Location: Clerkenwell — London, England
I moved to London with a few suitcases of clothes and not one home item. I thought it would be fun to start over, as designing my own places have been fun projects and my style evolves quickly.
I was looking for charm and character and lots of light. I was flexible on the location, as long as it was fairly central London. I saw a lot of places, but nothing that had as much personality as I was hoping for, especially in a city full of incredible architecture. When my friend and I saw this flat, we knew immediately it was the one. While I was originally looking for something with a European feel, Georgian townhomes, etc., and this has a New York loft feel, it's an amazing apartment.
The flat is in a little neighborhood in the center of London called Clerkenwell, pronounced cl-ah-kenwell by everyone but me. :) The area is a bit industrial and home to lots of design firms and ad agencies. It's a young, creative-professional crowd during the week and very quiet on the weekend. The building itself is a converted warehouse. It was built in 1933 and housed manufacturing of fine printing inks. The building was converted in the 90s, but my flat has been updated more recently.
Decorating the flat, however, was a little rough. I lived on bare floors for a long time (and usually it takes me 48 hours to look like I've lived somewhere for 10 years - I like to be "settled."); shopping in London is HARD. I went to early morning markets, dragged the entire city for home stores and read all the local home magazines to find online sources that I didn't know about yet. Most people in London rent furnished places and just bring the personal bits, so it was a real learning process. I definitely got to know the city well with all of my free time spent sourcing. I was a bit obsessed for a while.
While there are always bits that I'm looking for or little things to change, I consider myself to be as done as I ever am. I think the finished product fits the raw space and still feels like "me" - eclectic, lots of textures, comfy and lived-in. I definitely have favorite items in the house. The Ethiopian crosses are super cool. and the funny/inappropriate throw pillows I made from an enormous cross stitch found at the flea market get lots of attention. But it's the overall feeling that matters to me most. With this flat, I was going for masculine and funky, a bit sexy and definitely interesting. I always want a mix of styles. I usually go pretty monochrome, so the green sofa was a big risk for me. I think everything came together and it's a great place to come home to at the end of the day.
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour & House Call Submission Form.