Name: Lauren and Tyler Knight (and their two daughters, due in March)
Location: Notting Hill, London, United Kingdom
Size: 800 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months; rented
Lauren and Tyler's small-but-perfectly-arranged flat in Notting Hill, West London is a testament to their love of travelling, the small pleasures of life, and most of all, each other. It might sound corny to say so (the fact that this tour was shot on Valentine's Day makes it more so), but as anyone who's a fan of Lauren's infinitely readable blog Aspiring Kennedy knows, this is a girl to whom personal relationships with her nearest and dearest are paramount, and nowhere is that more evident than in her home.
When I arrive for the shoot, Tyler is busy dusting (the definition of romance, right?), so Lauren gives me the grand tour, filling me in on the journey that led the couple to this light-filled flat. Having originally moved to the UK so that Tyler could study for his MA at Oxford University three years ago, these two American expats later made their home in London, although their shared love of travelling means they're never in the same spot for too long.
Lauren, who directs study abroad programs for an American university in the UK and France, is a world-class tourist. She travels frequently for work and play, and brings husband Tyler, who has a London-based tech startup, along for the ride whenever possible. This wanderlust definitely influences the way Lauren and Tyler decorate their home: every souvenir tells a story, and the walls and bookshelves are scattered with photos of the couple, living it up (and yes, kissing) in locations all over the globe.
Come next month, however, these two will be hunkering down in Notting Hill for a new adventure: the arrival of their twin daughters. True to form, Lauren prepared for motherhood by creating a cozy and love-filled nursery, aided in part by her good friend Beth Dotolo of Pulp Design Studios. With the shelves filled with children's books Lauren and Tyler have collected together and the walls covered with personal, carefully-chosen artwork, this room already feels like the most welcoming nursery in town.
In fact, the entire home has an effortless, comfortable ambiance, with its mix of antiques, big-boxstore basics and flea market finds. An expat myself, I know how difficult grappling with London's pre-furnished apartments can be, creating your own style while avoiding the pitfall of buying too much filler. Lauren and Tyler have done an admirable job of striking the right balance, and with teamwork like this, it's no wonder.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I love clean, bright spaces with elements of color added into them.
Inspiration: While I may have worked alongside some amazingly talented interior designers, I've never had to the budget to outfit my home in Missoni rugs with custom pillows and nickel hardware. Instead our flat is full of pieces of our life from around the world: our roots in Texas, our time studying in Oxford, summers spent driving through Italy… and all the places budget airlines have taken us in between. Everything has a story of a special person or place tied to it, and somehow when it's all in one place, our life comes together.
Favorite Element: Finding a space with natural light almost seems far-fetched when looking for a place to live in London. When we stumbled into this flat, we immediately felt like we were home.
Biggest Challenge: The flat came pre-furnished with several pieces we wouldn't necessarily have chosen for ourselves. Working those pieces into our style wasn't easy, but we were fortunate they were relatively neutral. We are also living out of a dorm-sized refrigerator, which, even after living in the UK for three years, seems slightly absurd to me.
What Friends Say: "This place feels like what an apartment in Notting Hill should feel like." We agree.
Biggest Embarrassment: Our couch came with the flat. It's made up of two separate pieces that magically drift at the exact moment you start to get comfortable on it. I would love nothing more than to toss it out the kitchen window.
Proudest DIY: Putting up the Tempaper Wallpaper in the Nursery. I can't even take full credit since my mom stayed up till 3 am hanging it for me while I was seven months pregnant. But man, every time I walk by the nursery, I get a little giddy that my home has something so pretty in it.
Biggest Indulgence: Honestly — nothing! We splurge on traveling; everything else we find in random flea markets or put together with cartoon instructions and an allen wrench.
Best Advice: Buy what you like and buy what you can afford. When I worked in luxury markets, I felt pressured to spend money above my pay grade to buy what was deemed "acceptable." I would disproportionately spend money on things that I thought we had to have in order to create an acceptable home. Fortunately, I became friends with an amazingly talented interior designer who taught me to laugh at the nonsense of "designer" and, instead, showed me the value in making a home that was livable, affordable and filled with things that told our story. Who knew that the secret to creating a home you love came with gaining some self-confidence?
Dream Sources: I would love for Pulp Design to take over my home. We lucked out when they designed our nursery for us. Working with pieces we already had and a really honest budget, they created a space that makes me happy every time I see it. I can only imagine what the rest of our flat would look like if they waved their magic wand over it.
Resources of Note:
• Console Table: Fashion For Home
• Mirror: Left by previous tenant
• Tray: John Derian
• Rug: IKEA
• Rug: John Lewis
• Coffee Table: IKEA
• Rose pillow: Inherited from my grandmother
• Blue quilted pillows: Pottery Barn
• TV Stand: Portobello Road Market
• Table: IKEA
• Chairs: IKEA
• Corner Cabinet: Antique Market
• Salt & Pepper Stand: Portobello Road Market
• Bedding: Restoration Hardware
• Hardware on chest of drawers: Anthropologie
• Chair: Antique
• Gold Mirror: Charity Shop in Oxford
• Tray: Liberty of London
• Glass Bottle: Antique Store in Avignon, France
• Wallpaper: Tempaper
• Couch: IKEA
• Crib: IKEA
• Chest of drawers: Previous tenant left it here upon move out, we repainted it
• Chest Hardware: Anthropologie
• Lamp: John Lewis
• Gold Animals: Pulp Home
• Rug: IKEA
• Date Print: Ruka Ruka
• Family Illustration: Hue & Hum
Thanks, Lauren and Tyler!
(Images: Eleanor Busing)
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