Christ­mas bonus

Janey and Nick Sul­li­van re­worked their home to make it more child-friendly, which is ideal dur­ing the hol­i­days

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture Mag­gie Colvin | Photography Robert San­der­son

A clever re­work has cre­ated a child-friendly Lon­don ter­race

When Janey and nick Sul­li­van’s first baby, thomas, was six months old and his buggy dom­i­nated the hall, the writ­ing was on the wall. ‘ We knew we had out­grown our cosy flat,’ says Janey. ‘So we started to look for a new fam­ily home.’

even­tu­ally, they hit upon a pocket of fam­ily houses ar­ranged around a com­mu­nal green space in west lon­don, where they dis­cov­ered an early Vic­to­rian house with po­ten­tial. ‘i fell in love with the area even be­fore i fell for the house,’ says Janey. ‘it was a ter­race ar­ranged over four floors, with a gen­er­ous gar­den. best of all, we were able to move in straight away. the pre­vi­ous own­ers had turned the floor that leads out to the gar­den into one big open-plan kitchen-diner and there was a nar­row wooden eight­ies con­ser­va­tory that be­came our din­ing room.’

by the time thomas, now 16, and sib­lings Susie, 14, and harry, 12, ap­proached their teenage years, the con­ser­va­tory was threat­en­ing to fall apart. at that point, the Sul­li­vans were forced to dis­cuss plans for a to­tal re­vamp, but it took a year for them to agree about how to re­work the house. ‘nick pointed out how many houses with lay­outs sim­i­lar to ours had a large for­mal sit­ting room that was never used and sug­gested ours be­come a den for the kids. i wasn’t keen, but soon saw it was the best idea for the next stage of fam­ily life.’

the cou­ple’s ar­chi­tect sug­gested open­ing up the whole of the floor lead­ing to the gar­den, but Janey re­sisted. ‘in re­turn for giv­ing up the for­mal sit­ting room, i in­sisted on a sep­a­rate snug for us,’ she says. ‘although small com­pared to the chil­dren’s area, it has turned out to be an el­e­gant, cosy haven, sec­tioned off by glass fold­ing doors lead­ing to the kitchen.’

Janey has a pas­sion for rare tex­tiles, in­her­ited from her fa­ther who was a fre­quent vis­i­tor to asia. these form the back­bone of her home’s aes­thetic, with one piece used to cover a can­vas above the din­ing table. Janey’s favourite room is the snug, which skil­fully blends vel­vet tex­tures in rich jewel hues. ‘my mother was a pain­ter, so colour is in my Dna and i am not afraid to use vivid hues,’ she says. ‘De­spite what peo­ple say about small rooms, i find rich colours gel well in a com­pact space.’

at christ­mas time, the Sul­li­vans’ house is pop­u­lar with their chil­dren’s friends. ‘there is room for two trees – one for the chil­dren in their den and the other for grown-ups in the snug,’ says Janey. ‘the house has proved to be per­fect for en­ter­tain­ing two gen­er­a­tions.’

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