Vic­to­ri­ana and a Zen-like calm in a north Lon­don ter­race

The man be­hind the über-chic Dayles­ford look has cu­rated a fam­ily home of equal so­phis­ti­ca­tion and style, says Katie Law

Evening Standard - West End Final Extra - ES Homes and Property - - Our Home -

CHI­NESE ar­chi­tect Spencer Fung and his Cata­lan de­signer wife, Teresa Rovi­ras, love the straight­for­ward prac­ti­cal­ity of their Vic­to­rian ter­race house in north Lon­don. “Vic­to­rian architects got a lot right, es­pe­cially their abil­ity to de­sign so many dif­fer­ent rooms,” says Fung, who bought the 1895 three-storey, dou­ble-fronted prop­erty in 2006.

The pre­vi­ous oc­cu­pants had lived in the red-brick house for 30 years and it was “quite ne­glected”. But fire­places and cor­nices were in­tact and the lay­out per­fectly suited the cou­ple with one small daugh­ter and an­other baby on the way.

“We loved the in­ti­macy of hav­ing so many rooms,” says Fung. “I hate the mod­ern in­ter­ven­tion of knock­ing down walls and adding big ex­ten­sions or glass roofs.” Fung, 56, who was born and brought up in Hong Kong, is the se­cret weapon be­hind the Dayles­ford brand. The Cam­bridge and AA-trained ar­chi­tect has been de­sign­ing Ca­role Bam­ford’s über-cool shops and spas since 2001, so it’s no sur­prise to see the same pared­back aes­thetic in his own home.

“I wanted to keep it all as sim­ple as pos­si­ble. The only struc­tural change we did was to join the din­ing room to the kitchen by putting in a rec­tan­gu­lar arch open­ing be­tween the two.”

CLEAN, FRESH LOOKS

He then uni­fied the spa­ces by us­ing French grey mar­ble through­out: on the floors, the kitchen work­tops and for the kitchen is­land, as well as in all the bath­rooms. “We were in­spired by Teresa’s fam­ily home in Barcelona, where they wash the floors with bleach so it al­ways smells clean and fresh,” says Fung.

Any hint of cold­ness from the mar­ble is tem­pered by the warmth of smooth, nat­u­ral plas­tered walls, floppy oat­meal linen cur­tains, limed oak kitchen cup­boards, over­size wo­ven wil­low lamp­shades, and an im­pres­sive col­lec­tion of pot­tery, glass and found ob­jects.

Two oak and glass-fronted cab­i­nets in the el­e­gant din­ing room flank the fire­place and are packed with pieces, from func­tional plates, cups and bowls, to dec­o­ra­tive ce­ramic jelly moulds, tiered cake plates and old stoneware bot­tles. Kitchen shelves dis­play more bot­tles, jars and pewter plates, while walls and sur­faces are dot­ted with weath­ered drift­wood and antlers.

MAR­KET FINDS

“We used to love go­ing to find things in mar­kets and Por­to­bello Road on Fri­days. We were un­stop­pable, but the house is full up now,” laughs Fung.

The orig­i­nal fire­places, dis­man­tled for clean­ing, were stolen when the house was be­ing re­fur­bished. “For­tu­nately we found re­place­ments in sim­ple de­signs, in steel, mar­ble or wood, very much in our taste,” says Rovi­ras, 51, cre­ative con­sul­tant and founder of tra­di­tional toyshop, Hedge­hog. The sit­ting room, “a grown-up room for friends” is at the front of the house, filled with more ob­jects in­clud­ing a sec­tion of win­dows on the man­tel­piece, re­stored by Fung us­ing foxed mir­rored glass. Other cu­riosi­ties in­clude vin­tage boxes with rusty nails picked up on Thames-side walks, stones, bleached shells, old pho­tos and Fung’s ink-wash wa­ter­colours.

MOD­ERN/VIN­TAGE MIX

The same mix of mono­chrome mod­ern and vin­tage con­tin­ues up­stairs. The master bed­room has a pale limed oak floor and bed­head with ev­ery­thing con­cealed in cup­boards. By con­trast, the cou­ple’s clothes are dis­played — colour-coded, from whites to greys to beiges to browns — in re­pur­posed Ed­war­dian shop vit­rine cases in the next-door dress­ing room. Their son, Lawrence, 11, sleeps on the top floor in a steel-framed bed he de­signed when he was 10. Daugh­ter Aurelia, 13, has just a smidgeon of colour in her room: a barely-there pink cush­ion on her bed.

Out­door room: low box beds, white hy­drangeas, her­ring­bone paving and ma­ture ash

Chic sim­plic­ity: nat­u­ral wood, stone, foxed glass and easy-on-the eye colour­way

Fam­ily time: Spencer Fung, Teresa Rovi­ras, son Lawrence and daugh­ter Aurelia

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