BOLD AND BEAU­TI­FUL A run-down flat was a chance for its in­te­rior de­signer owner to put her skills to the test

A run-down flat gave Shanade McAl­lis­ter-Fisher the ideal op­por­tu­nity to put her in­te­rior de­sign skills into prac­tice


One piece of styling ad­vice that in­te­rior de­signer Shanade McAl­lis­ter-Fisher gives any po­ten­tial client is to be bold with colour and pat­tern in their home. Clearly, she prac­tises what she preaches, as her west Lon­don flat in a beau­ti­ful Re­gency-style con­ver­sion is far from bland. Af­ter buy­ing the run-down, for­mer coun­cil prop­erty in late 2O15, Shanade and her hus­band, Matthew Fisher, were keen for work to start and be com­pleted as soon as pos­si­ble. ‘All the rooms were very tired and needed mod­ernising – the builders ar­rived in Jan­uary 2O16 and we moved in that sum­mer,’ she says.

It was Shanade’s vi­sion for the first-floor flat, along with its pe­riod fea­tures, that at­tracted the cou­ple to the prop­erty, de­spite the work re­quired. ‘It was a com­pletely blank can­vas when we viewed it, and had so much po­ten­tial. I im­me­di­ately fell in love with the high ceil­ings and tall sash win­dows, and wanted to re­store it back to its for­mer glory,’ she ex­plains.

Its size, gen­er­ous for Lon­don, also ap­pealed to the cou­ple, and it came with a small out­door area. ‘The ter­race was a huge sell­ing point, as I could pic­ture my­self sit­ting there on a sum­mer’s evening with a glass of wine in my hand, watch­ing the world pass by be­low in a blur,’ says Shanade. ‘The sur­round­ing area is beau­ti­ful, with scores of white stucco build­ings, and be­ing just mo­ments from the tube is a bonus.’

Cre­at­ing an open-plan kitchen, din­ing and liv­ing area was the first pri­or­ity and in­volved re­mov­ing

‘I’m pos­i­tively ec­cen­tric and ex­per­i­men­tal as a per­son, so

that comes through in all of

my de­signs’

an in­ter­nal wall. ‘The en­tire ren­o­va­tion project took five months, with the first eight weeks fo­cus­ing solely on the de­sign process. I sourced sam­ples, put mood­boards to­gether, re­con­fig­ured the lay­out, made tech­ni­cal draw­ings and de­signed the be­spoke fea­tures – the bed, hall­way con­sole ta­ble, van­ity unit and sofa,’ Shanade ex­plains.

Once the con­trac­tors had re­moved the wall, the flat could be painted and dec­o­rated, which took about two months. ‘The fi­nal month was like Christ­mas, with all the be­spoke items, so I was able to fin­ish styling and dress­ing each room,’ laughs Shanade.

The brief for the kitchen was to cre­ate a prac­ti­cal, func­tion­ing area and the cou­ple had ex­act re­quire­ments: the cup­boards had to fit along a sin­gle wall and make the most of the high ceil­ings, while ap­pear­ing to be one uni­form piece of fur­ni­ture. Shanade and Matthew chose Un­com­mon Projects for this tricky task, and the com­pany made and fit­ted the be­spoke ply and wal­nut kitchen, now painted in Far­row & Ball’s Off Black .

In the liv­ing area, the plan was to cre­ate an airy, re­laxed feel with lots of dif­fer­ent tex­tures and colours

– a theme that runs through­out the flat. From the bold, eye­catch­ing wall­pa­per and art­work in the hall­way to the moody blue walls in the cou­ple’s bed­room, Shanade didn’t hold back when it came to putting her stamp on her flat. ‘At work my big­gest aim is to in­cor­po­rate clients’ per­son­al­i­ties into their homes and that’s ex­actly what I’ve done here – sprin­kling each space with snap­shots of my own per­son­al­ity,’ she says.

Shanade likes art­work that’s a lit­tle un­con­ven­tional, and she’s also picked some quirky ac­ces­sories, such as the feather lamp­shade and fluffy stools in the liv­ing area, and the rab­bit ear plates on the wall in the kitchen. ‘They of­ten catch peo­ple’s at­ten­tion,’ she says. ‘The hall­way wall­pa­per tends to stop peo­ple in their tracks with a bit of shock and awe. I’m pos­i­tively ec­cen­tric and ex­per­i­men­tal as a per­son, so that comes through in all of my de­signs.’

Al­though Shanade is happy with her flat, her work is never re­ally done: ‘A home is never com­pletely fin­ished,’ she ex­plains. ‘It can al­ways evolve over time.’

True to her word, the next project may not be too far away. ‘I re­cently found a piece of the build­ing’s orig­i­nal cov­ing still at­tached to the ceil­ing in our at­tic space,’ she says. ‘Per­haps I’ll have a mould made and re­in­state it as an orig­i­nal fea­ture in the liv­ing room. I’m keep­ing an open mind and if I feel a change com­ing on, then so be it. I look for­ward to em­brac­ing it.’

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