Name: Hannah and Dave Bullivant and their daughter Frankie-Rose
Location: Brockley; London, UK
Size: 750 square feet
Years lived in: 10 years; rented
Hannah and Dave’s south London flat is proof that a little creativity and lateral thinking can turn a down at heel rented property into a cozy family home. The couple moved in ten years ago as students. Since then they’ve embarked on careers as a freelance writer and blogger at Seeds & Stitches (her) and music video director (him). They also got married and had a baby, the delicious bowtie-clad Frankie-Rose.
Their third floor apartment is a bright and sunny oasis that feels a million miles from the grey, traffic-clogged streets below. The couple got permission to paint all the walls white when they moved in. Over the years, they have furnished the flat with pieces from local markets and junk shops, which Hannah has repainted in sunshine yellow, aqua and grey. They are passionate recyclers and have made book shelves out of old apple crates and turned a cable drum into a coffee table. Hannah has worked around the things she can't change, like the kitchen units, by perking them up with colorful washi tape which can be peeled off later. Likewise, in the living room, triangle decals liven up the plain white walls.
It’s all the crafty homemade touches that make this place feel warm and welcoming. Hannah, who is a dab hand with a sewing machine, ran up all the curtains and blinds herself. Her colorful cushions, crocheted throws and patchwork quilts are displayed throughout the house. In Frankie-Rose’s bedroom, she has created a pretty fabric mobile and ribbon ceiling light. With a little labor and a lot of love, Hannah and Dave have transformed this rental into a happy home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I'm undergoing a style shift. I was very into shabby chic, lots of teapots and florals, but I am increasingly drawn towards neutral simple design. I love second hand things. It is an aesthetic but also an ethical thing. Before Frankie-Rose was born, I used to do a lot of environmental campaigning. That is on hold for now, so I try to live ethically at home. I recycle and reuse rather than buying things new. Even our IKEA furniture is second hand!
Inspiration: Living in London is a constant inspiration. There is so much culture and colour. I love mid-century lines, not that you'll see much evidence of it in the flat!
Favorite Element: I love the light and being so high up. We are on the third floor, at the height of the treetops. When you look out it is so green and leafy, you could be in the countryside.
Biggest Challenge: Renting is a challenge, but it doesn't stop us making the place a home. We can't change the plastic floors or the kitchen cabinets, but we can work around them, and we are very lucky to have a great landlord.
What Friends Say: "It's homey", "it's an assault on the senses", "it's a cool place".
Biggest Embarrassment: The cheap laminate floor. I long to rip it up and sand down the beautiful wooden boards below.
Proudest DIY: The kitchen chairs. We got them from a market, took them apart, then painted and varnished them.
Biggest Indulgence: Our 1930s sofa. It was restored and recovered in a beautiful pink fabric as a wedding present from Dave's parents.
Best Advice: Don't let renting hold you back. There is a race to be a homeowner, but with a decent landlord there is lots you can do to make a place your own.
Dream Sources: The markets in Paris and Amsterdam, because vintage pieces are much cheaper there. Urbanara for ethical textiles and Deptford market for unusual items from home clearances.
Resources of Note:
- Large sofa: Ikea
- Throw: Urbanara
- Cushions: Vintage and handmade by Hannah
- Triangle decals: Urban Walls
- Pink sofa: 1930s sofa recovered in pink Osborne & Little fabric
- Mirrors: charity shops
- Coffee table: old cable drum
- Patchwork as rug: made by Hannah from Liberty fabrics
- Table: Deptford market
- Lamp: Deptford market
- Paper pompoms: Papermash
- Curtains: homemade in Ikea fabric
- Ceiling light: Ikea
- Bookshelves: crates from Spitalfields market
- Bureau/ bookshelf: Greenwich market
- Fabric letters: Anthropologie
- Framed patchwork: Deptford market
- Wall hanging: market in Istanbul
- Train poster: Deptford market
- Kitchen table: junk shop repainted in grey
- Kitchen chairs: Aladdin's Cave salvage yard, spray painted
- Plates: charity shops and markets
- Black tray used as splashback: antiques market
- Bed linen: Orla Kiely
- Yellow frame: Deptford market, spray painted
- Bedside tables: junk shop and made by Dave from salvaged wood
- Suitcases: Deptford market
- Swivel armchair: cast off from Hannah's old office
- Curtains: retro store
- Mirror: Deptford market
- Black and white photograph: Deptford market
- Vintage painting of flowers: Deptford market
- Cot: cast off from friend, repainted
- Bedding and rabbit cushion: sewn by Hannah
- Fabric cat: Jane Foster
- Butterfly stool: junk shop in Brighton
- Chest of drawers: from Dave's family, wooden handles replaced with selection of vintage knobs
- Blind: handmade from vintage fabric
- Book rack: old greetings card rack from Deptford market, spray painted yellow
- Hobby horse: Deptford market
- Rocking chair: The chair belonged to Hannah's mother who nursed her in it when she was a baby. Hannah's mother died when she was ten but her aunt saved the chair and gave it to her along with a custom made seat cushion when Frankie-Rose was born. "It was a really special present".
- Patchwork seat cushion: Father's Heart Quilting
- Rainbow blanket: made by Hannah's sister-in-law Ray
- Robot cushion: Zara
- Deer head: Miho
- Bird light: Liberty
- Crochet wall hanging: made by Hannah's sister-in-law Ray
- Coat hooks: antiques market
- Ribbon ceiling light and fabric mosaic: made by Hannah
Thanks, Hannah and Dave!
(Images: Rebecca Bond)
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