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
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.’