IT TAKES VI­SION

Living Etc - - HOMES ⁄ ETC -

and a large dose of courage to imag­ine liv­ing in a gritty ur­ban space that was once, rather in­con­gru­ously, oc­cu­pied by cows. But for se­rial ren­o­va­tors Beth and An­drew, this un­likely back story only added to the appeal. Sand­wiched be­tween a row of south Lon­don ter­races, their chic home was formerly an un­pre­pos­sess­ing dairy, then an ice-cream store, and lat­terly a down-at-heel work­shop.

Noth­ing in­di­cates to the ca­sual passer-by that be­yond a mod­est me­tal shut­tered frontage lies a jewel of a court­yard in­spired by the gar­dens tucked away be­hind aus­tere door­ways all over cen­tral Paris. ‘If there’s an op­por­tu­nity to take a peek through a gap in a gate, I can’t re­sist,’ says Beth of her first glimpse of the un­usual home she shares with part­ner An­drew, a graphic de­signer, and their son Louis, 12. The fash­ion stylist turned in­te­rior de­signer was on her way home from a shoot when the site caught her eye. ‘I peeked through the gates and saw a derelict court­yard and a crum­bling build­ing be­yond. I knew we had to take a look.’

The sight that greeted them would have de­terred many, but Beth knew ex­actly how it could be trans­formed. The faded grandeur of the front yard would be turned into a ver­dant gar­den, hid­den from the street; the ground floor would be ex­tended out to ac­com­mo­date flex­i­ble liv­ing space, while the first floor, with its unique gam­brel roof, would be tweaked to house two bed­rooms and two shower rooms. ‘The most ob­vi­ous choice was a dou­ble-height ex­ten­sion, but we were de­ter­mined to pre­serve the raw beauty of the place and so our ap­proach was less rad­i­cal,’ says Beth.

That softly in­dus­trial aes­thetic is ev­i­dent through­out, from the cracked con­crete floor­ing in the court­yard to the rusty fit­tings re­pur­posed to train plants up the walls. The build­ing’s former rear re­frig­er­a­tion area has been turned into a multi-func­tional snug, with Beth’s of­fice be­yond, look­ing over an­other, smaller court­yard. With less square footage to play with than their pre­vi­ous home, Beth has been clever with her ideas, cre­at­ing be­spoke stor­age in the liv­ing space, in­stalling slid­ing doors and en­sur­ing that the snug serves var­i­ously as a TV room, crash pad for guests and mu­sic space for Louis.

The wow fac­tor un­doubt­edly comes in the form of generous steel framed, tall glass doors that draw the eye from front to back, bring­ing the ev­er­green gar­den into fo­cus through­out the year. ‘Our aes­thetic is sim­ple; we like graphic shapes and styles, mid-cen­tury fur­ni­ture and muted colours so that patina and tex­ture stands out,’ says Beth.

Trusted vin­tage Robin Day chairs and a sofa have trav­elled with the fam­ily from house to house for nearly two decades, slot­ting ef­fort­lessly here. ‘Mov­ing here en­cour­aged us to get rid of su­per­flu­ous pos­ses­sions and con­cen­trate in­stead only on the pieces we love,’ says Beth. ‘Com­ing down­stairs in the morn­ing and see­ing that huge ex­panse of glass never fails to con­nect me to na­ture. I could so eas­ily have walked past this di­a­mond in the rough and never known it was here; I guess the les­son is to take time to stop and look. You never know what you might un­earth.’ Find out more about Beth’s work at im­per­fect­in­te­ri­ors.co.uk

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.