It’s been ages since I last posted, and it’s good to be back. A lot has happened in the last few months months, from shoulder-healing yoga (still a work in progress) to moving and swapping our top floor flat in Edinburgh for ground floor living just outside the city. This has been such a long process, and emotional – even more so than I expected. I’d been in our last flat for 13 years and living in the area for 23 years, so it really was a wrench to go. But hopefully the new place will start to feel like home in time too. Even though I’ve been a city person for most of my life, maybe life will be better without the background buzz that comes with city living. And, yes, there’s a project to do! Watch this space…
I’ve interviewed many people over the years who have taken on massive refurbishment projects, and always wondered, how do they live through it? As in, live in their homes while major work is being done. I’ve had so many conversations about this process that I think it’s scared me off for life, as I just can’t imagine living in a space that’s also a building site, with all the mess and stress that brings.
But then I see projects like this and the results make the effort – and dust! – seem very worthwhile. I came across this ground and garden level property on Eglinton Crescent in Edinburgh’s West End when it was on the market with the Edinburgh office of Knight Frank, with photography by SquareFoot. Owner Barry MacLennan had the vision to transform this property and tackled a substantial refurbishment and reconfiguration project to create the spaces you see today. I chatted to Barry about the process, the design decisions, and the challenges along the way.
Okay, quiz time. What date was the film Notting Hill released: was it 2005, 2002, or 1999? Why am I asking this? Well, because I can’t believe that the correct answer is… a whole 18 years ago and in a different century! If you’ve watched the film, you’ll remember the Travel Bookshop that was owned by Hugh Grant’s character – the scene of the famous “I’m also just a girl, asking a boy…” line. All of which brings me to this apartment – the flat above the shop – that has been redesigned by the Notting Hill-based Cubic Studios.
It’s been way too long since I’ve shared a gorgeous Swedish home, and while I have a list of spaces I need to share – look out for a fantastic Edinburgh Airbnb coming up – I just wanted to start with this super-styled Stockholm apartment. Why? Well, because Edinburgh is really feeling like winter now. It’s cold and it’s grey and I’m missing daylight. And this light-filled apartment is reminding me that winter won’t last forever. Anyone else need cheering up today?
Designer, author and photographer Claire Lloyd is passionate about light – as she writes on her website, ‘Light makes my spirit soar’ – and this is evident in Claire’s approach to each interior project, from her light-filled Greek island home, which was the subject of her 2012 book entitled My Greek Island Home, to this minimal mews house in London’s Notting Hill which Claire redesigned completely (she has since sold the property), photographed here by Nathalie Priem. From her early career working in art direction for magazines including Australian Vogue, to more recent work as an author of two books – her first, Sensual Living, was published in 1998 – Australian-born Claire’s eye for simplicity and refined detailing has resulted in interiors with a beautifully understated and quiet aesthetic.
Grange Hall is one of those buildings that I wouldn’t be able to walk past without pausing to take a photo – there’s just something about this façade with its weathered, rustic-looking brickwork that I can’t resist. The original West Hackney Parochial School in Stoke Newington in London’s N16 was built in 1857 as two large halls that housed the girls’ wing to the west and the boys’ wing to the east. The building was later used as a church hall, a social hall and a snooker hall, and more recently its name was changed to Grange Hall and it was used as a warehouse for electrical fittings and rare transistors.