Gigi's Candy-Colored London Cottage

House Tour

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Name: Gigi Eligoloff, editor of Gransnet, her husband John and their children Kit and Delphi
Location: Barnes; Southwest London, UK
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1 and half years; owned

When the money for Gigi’s kitchen fund was stolen, she didn’t despair. She got straight onto Gumtree (UK’s answer to Craiglist) and tracked down another kitchen at a fraction of the price. Terrified of losing out and fed up with having no place to cook, she piled the family into the car and drove straight round to the seller's house to strike a deal. A couple of hours later, she was proud owner of a six-year-old kitchen and Rangemaster stove. Okay, so it wasn’t the dream kitchen from her Pinterest board, but Gigi's home is a great example of how repurposed secondhand and vintage pieces can beat brand new, shiny ones hands down.

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The Eligoloff family home in South London is an extended two up, two down 1920s brick and concrete cottage. "It doesn't have much curb appeal. The front garden needs some work and the windows are mismatched. As you approach it from the street it looks like a crazy mongrel puppy with one black eye and one white eye." But inside Gigi has transformed the cramped and dated rooms into a fabulously light and airy space in Miami beach- inspired pastel hues. She has filled the house with upcycled secondhand furniture from boot sales and Ebay, family hand-me-downs, and colorful artwork and rugs.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I love color. When we built the extension on the back and side of the house, I didn't want it to be a bland white box. I wanted to fill it with ice-cream colored hues reminiscent of Miami's South Beach. In the living room, which is part of the original cottage, we wanted a more cozy, deco feel, so we went for a more muted jewel-like palette.

Inspiration: My mum had a stall on Portobello Road market when I was young, so I grew up around vintage things. I would rather spend time hunting down something I love, then doing it up, than walk straight into an expensive shop with a fat wallet. If I had tried to buy everything new, I wouldn't have been able to complete even one room.

Favorite Element: I love the view of the garden from the kitchen framed by the sash windows and double doors. I had a lot of arguments with my husband and the builders, who wanted bifolding doors. I love the symmetry of the double doors, and how they are in keeping with the older part of the house.

Biggest Challenge: Money! We had to rent while the work was being done on the extension, so I went back to my old job as a television producer to cover costs.

What Friends Say: "It's very you." I'm not sure if I should be pleased or affronted.

Biggest Embarrassment: The awful front garden and mix of timber and uPVC window frames.

Proudest DIY: I am pretty proud of my dresser. I fixed a Victorian school cabinet on top of a 1970s chest from Habitat and painted them the same color. I use it as a larder cupboard for storing food.

Biggest Indulgence: Nearly all my furniture is secondhand, but I do indulge on smaller items and probably spend more than I should. I find it hard to resist one-off vintage pieces, because I know I will regret it if I don't snap them up.

Best Advice: Buy secondhand, then reupholster, repaint, upcycle to avoid your home looking like an IKEA showroom.

Dream Sources: I have a weakness for Anthropologie, but I get most pleasure from hunting down secondhand items.

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Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • Peace and Quiet, Fired Earth (bedroom)
  • Pearl Ashes, Fired Earth (Delphi's room)
  • Calamine, Farrow & Ball (living room)

SMALL LIVING ROOM

  • Heal's sofa: ebay
  • Lloyd Loom ottoman: family hand-me-down
  • Art deco table: hand-me-down
  • Pink chair: jumble sale
  • Chest of drawers: bought second hand, then repainted
  • Rug: Jennifer Manners
  • Judy Garland print: I love design

DINING ROOM

  • Mis-matched chairs: rescued from the tip
  • Hare Lamp: Abigail Ahern for Debenhams
  • Curtains: H&M Home

KITCHEN

  • Units and work surface: Gumtree, originally from Wickes, rebuilt to fit the space by Mark Holland, who also built the island.
  • Rangemaster stove: Gumtree
  • Neisha Crosland vinyl floor tiles: Harvey Maria
  • Wall shelves: ebay
  • "Oh My Dear" print: I love design
  • Wall tiles: Topps Tiles

OPEN PLAN LIVING ROOM

  • Rugs: Jennifer Manners
  • Vintage illuminated coke sign: ebay
  • Giraffe head: Anthropologie
  • Tippi Hedren picture: DIY project. Gigi used a Georgian window frame from ebay to frame a Karen Mabon silk scarf.
  • Door handles: Anthropologie

BEDROOM

DELPHI'S ROOM

  • Bed: vintage
  • Red Riding Hood Decals: Helen Dardik
  • Rug: Verbaudet

KIT'S ROOM

  • Bed: Habitat from ebay
  • Curtains: John Lewis
  • Duvet: M&S
  • Rug: Habitat
  • Wardrobe: repainted vintage furniture

BATHROOM

  • Suite: Victoria Plumb
  • Floor: Harvey Maria
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Thanks, Gigi!

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(Image credits: Rebecca Bond)