Mollie Makes - - Contents - Words: LOTTIE STOREY Pho­tog­ra­phy: FIONA MUR­RAY

Take a look in­side Won­der and Rah de­signer Natalie Cardew’s dreamy home

It comes as no sur­prise that Natalie Cardew of Won­der and Rah favours a neu­tral home, made bright and beau­ti­ful with a care­ful mix of art­work and ac­ces­sories. For this de­signer, whose prints adorn many a nurs­ery wall, home is where it all be­gins, both in­spir­ing Natalie’s work at the be­gin­ning of her process and act­ing as pho­to­shoot lo­ca­tion at the end. Natalie and her fam­ily – hus­band Chris, son Leo and daugh­ter Robyn – have re­cently moved to this

home on the Dorset coast from Kingston. “It was a big move leav­ing Lon­don,” says Natalie, “but some­thing we’d thought about for a while. My hus­band and I grew up by the sea and wanted to bring up our chil­dren in the same way.” But it was a jug­gle get­ting every­thing in place. “Chris had to move jobs and we were tim­ing it with our el­dest start­ing school – we moved the week be­fore school started!”

Since then, Natalie and Chris have tack­led the whole house, which needed cos­metic ren­o­va­tion. “The ba­sic struc­ture of the house was great – we loved the loft con­ver­sion and log burner,” ex­plains Natalie. And the rest? “The down­stairs lay­out didn’t work for us. The din­ing room and kitchen were sep­a­rate – they screamed out for a knock-through and bet­ter ac­cess to the gar­den. There was a lot of yel­low gloss wood­work and dirty mag­no­lia walls, while four of the five bed­rooms had loud, dated fea­ture walls.” Natalie’s ap­proach is to start with a neu­tral colour on the walls to act as a can­vas for her ever-chang­ing ac­ces­sories. “I like a unique look to each room, but the house has to flow. I hate a dis­jointed feel.” So how does she achieve this? “I use shades of grey, from dark to light, from cool to warm. It’s a great colour to get prints and ac­ces­sories to pop, too.”

With such a lot of work newly done, Natalie has plans to make things feel more lived in. “I’m des­per­ate to in­vest in some vin­tage fur­ni­ture,” she con­fesses, “as every­thing is mainly new in our home at the mo­ment. I love the charm and char­ac­ter a vin­tage piece can bring, and I’m re­ally into mid-cen­tury design. We have a G Plan co ee ta­ble, but I’d love a wooden Er­col sofa for the kitchen, so I need to get sav­ing.”

With a busi­ness cen­tred around art­work for chil­dren, it’s no sur­prise that the kids’ rooms are the most pho­tographed part of the house.

“I shoot all of my work in Leo and Robyn’s room. I’m al­ways hav­ing fun mix­ing things up! I move things back and forth be­tween the kids’ room and our shared spa­ces all the time.” This flex­i­ble ap­proach is hav­ing an in­ter­est­ing e"ect on Natalie’s work. “Now we’re set­tling into the house, I’m en­joy­ing cre­at­ing pieces for the adult spa­ces. I’d love to grow that area of my work, maybe move into home­wares.”

Natalie de­scribes her style as fun, pat­tern­filled and eclec­tic. “It’s also re­ally bud­get­friendly,” she laughs. “With two small chil­dren and two cats, there’s lit­tle point in­vest­ing in lux­ury items at the mo­ment! Plus, I want the kids to feel like they can re­lax in their home.”

Any plans for the fu­ture? “I have a few plants dot­ted around but nowhere near enough. I’m ob­sessed with fid­dle leaf figs and would love one in our hall.” Natalie’s love of chang­ing things up also means her home is likely to keep evolv­ing. “I like to be brave with colour and tex­ture in my ac­ces­sories,” she says. “It’s the cheap­est and least risky way to work an in­te­ri­ors trend.”

Grow­ing up in this “beau­ti­ful for­ever home” was the plan – for the cou­ple, their kids and for the busi­ness. “I knew I’d use it for work as my home has al­ways fea­tured on my In­sta­gram. But it has to be a fun and func­tional home for us to bring our chil­dren up in.” And that’s one am­bi­tion well and truly achieved al­ready.

01 “My favourite room is the kitchen. It’s just so light and lovely in there now.” 02 The liv­ing room’s At­las Beni rug from Olli Ella is Natalie’s pride and joy.

Daugh­ter Robyn’s room dou­bles up as a shoot lo­ca­tion, mak­ing it the most pho­tographed space in the house.

01 “I want my home to re­flect the peo­ple that live and thrive in­side it!” 02 Natalie is to­tally ob­sessed with in­te­ri­ors, al­ways scour­ing Insta and mag­a­zines.

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