Name: Jen and Mark
Location: Queen's Park; London, United Kingdom
Size: 2,000 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, 9 months; Owned
Moving their family of four from a bursting-at-the-seams one level apartment in London’s lively Camden Town to a three level Victorian terrace house in the leafy suburb of Queen’s Park, Jen and Mark faced some challenges when it came to filling the space in their fresh family home.
Desperate to move in after spending six months overseeing a complete gutting and remodelling of the new house, there was still plaster drying on the walls and wires hanging from outlets when Jen, her husband Mark, and their two children Ava and Jonah were finally able to start creating an identity for their new abode. Rather than outfit the whole place at once or engage an interior designer, they chose to let the space fill organically and it continues to be a work in progress in which the whole family, lead by chief design brain Jen, takes part.
Not quite two years later and the entrance hall presents you with a choice to either head up the modern rustic stairs to the upper floors, or go through the side doors in to the heart of the home (the eye-catching aviary lighting is quite something). Rather than trying to wrangle such a large space together with a single theme or style, Jen has wisely split the ground floor up in to sections, yet still maintains an open plan feel tied together by the rich, dark floors. Split level flooring and some smart furniture placement clearly define the bay windowed lounge from the dining area and the open plan kitchen, with concertina doors that fully open the back wall that extend the living space into the garden. The garden is very much still on the to-do list, however; a small blip in an overall beautifully crafted flow of space, detail, and flair.
As well as keeping the family machine running smoothly, Jen also runs a successful babywear and gifts business, Scamp, with her sister. Jen’s flair for making and design are on show throughout the house: every room contains a home-made treasure… or three. Visitors are rewarded for taking a closer look at shelves and around corners as artifacts from travels and family memories as well as design trinkets and souvenirs lie in wait, ready to be discovered.
Londoners have been known to start wars for some more space, so it’s a great luxury to have some to spare in the capital. Climbing the stairs to the upper floors the house morphs from a family-centric hub to individual pods for each of the inhabitants. The kids' rooms shine as collections of toys, books, and art. They contain their own mix of tiny details and design classics which the kids love, even if they might not always fully appreciate the effort their mom has gone to give them such an oasis (Ava admitted that her favourite aspect of her bedroom was her flute — not pictured).
Jen has fiercely fought off all challengers for the right to use one of the rooms as her own make-space and design studio, where she develops her growing line of products. As a result, Jen and Mark’s own bedroom is a relaxing haven—a calm and simple room uncluttered with overflowing inboxes or life admin.
Continuing up the eye-catching stairs to the top floor, you come to a clean and bright loft conversion. The loft space has fantastic storage in the eaves, and each door is smartly numbered. The room can become a guest bedroom, but also doubles as a lofty parent’s-only refuge if and when the children decide to subvert the fairy-tale standard and lock them in the tower.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: A combination of things I've made, mid-century modern style mixed with family memories and memorabilia from times gone by and places that have inspired me. I love creating 'stories' around the house of the times, colours, places and people that have meant something to me, my kids and my husband.
Inspiration: Bold designs, colour, travel, telling stories and family - a combination of all of these elements feature throughout the house!
Favorite Element: I love my little collections around the house, in particular what is sitting on the shelving unit in the living room. This houses a number of things that make me happy. A combination of artifacts I've been given or collected over the years from the blue toy car that belonged to my dad to the doll I was given as a child and some school makes that the kids have come home with all sitting contentedly side by side.
Biggest Challenge: The house was almost fully renovated by us before we moved in but we knew there were still a few smallish project that would need doing. Nearly two years later we are still (slowly) trying to do those things and, to be honest, it's hard to imagine a point when it will all be done. Time is the biggest challenge and not having enough of it.
What Friends Say: “Did you really make that?” and “Where did you get your stripy carpet?!”
Biggest Embarrassment: Our garden. It is currently a very large mound of soil with nowhere the kids can play, nowhere to sit, and no sign of us being able to sort it for a while. Very much a work in progress!
Proudest DIY: My made-by-me lighting. Both the birdcage lampshade which greets you as you come through the hall (fashioned out of chicken wire, branches and multicoloured birds I sourced) and the stitched thistle lampshade in the living room make me smile!
