pieces. For example, a pair of 19thcentury French chairs in the sitting room have been reupholstered in a shocking fuchsia, while dark wood dining chairs are given a new lease of life thanks to some leopard-print. Where he was unable to find specific pieces, Preston had furniture made bespoke. Antique pieces were modified, so a grand sideboard that was bought at an auction house has been converted into a basin unit for the en-suite bathroom.
‘The best money I spent was working with a specialist lighting designer, Light IQ,’ says Preston. ‘As the ground floor is open-plan, I felt it was important to have alternate spaces lit up at different times, but I still wanted it to feel balanced. Our home is now completely transformed at night.’
Preston’s house is full of humour and fun, but it is also sophisticated in the way that elements are repeated throughout, be it with a brass light fitting, a plain satin fabric or a particular colour.
His most valuable advice is to experiment. ‘I think it’s vital to keep an open mind and not just stick to what you know,’ says Preston. ‘Instead, be prepared to play.’
Formal sitting room Vintage pieces and striking soft furnishings bring a sense of fun and colour to this inviting spot. Vintage sofa upholstered in Varese Wedgwood, £72m, Designers Guild
Cloakroom metallic finishes and an antique table repurposed as a vanity unit add character to this area. Exquisite mosaic tiles, £53 a sheet; basin, £600, both Porcelain Tiles
Main BEDROOM A bespoke headboard is set into a dividing wall that separates the sleeping area from the en suite. headboard upholstered in tiber Celadon satin, £27m, Designers guild. walls painted in Aqua blue matt emulsion, £38 for 2.5L, Neptune
En suite the focal point of the couple’s bathroom is an opulent antique cabinet, transformed into a stunning basin vanity unit. walls painted in Powder blue matt emulsion, £38 for 2.5L, Neptune. toledo brick wall tiles, £99sq m; rhombus mosaic floor tiles, £275sq m, both Fired earth. Pillar offset wall lights, £669 each, original btc