oa­sis of Calm

Pip and Matt Chawner were faced with pur­ple walls and pat­terned car­pets when they moved into their now serene home

25 Beautiful Homes - - CONTENTS - Fea­ture Mag­gie colvin | photography ROB SAN­DER­SON

Pops of vi­brant colour play against a neu­tral pal­ette, cre­at­ing in­ter­est in this serene Lon­don house

When Pip and Matt Chawner moved to East Dul­wich, Lon­don, thir­teen years ago with their three chil­dren, Fer­gus, then five, Béa, then three, and Dy­lan just three weeks old, some of their friends asked: ‘ Where on earth is that?’ ‘The area wasn’t well known and it was a bit run-down,’ rem­i­nisces Pip. ‘But, iron­i­cally, many of our friends have now moved in.’ Pip was en­thu­si­as­tic about the po­ten­tial of their new home. She saw past the pur­ple walls and pat­terned car­pets, and fell in love with the gen­er­ously sized rooms, high ceil­ings and bay win­dows.

Time for a change

‘Only the lay­out was strange,’ Pip ex­plains. ‘The boot room and boiler were placed to over­look the gar­den, with only one tiny win­dow in the old kitchen en­joy­ing the view out­side. I wasn’t keen on not be­ing able to see the kids play­ing. I’m amazed that we lived in the house for six years be­fore mak­ing changes.’ Aided by her sis­ter-in-law, Tif­fany Og­den, an in­te­rior de­signer, Matt and Pip drew up plans. With the help of an ex­cel­lent builder, the back of the house was ex­tended, the kitchen up­graded, bath­rooms mod­ernised and bulky Ed­war­dian fire­places were changed for con­tem­po­rary styles.

After the builders left, Pip was hor­ri­fied to re­ceive a £20,000 es­ti­mate for cur­tains and soft fur­nish­ings. ‘So I de­cided to go on a soft fur­nish­ings course called All Sewn Up.’ Hav­ing stud­ied at the Lon­don Col­lege of Fash­ion, Pip quickly picked up the skills and ended up mak­ing all the blinds and cur­tains her­self. ‘I soon re­alised the quote was rea­son­able,’ says Pip. ‘Qual­ity cur­tains are a labour of love!’

Bright idea

One mem­o­rable Christ­mas Day in 2014, Pip threw her vin­tage mink jacket onto a chair and had a eureka mo­ment. ‘I re­alised what a great cush­ion it would make,’ she says. She made up the cush­ion and from there her busi­ness grew. Pip now restyles vin­tage fur coats and out of the left­overs makes fur-trimmed vel­vet cush­ions and fur-edged throws, many of which adorn the sit­ting room and bed­rooms.

Never one to com­pro­mise, Pip made it her pol­icy to only buy the best for her house what­ever the cost, such as the Mu­rano glass light fit­ting she in­sisted on buy­ing for the sit­ting room. How­ever, to com­pen­sate, she for­tu­nately found some rare bar­gains on ebay and French chairs for £5 in a junk shop. From past fash­ion trips, she had al­ready col­lected ex­otic pieces of fur­ni­ture, which were hap­pily added to the mix.

At Christ­mas time the house sparkles with lights lay­ered on shelves and in­ter­twined with fir branches and lanterns. A large Christ­mas tree shim­mers in the bay win­dow, with presents piled up be­neath ‘We all love Christ­mas,’ says Pip. ‘Snug­gled un­der a cosy throw, there’s noth­ing like sip­ping a glass of bub­bly in front of the fire with friends and fam­ily.’

SIT­TING ROOM Pops of bright colour punc­tu­ate the neu­tral pal­ette used through­out the house. trimmed cush­ions, £150 each; and trimmed throw, £250, all Philippa Lon­don

EN­TRANCE The ra­di­a­tor cover pro­vides a home for the lanterns Pip and Matt bought in Ja­pan. For a sim­i­lar gar­land, try the Christ­mas gar­land, £21.99, Light­s4­fun.co.uk. try In­dia Jane for sim­i­lar lanterns

KITCHEN De­signed and made by the builders, the han­dle-free units cre­ate a sleek look. bench­marx has com­pa­ra­ble kitchens. walls painted in Stone IV, £54.59 for 2.5L, Paint & Pa­per Li­brary

MAIN BED­ROOM The dark wood of the bed acts as a foil to the pale walls. Sleigh bed, £2,500, Si­mon horn, is com­pa­ra­ble

BATH­ROOM A sculpted bath is a true show­stop­per. Verona bath by bette, £ 449.94, Lux­ury bath­room So­lu­tions. wreath, £22, one world

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