I’ve always been interested in textures – indeed, in my own home, textures have usually taken priority over colour or pattern. I’d always rather layer in interesting textures than add colours. But recently I’ve been drawn more and more to interiors that have a lived-in quality, where the patina is integral to the design of a space. A few years ago I visited a chapel conversion in Portobello – a conversion that had been tackled over a period of years by the owner – and I knew instantly that this was a house I could have moved into. The places I’ve loved for myself have all had that tactile quality: a touch of vintage, a touch of industrial, a touch of rustic, all mixed up together.
For every incredible house I come across, I’m always just as inspired when I encounter a smaller property that’s been really well thought out and designed. Indeed, living in the city means I tend to gravitate towards smaller properties – the quirky flats and fantastic mews buildings that have clever spatial design. When you look at more compact properties, so often there’s a poky internal kitchen or an even smaller and gloomy internal bathroom (my pet hate), or the flow of space is just a bit… odd.
Which brings me to this garden flat in London’s Kensal Rise – a one bedroom property where every inch of space has been considered and packed with great styling, and where the layout has been reworked to create a flow of space from the entrance right through to the rear garden.
I feel I should start this post by wishing everyone a happy New Year – although I’m wondering if it’s still okay to write this at the close of the first week in January? A few days too late perhaps? But as this is my first post of 2017, it feels right to mark a new beginning. Let’s be honest, January isn’t the easiest of months – spring still feels a long way off – so when I was thinking about what to feature as the first post here, I realised that a little bit of escapism might be in order. Which brings me to a question: anyone else fancy packing their bags and heading to this chalet in the mountain village of Andermatt in the Swiss Alps?
I first spotted this unique home on the Instagram feed from The Modern House – and even if you’re not looking for a property, this gallery is so inspiring in terms of the architecture and design featured. The first image I saw was the photo below, and I thought, ‘What is this place?’ as I was drawn to the eclectic styling and the patina of the chimney breast with its open fireplace. And that photo led me to this listing from The Modern House.
Many of my favourite period houses that I’ve seen over the years – especially those in urban locations – have featured extensions, usually to create new dining-kitchen spaces, and the reasons behind these projects have been similar: the existing kitchens were too small for modern living and often too gloomy, and many of these period homes had a poor connection with the external spaces. When you live in the city and have a garden, you want to enjoy it; you want that fluid indoor-outdoors connection.
And, of course, it’s not only about creating the nice big dining-kitchen: it’s about the whole flow of space internally. It’s about creating family orientated living zones and entertaining spaces. And this elegant three bedroom Victorian house in London’s Dartmouth Park, which is being marketed by The Modern House, ticks all these boxes.
Putting contemporary architecture aside for a moment, if I had to choose one period of architecture that I’m most drawn to it would be Georgian. Having lived in Edinburgh for just over twenty years, this is probably no surprise – I’m surrounded by Georgian architecture every day. The simplicity, the balance, the quiet elegance – this is an aesthetic that I could never tire of. I love historic buildings, but there’s just something about Georgian houses that draws me to them time and time again. Think timber panelling, simple fireplaces, delicate cornicing, flagstone floors… it doesn’t get better.
Which brings me to The New Road Residence. This has to be one of the most beautiful and restrained and sympathetically designed Georgian houses that I’ve come across, and it’s available to let with The Modern House.