Name: Andrew Griffiths
Location: Borders of Crouch End — Islington, London
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned
"Where you can, invest in some pieces that will always make you smile" says homeowner Andrew Griffiths, and it's easy to see how he's put this philosophy into practice in the North London apartment he shares with partner Luke. In the year since they bought their home, Andrew has transformed it into a welcoming, stylish space full of color, character and contemporary design classics.
The flat has been decorated in a mix of neutral tones and bold blues, yellows and greens, giving character and definition to the space. The sunny yellow in the hall is echoed in the accents Andrew's introduced in the living room, bedroom and terrace area.
As in any small space, storage is key; the bespoke units in the hall and the bedroom ensure the space is streamlined and well-organized with just the right items on display. Andrew's created a bar area on the storage unit in the hallway, which is not only functional but a beautifully styled focal point in what might otherwise be just a place to pass through.
In the kitchen-dining room, the existing units were neutral and already laid out in the best way for the space. So Andrew decided to keep them and update the room with a gray rubber flooring, which extends in from the hall. Andrew explains he'd have loved to use concrete, but as it proved very costly and difficult in an upstairs flat, rubber flooring was a good compromise.
The roof terrace opens off the kitchen and is a very valuable extra living/dining area (when London's unpredictable weather allows). With its peaceful views over neighboring gardens, it's the perfect space for entertaining family and friends.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Sophisticated, contemporary, curious and functional.
Inspiration: Living in London is a constant source of inspiration, both the place and the people. There's always something new to inspire or make you think a bit differently, whether out and about in town or enjoying a quieter moment on Hampstead Heath.
Instagram is also a brilliant source; there's such an active community of design lovers to share with and learn from.
Favorite Element: The colour palette of the flat. It's vivid and bold in places, balanced with neutral tones, and hangs together to make the different spaces coherent and feel much bigger as a whole. I also love the flow of the space, and that when it's not raining or too cold, the roof terrace becomes an extra living room.
Biggest Challenge: Balancing the renovation of a small space while living in it. Everything has its place, so disrupting that can get a bit stressful.
What Friends Say: "Can you come and do our place?" Well, some of them say that...and for some of them I'm going to.
Biggest Embarrassment: One of the perils of living in a flat is the shared space, over which we don't have much control. So the initial entrance way is something I always end up apologising for.
Proudest DIY: The bed has been a bit of a DIY project; we spent money on an amazing mattress but then used a basic IKEA base, which we fitted with some lovely brass legs. We also made the headboard, upholstered in denim blue velvet linen, and fitted it directly to the wall.
Biggest Indulgence: Having bespoke built-in storage in the bedroom and hallway wasn't cheap, but good storage makes or breaks the feel of a smaller space.
The most enjoyable indulgence was investing in some design classics for our dining chairs: two Eames DSW chairs and an original Ercol stacking chair, both icons of design I've long had my eye on. The bathroom floor tiles were shipped over from Sweden so also took quite a bit of time and money, but we love them.
Best Advice: Don't be a slave to trends. Think about how you want your space to make you feel. And then, where you can, invest in some pieces that will always make you smile.
There's also a treasure trove of beautifully restored mid-century furniture and random collectibles down the road at a couple of great shops in Finsbury Park.
PAINT & COLORS
Living room — Stiffkey Blue and Ammonite, both by Farrow & Ball.
Hallway — Mister David (yellow) by Little Greene Paint Company.
Hallway cupboards sprayed in Stiffkey Blue by Farrow & Ball.
Hallway base — walls and woodwork in All White by Farrow & Ball.
Bedroom — Ammonite by Farrow & Ball, woodwork in All White.
Kitchen — walls and woodwork in All White by Farrow and Ball.
Sofa and rug by Heal's
Coffee table, ceiling light by West Elm
Leather armchair by The Conran Shop
Artwork — Africa Print by Patrick Thomas, from Nelly Duff
Artwork — National Theatre by Studio Esinam
Other photography — our own
Standard lamp — inherited and updated, shade by A Rum Fellow
Mirror — Ikea
Flowers on mantelpiece by Urban Flower Company
Table and chairs by Made.com
Yellow armchairs — inherited and resprayed in yellow.