Name: Mirka & Iain
Rent or own: Own
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is a Polish-born former web designer and interior design student who has recently renovated the Victorian house she shares with her husband Iain in Barnes, a picturesque neighborhood in South West London. "My passion is to adapt historic buildings or interiors into a contemporary living space with respect to its past and history," Mirka says. "I have redesigned the space (on a tight budget) to create a contemporary living in a handsome Victorian house which has got a lot of original features like cornices, moldings, marble fireplaces, original doors and windows, an an antique pine floor throughout. To achieve unity of style with the architecture of the building and create a modern living space, I have used a fusion of contemporary and traditional styles."
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Mirka painted walls in a warm gray-beige (Stone 4 and 5 from the Paint & Paper Library), which created a neutral canvas for dark chocolate teak furniture (apart from the antique pine kitchen). She used Corallo wallpaper by Fornasetti for Cole & Son in the double living rooms -- which are separated by doors and a have different floor levels -- to give them a sense of unity. "I love the wallpaper so much that I have used it throughout the house in different color versions," Mirka says (see the kitchen and bedroom). Her color inspiration in the living room was the marble fireplace with browns, reds, blacks, beiges and whites. She added a light beige linen sofa, a teak bench, an antique French cage cristal chandelier, a Charles Eames armchair, glass cube tables and a cow skin rug. Ritual Chinese jewelry framed in traditional silvered wooden frames hang on the walls.
In the master bedroom, she added a king-size reclaimed teak bed from Lombok and hung a magenta/mauve neon chandelier. "It's a neon chandelier in the shape of a classic crystal chandelier - traditional form trapped in an ultra modern material," Mirka says. "It was quite risky to introduce the neon to the interiors, but in fact the light is magic and people's complexions look good in this light." She added chocolate teak furniture to keep the bedroom from being too feminine, and experimented by adding silver leaf to cover the wall above the fireplace instead of a traditional mirror.
Mirka papered the wall of the guest room with Red Flowers wallpaper from Cole & Son, where she has also installed a Moroccan lantern to hang from an antique ceiling rose and used solid oak plantation screens in front of the windows to filter light. She plans to add a Japanese-style black lacquered bed. The bathroom was inspired by "a lavish colonial style which I really admired in fantastic houses in Merida in Yucatan, Mexico," Mirka says.
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"The kitchen is the focus of the home," says Mirka. To update the kitchen without spending a fortune, she painted the pine units, which were partly painted red and green, the same color as the walls and used a mix of liming and natural wax to give them a sheen. "The multifunctional table is a massive old Indian piece which can be used as a dining table, a place to study, for reading or having a cup of coffee with your neighbor. The pine bench is my design upholstered with a cow skin with white and beige giraffe pattern (very very comfy!)." The room has French doors that lead to a lovely calm English garden.
Mirka added Corallo wallpaper in a light beige-grey with black, silver, gold and red branches to complement the blond wood of the kitchen and highlighted the original ceiling cornices with LED wire that demonstrate her flair for combining old and new.
To see more of Mirka's work, go here.
- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. If you have an idea for a European house tour, please write kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com