Biggest Indulgence: I am really lucky to have a dedicated studio for my business in the house. Space for my work, space for designing, space for products, space to inspire and space to think all within one room is a real luxury to have.
Best Advice: Take your time with building up furniture and artefacts in the house. As tempting as it may seem to buy it all when you move somewhere new to fill up the spaces it really is much better to do without and wait to get exactly what you want, even if it is years later.
Dream Sources: Heals, West Elm, Etsy, Graham and Greene and Ebay
Resources of Note:
PAINT & COLORS
Lots of greys around the house – front door Stone Grey by Farrow & Ball, Polished Pebble by Dulux in the living room and dining area, Regency Grey by Dulux in the hallway, Timeless (White) by Dulux in the kids bedrooms and Farrow & Ball Pale Powder in the master bedroom
- Birdcage Lamp: Made by Jen
- Sofa: Heals
- Pouffe: Graham and Green
- Cream Chair: belonged to my grampa and reupholstered
- Throw on Chair: Anta
- Cushions: Heals and Donna Wilson
- Shelving: CB2
- Red Rug: IKEA
- Willow basket: Lizzie Farey
- Black and White Fabric/Thistle Lamp: Made by me using thistle wallpaper from Timorous Beasties
- Clock: Salts Mill
- Vases on Mantlepiece: Fish's Eddy, Fliff Carr, Habitat
- In Shelving: Bookishly book page picture, Habitat/Manolo Blahnik shoe horn, Muji for Black/Chalk Russian Dolls
- Mirror: Graham and Green
- Wallpaper: Frames, Graham and Brown
- Light Shade - Heals
- Art: Scotlandart.com
- Letterpress letters made by Jen
- ‘Home’ stitched by Jen's sister
- Picture of Jen and kids by Anna Lewis
- E Gomme Vintage Bureau - Ebay
- Tins - Orla Kiely
- Tiles: Metro style from The Tile Shop
- Blackboard Stickers: Wallies
- Children's Mulitcoloured chairs: IKEA
- Bar Stools: Unto this Last
- Light shades: John Lewis
- Toaster: Dualit
- Armadillo Bread Bin: Bodie and Fou
- School Desk: Ebay find
- Chair: Eames Rocking Chair, Conran Shop
- Sideboard: Graham and Green
- Ribbon Lamp: Isabel Stanley
- Frames: mainly Ribba from IKEA
- Circular Rug: IKEA
- Wallpaper: Decouper 2 from Timorous Beasties
- Clock: Heals
- Carpet: Louis de Poortere Colour Net range
- Birds: At The Little House
- Bed: Habitat
- Bed Throw: Habitat
- Cushions: Molly-Meg, John Lewis
- Wardrobes: Heals
- Bedside Table: The Holding Company and suitcases from Liberty and leather one from my mum!
- Rug: ThreadNet Hunza (Pakistan)
- Art: Photographs above bedside table from Polabora, Shoe picture from Manchester Craft & Design Centre
- Bed: Heals
- Bedding: Throw was a gift from a friend that came from India
- Cushions: Scamp, Donna Wilson and made by Ava
- Storage unit: Lazzari (multicoloured stripes and spots) and IKEA Expedit
- Bird decals: mimilou.eu
- Bed: Stokke
- Bedding: IKEA
- Blanket: Scamp
- Cushions: Scamp
- Airplane: Anne-Claire Petit
- Lightbulb decal: Koko kids
- Bookshelf & Baskets: IKEA Expedit range
- Teepee: Habitat
- Art: Double Elvis Print, Andy Warhol, Animal Map, Eight Bear
- Mobile: Jonah and the Whale, Flensted
- Desk: Unto this Last
- Painted Pegboard – Polished Pebble Colour
- Print: National Library of Scotland
- Sofa Bed: John Lewis
- Cushions: House shaped - Donna Wilson
- Bedside Table: Nancy Smillie
- Lamp: Habitat
- Number Door knobs: Graham and Green
- Chair: Brought back from a trip to Pakistan
Thanks, Jen and Mark!
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