Flo­ral FAIRY TALE

Emily and Spencer brought their his­toric home back to life by in­tro­duc­ing plenty of bold colour, painterly pat­terns and a healthy dose of piz­zazz

Living Etc - - CONTENTS ⁄ETC - Pho­tog­ra­phy ⁄ James Mer­rell Pro­duc­tion ⁄ Mary Weaver Words ⁄ Jenny Tucker

Emily and Spencer gave their Ge­or­gian gem a fan­tas­ti­cal re­vamp with swathes of bold, colour­ful pat­tern

This house is steeped in sto­ries. Like a grand ma­tri­arch keep­ing a watch­ful eye over the events of each gen­er­a­tion, it has been privy to nearly two cen­turies of life. And just 18 months ago, the Green fam­ily took up the gaunt­let for the next in­stal­ment when they moved in af­ter fall­ing for its gi­ant, airy rooms, over­sized win­dows and idio­syn­cratic Greek-re­vival style (think columns and or­nate em­bel­lish­ment) that be­came pop­u­lar in homes dur­ing the 1800s.

‘I love the fact this house has a past,’ says owner Emily, smil­ing. ‘And some of it is pretty naughty. In the Fifties, it was used as a base for nurses work­ing the night shift and in the Seven­ties, it was a renowned party house. There are rumours that Jimi Hen­drix turned up here to join the fun! Some peo­ple might think a house this old would be spooky, but as soon as I walked in, I loved its en­ergy. It feels like a solid and safe home for our fam­ily.’

Be­cause it’s a Grade-ii listed build­ing, ren­o­va­tions are re­stricted, but Emily has given her home its own unique slant with her in­ven­tive dec­o­rat­ing ideas. In-your-face flo­ral wall­pa­per is used as a fea­ture in the liv­ing room al­coves and she hasn’t balked at in­tro­duc­ing strik­ing Seven­ties light­ing to a house that orig­i­nally would have re­lied on oil lamps to an­i­mate its shad­owy cor­ners.

It’s ob­vi­ous that Emily is a stick­ler for colour. In fact, the main thing she didn’t like when first view­ing the prop­erty was the sub­dued colour pal­ette of the pre­vi­ous owner. ‘It was beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated,’ she says. ‘But it was all in typ­i­cal Ge­or­gian neu­tral shades – beige, cream, white. Not my thing. I was des­per­ate to add colour and we’ve since re­dec­o­rated nearly ev­ery room. I ap­proached Kevin Davies from the Lon­don (King’s Road) in­te­ri­ors team at De­sign­ers Guild for guid­ance. We’d pre­vi­ously worked on an­other project to­gether and he knows I like bold colours and tex­tures. He came to the house, we dis­cussed ideas and he gave me tons of ad­vice on schemes for each room.’

The re­sult is a rain­bow of shades, clev­erly mixed to clash but col­lab­o­rate; a mash-up that shouldn’t work, but does – and quite spec­tac­u­larly so. In ev­ery room, there is an ex­plo­sion of tones, with more than a smat­ter­ing of punchy flo­ral and fem­i­nine glam­our. ‘My poor hus­band…’ says Emily, smil­ing. ‘He is very sup­port­ive of the girlie el­e­ment in this house and he gives me free rein with the in­te­ri­ors. But he does keep his golf clubs in the bed­room, of­ten prac­tis­ing his swing in there, and he did pick the black and white pho­tos of the Stones in the liv­ing room.’ She laughs. ‘Okay, so it’s not much, but honestly, he’s fine with all this fem­i­nin­ity.’

Emily ad­mits it does take courage to be this daring with colour. ‘Es­pe­cially when you com­bine so many pat­terns and bright shades,’ she says. ‘We in­cluded a lot of pur­ple and lilac in the house, so there’s some kind of flow from room to room. It helps to have a sem­blance of unity.’

And when you’ve got a Greek-in­flu­enced Ge­or­gian home as a start­ing point, there are al­ways go­ing to be foibles. Emily says the vestibule at the en­trance is still a work in progress, be­cause she just ‘hasn’t got the feel­ing right’ and some of the other rooms were so dark and old-fash­ioned that ‘adding tons of colour was the only way to give them a lift’.

With a house this his­toric, it was al­ways go­ing to be a chal­lenge to give it a con­tem­po­rary up­date with­out los­ing its op­u­lent and dis­tinc­tive essence. ‘While I wanted to pre­serve its char­ac­ter and re­spect its her­itage, I also wanted some­where that felt it be­longed to us,’ says Emily. ‘And I think we’ve achieved that. It’s a big, beau­ti­ful, friendly fam­ily home. I couldn’t be hap­pier.’

See Emily’s jew­ellery at ubu­boo.com. For more info about De­sign­ers Guild, check out de­sign­ers­guild.com

maya’s bed­room This pretty room has style ooz­ing from the walls. The cloud wall­pa­per is used along­side the bed for the sweet­est of dreams. Get the look this is De­sign­ers Guild’s cielo wall­pa­per in sky and Wave bed cov­ered in Br­era fino linen in...

mas­ter bath­room ‘This is my re­treat,’ says Emily. ‘I go here for time out when I need to re­lax.’ Get the look the bath is from As­ton Matthews. the chaise is an auc­tion find that’s been re­uphol­stered in Porce­lain Rose in Wedg­wood (back and arm) and...

kitchen ‘When we bought the house, we as­sumed the pre­vi­ous owner was leav­ing ev­ery­thing be­hind,’ says Emily. ‘When we moved in, there was only the Aga left. So we started from scratch with be­spoke mod­ern units and these in­cred­i­ble lights, which I...

up­stairs hall­way High ceil­ings and a dra­matic domed sky­light com­ple­ment Emily’s choice of state­ment ac­ces­sories. Get the look The sofa is from The French Bed­room Com­pany and has been re­uphol­stered in De­sign­ers Guild’s Tuli­pani cot­ton in Linen...

liv­ing room This beau­ti­ful room is a clever mix of fem­i­nin­ity, style and daring. With pops of shock­ing pink and con­tem­po­rary flo­rals, it takes mix ’n’ match to an­other level. Get the look The Hay­ward so­fas are cov­ered in Leighton vis­cose-mix in...

mas­ter bed­room ‘This is my favourite room,’ says Emily. ‘It’s huge and the first few nights we slept in here, I felt so small. But I’m re­ally pleased with the dec­o­ra­tion – it’s so true to what I love.’ Get the look the louis Xv-style bed is from the...

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