When my friend Nicola visited this one bedroom flat in 2017 he knew straight away there was a potential there for a beautiful home.
Located on the upper ground floor of a Victorian building in a quiet side street in vibrant Clapham, the flat has high ceilings, large windows giving at a small garden in the back and a decent 55 square meters living space.
The flat was livable but the layout and decorating would have to be changed – there was an internal corridor taking half of the living room and bedroom and all walls were painted magnolia with broken tiles and old carpets on the floor.
Nicola was up for a challenge and with his degree in architecture and background in interior design he was more than happy to take on this personal project.
3 years and a lot of DIY later, he can finally put his feet down and enjoy a glass of prosecco in the garden– here is the tour of his lovely flat.
• Location: Clapham SW11
• Size: 55 sqm
• Time lived in the flat: 3 years, owned
LIVING & DINING ROOM
The living room, including the dining room and the adjoined kitchen is where most of the life is happening.
“I took a while to get there” – says Nicola.” The corridor taking half of the space and extending from bedroom to the living room was completely removed, opening up the space to reveal it’s full size and potential.
“My proudest DIY is the floor made up of scaffolding boards – covering the living room, kitchen and bedroom. I got the idea of using second hand/used scaffolding boards from a DIY tv show. I liked the idea of recycling them and their un-perfect vintage look with holes and cracks. They were also perfectly affordable comparing to shop-bought flooring solutions. A friend gave me a hand installing the boards and I sanded and painted them myself in about a week.”
The walls are painted light grey (Rocky Mountain Mist by Valspar) to provide a neutral background for the funky pieces of furniture and art.
“I like the idea of mixing well known iconic pieces of furniture with cheaper finds” – like those Verner Panton Vitra chairs paired with the table found in a second hand shop in Notting Hill. The dark curtains from Ikea and the white pendant add even more drama to this dining corner.
“My most cherished posession is the orange B&B Bambole sofa –it’s the original model designed in the 70’s and they don’t make that exact one anymore! It has a funky shape and I love the bold colour of it!”
Above the sofa, a sculptural Algue piece from Vitra – “It’s a DIY kind of piece, you buy it as separate twigs and put them together using small nails, I used to have it hanging from the ceiling in my previous place – now it’s found its way onto the wall.” On the side table – Moooi Rabbit lamp.
“The look doesn’t follow any schemes or rules, it’s a mix of things I like: old and new, colours and greys. It’s quite eclectic and arty, like me….“
On the other side of the room stands a cinema light from a vintage store in Shoreditch and second hand chair from a shop in Fulham reupholstred in a Andrew Martin fabric.
“I was inspired by Andrew Martin’s funky style and wanted to combine modern furniture with vintage and keep the existing features of the place like the Victorian cornice.”
The artwork above the console is Nicola’s own, he is a skilled painter.
” I wanted to paint a mix of a portrait and abstract to go with the rest of the space in shades of burnt orange, grey, dark blue, black”. The ottomans were made bespoke in a Christian Lacroix fabric from Designers Guild – called Butterfly Parade.
The textured rug is from Ikea and the console was made to order by a local ironmonger.
The kitchen was designed by Nicola and made to order by a private kitchen company – the aim was to create a minimalistic, simple space. The cabinets are painted matt black from Farrow & Ball and don’t have any visible handles – the oven and hob are both black as well.
“I always liked the idea of having a dark kitchen, no handles, no decoration, as simple as possible- I’ve chosen the white Carrara marble for the worktops and backsplash to lighten it up.”
The matt black tap was found on Amazon.
The bedroom is as eclectic and full of art as the living space but definitely on the softer, cosy side.
The headboard was made to order and is upholstered in a green textured fabric called Dorian by Houles. It goes from wall to wall, visually making the room bigger. The bed frame is from Italian brand Cappellini.
The cushions were made bespoke and the bedding is from TKMaxx, the bed finished with the grey mohair blanket as a bed runner.
On the floor lays a brown and white cow hide – “The rug is from a project I did with a client – a leftover from an upholstery job but looks great on the floor too!”
“A lot of accessories in the bedroom come from my friend’s online shop called FredFox London – we share similar aesthetics and love quirky, unique pieces.”
The quirky bookshelf below the gallery wall is another Capellini design – called the Cloud. It holds books and small accessories to add even more personality to the room.
The ceiling lamp is from Flos – it’s the perfect contemporary addition to the vintage picture frames in the gallery wall.
“Most of the frames were found in the vintage markets but I got a couple from B&Q and painted them different shades of gray. The clay eye is another second hand find – this time from Columbia market.”
When Nicola first moved in, the bedroom layout was completely different – with 2 wardrobes on each side of the bed.
“I removed the existing internal walls in the bedroom and build a new wall to create a walk in wardrobe. It was another DIY project – the board and fixtures are from Ikea and B&Q – I cut them to size and installed all myself.”
Another lovely vintage find is this flying heart from the Spitalfields market – Nicola recommends to go on Thursdays when the vintage market is on.
Few more things from Nicola:
• The favorite thing about your flat and why? High ceilings and big windows make it feel more spacious.
• Tell me about the personal touches The artworks are all mine , the vintage pieces were personally picked by myself from markets or second hand shops.
• Describe your home in 5 words: arty, colourful, cosy, vibrant, functional
• What makes you feel like home? I chose everything the way I wanted, it’s really me…
• What would you change? I would add a room to use as an art studio
• Best and worst thing during quarantine? I loved having more time for myself, I’ve bought a sewing machine and learnt how to sew! Worst: not being able to see my friends and their dog Spyker.
• Any tips for fellow first flat owners: Don’t do everything in one go, do it in stages if you can to allow yourself time to really think things out. Be clever about spending your money as you can actually find interesting pieces in markets and small independent shops, mix branded pieces with cheaper ones!
Don’t be scared of color and make it personal: add the art you really like, use items that have meaning to YOU, it’s your home not a page in the magazine! And make it come alive with plants.
Thank you Nicola! Nicola kindly asked his friend for a discount code for Fred Fox London – you can use code FOXYSTYLE for 10% off your purchase!