Name: Alison A.
Location: Marylebone, London, United Kingdom
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: Rented 1 year
After leaving Amsterdam where she lived for the past seven years, Alison wanted to start her new adventure in London by first creating the perfect home. Alison's London flat is influenced by many things — her love of travel, entertaining, her desire to bring a little bit of Dutch design and creating a space that is "inviting and relaxing".
Friend and interior designer, Fay Markopoulou, helped Alison piece together her vision and design aesthetic while getting her to try something a little daring and different. Noticeable features in her lovely flat: her use of emerald green — especially the dining bench — and various accents like a TV stand, mirror, coffee table, beautiful painting by friend and artist Philly Rutt. Her bedroom is dreamy.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Transitional Chic. I like mixing rustic with modern, old with new, feminine touches with masculine pieces.
Inspiration: A combination of things, all influenced by my lifestyle; my love for traveling and adventure, Dutch design (I lived in Amsterdam for seven years), my desire to make the space inviting and relaxing, and my love for entertaining. I was also fortunate to work with Fay Markopoulou, a talented and innovative interior designer who helped bring ideas to life and encouraged me to try new things that I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen myself. I couldn’t be happier with the result.
Favorite Element: It’s difficult to say as there are many things I appreciate with the most important being that it is comfortable and relaxed, and feels like home. But if I had to choose what is my favorite element, I’d say the entire dining area, which is all custom made. I had a difficult time finding a wood dining table that would work with the hardwood floor and was within budget. So instead of buying something that was either out of budget or didn’t suit, Fay and I started to explore the idea of sourcing the wood and making the table. The wood of the dining table is from an old Victorian house hardwood floor, which we found at a timber yard and had re-finished and made into the table, with black chrome legs. I love this piece because of its rustic look as well as its unique history. For the dining table bench — we felt that we needed something to make the room pop, so we picked out an emerald green corduroy fabric and added silver studded accents, and had this made as well. It adds a fun flare to room and suits the playful side of my personality.
However, my favorite element to this space is the colorful painting which a dear friend Philly Rutt made. She is a very talented aspiring artist whose work I’ve been following since meeting her in 2012. I was thrilled to have a space to commission a painting for. The painting is vibrant and soothing at the same time, it pulls all aspects of the room together, and it makes me smile every time I see it.
I’m also fortunate to have a roof terrace — it was important to me to take advantage of that space and create an atmosphere that is both relaxing and good for entertaining. The roof-top bar is one of my favorite elements.
Biggest Challenge: Trying to furnish a two bedroom flat in London while staying within a reasonable budget. There were some pieces which I ultimately splurged on, however choosing to create bespoke pieces (such as the dining and TV tables, the dining bench, and shoe closet) as well as sourcing a number of pieces from Amsterdam before I moved ultimately meant I was able to stay within my plan. The patience required in order find the right pieces was also a major challenge.
What Friends Say: Wow!
Biggest Embarrassment: The shoe closet. I’m a typical female and have always struggled with keeping shoes organized. The IKEA bookshelf with extra shelves added to it was a brilliant cost-effective solution that helps me stay organized. But I’m somewhat embarrassed by the amount of shoes that are now on display.
Proudest DIY: The dining table. I love that it has a story, history, and it’s something completely unique that no one else will have. I also love the color and texture of the wood.
Biggest Indulgence: The Piet Hein Eek coffee table in the living room. A Dutch furniture designer, I had my eye on Piet Hein Eek pieces for years from living in Amsterdam. The table is made of scrap-wood with a high gloss lacquered finish and each piece is custom made. I was excited by the opportunity to finally have the space for one.
Best Advice: To add in the accent colors of emerald green and gold in the living and dining rooms — I would have gone with all greys and neutrals if it weren’t for that advice!
Dream Sources: Purchasing pieces from the rustic home décor shops in Amsterdam, as well as from many of the places I have traveled. I have decorative items from all over including Sri Lanka, South Africa, Indonesia, Istanbul, Morocco, and even Southern California (where I’m from). Having these elements collectively reflect my adventurous spirit as well as evoke great memories.
Resources of Note:
- Sofa from DR Wonen (Amsterdam)
- Coffee table from Piet Hein Eek (Amsterdam)
- Mirror from Graham and Green
- TV Stand - bespoke from Fay Marko Ltd (wood sourced from a woodyard, 110 years old Victorian floorboards)
- Storage trunks from Fay Marko Ltd
- Accent pillows from Zara Home
- Dining table bespoke from Fay Marko Ltd (wood sourced from a woodyard, 110 years old Victorian floorboards)
- Dining bench bespoke from Fay Marko Ltd
- Dining chairs DAW chairs
- Bookcase from Fay Marko Ltd
- Lanterns from Fay Marko Ltd
- Colorful painting by Philly Rutt
- Valentine bed from sofa.com
- Valentine blanket box from sofa.com
- Mannequin from Coset Laced Mannequins
- Side table from Amsterdam's flee markets
- Mirror from Alfies Antique Market in London
- Basket - African handmade from E&A Deco
- Bed from Fay Marko Ltd
- Beside table from Amsterdam's fleet markets
- Shoe storage: IKEA Malm bookcase customized with extra shelves and wallpapered back
- Drawer unit - Malm from IKEA
- Accessories sourced in Amsterdam
- Painting - Dutch artist
- Sofa and table from Alexander Francis
- Stools designed by Xavier Pauchard
- Bistro table set from Habitat
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(Image credits: Breanne Johnsen)