Lizzie and Phil's Bold and Playful
West-End Pad

House Tour

Name: Lizzie and Phil Ford
Location: West-end, Glasgow, Scotland
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years; Owned

When Lizzie joined her husband Phil in his Victorian tenement flat three years ago, it was a little lacking in personality. Since then, it is fair to say that the space has been completely transformed. Utterly offended by the huge expanse of magnolia, she attacked it with gusto, desperate to breathe some life and color into the walls and make the flat an expression and extension of their style, a place that really felt like home. 

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“I used to look around and just think, I hate that beige rug, I hate that beige sofa, nothing about me is found in all these things; I can’t live here a minute longer. I must have driven Phil crazy!” Three animal-themed wallpapers and a few pots of scarily bright paint later, the flat has become a homey, fun environment for relaxing, spending time with friends and making rather a lot of mess with their six-month old daughter, Maisie.

Interestingly, this traditional Victorian block of tenement flats (of the type prevalent throughout Glasgow and Edinburgh) was hit by a stray bomb in the Second World War and has since been re-built. The building was reconstructed with the same classic, blonde sand-stone style on the exterior, but with clean, modern lines and a less-typical open-plan interior. Everywhere you turn there is something interesting to look at. “I like my senses to be stimulated,” Lizzie explains. “I did a lot of travelling as a student and everywhere I went I’d pick something up, imagining how one day I would integrate it into my home.” 

She also loves the markets, jumble sales, second-hand shops and antique fairs tucked down the back alleys and hidden lanes of Glasgow’s West End, and although there are a couple of items that they “blew some cash on”, much of the interior is composed of items the couple have foraged for in this way. For example, the beautiful library ladder in the living room was salvaged by a friend from a bin outside Glasgow’s Mitchell Library and is probably around a hundred years old. “That was a particularly lucky find,” she smiles.

There is a playfulness and child-like bravery to this home that is infectious. You may leave leave with your spirit feeling a little lighter, a spring in your step and a compelling desire to paint a wall purple.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Colorful, kitschy and quirky.

Inspiration: A lot of my inspiration has come from my travels. For example, the jade green used in the kitchen is the exact same shade as an entire gypsy house in a tiny village in Romania I saw when I was eighteen. I loved it so much I knew I wanted to reflect it in my own home one day. Other rooms have been built around a few key pieces that I have found and fallen in love with — a big old chest here, a record player or Moroccan bowl there. I like to mix up my time periods and try and avoid over-kill of anything!

Favorite Element: My old farmhouse kitchen table. It just feels like home to me. We picked it up secondhand from an old man in a small town in the Highlands of Scotland. He cried as he gave it to us, telling us how he raised five sons around it and that every mark or paint-splatter tells a story. I love the thought of building our own memories as a family on the happy foundation of someone else’s.

Biggest Challenge: Trying to show some restraint! I was so desperate to put my stamp on this place, I’m happy to admit I might have taken it a step too far at times! Being patient and spending time in the space before making too many decisions too quickly was certainly a challenge.

What Friends Say: That they immediately feel at home here — that it feels fun and full of life. People who know me well say it’s like an explosion of me! I like people to feel relaxed and welcome in my home, like I’m not going to freak out if they spill a drink or smash a plate.

Biggest Embarrassment: There is a cupboard in the kitchen that only I am allowed to open. There is a very special knack to ensuring there isn’t a disastrous Tupperware avalanche! Every time I look in there, I promise myself I’m going to sort it out … tomorrow.

Proudest DIY: Putting up an old-fashioned cast-iron laundry pulley in the kitchen. The ceilings are so tall (15ft) that it was a pretty treacherous task and I’m not going to tell you how many holes we had to drill before we found the joist!

Biggest Indulgence: My Beware The Moon ostrich wallpaper in the main living area. It doesn’t come cheap but it is so beautiful, I just couldn’t let it go — what’s not to love about scribbly ostriches with their heads buried in tiny piles of golden sand?!

Best Advice:  Be brave and bold and don’t worry about what anyone else is going to think. It’s your home so it should look and feel like you.

Dream Sources:  I love Anthropologie — I would be dangerous in there with a free reign. But to be honest, let me loose at a great antiques market and I’m in my element. Mixing the old up with a few carefully selected pieces from designers like James Harrison or Graham and Green would be budget-free bliss!

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Resources of Note:

WALLPAPER

  • Restroom wallpaper - Pet Sounds by Mini Moderns 
  • Living Room wallpaper – Ostrich by Beware the Moon 
  • Hall wallpaper – Collette by Sandberg 
  • Bedroom 1 wallpaper – Vintage Fleurette by Arthouse

KITCHEN/DINING AREA

  • Table and church pew – eBay 
  • Chairs – salvage yard 
  • Vintage framed advertisement, flower pots on the windowsill – thrift shop 
  • Purple casserole dishes – Le Creuset 
  • Moroccan bowl – Marrakech Souk 
  • Ceramic rolling pin – Anthropologie 
  • Clock – Newgate 
  • Appliances – Delonghi 
  • Sonny and Cher Cookie Jar – Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas 
  • Cast-iron Laudry Pulley – Cast In Style 
  • Copper Lampshades – Ikea 
  • Painting – Ian Elliot 
  • DAB Radio - Roberts

LIVING ROOM

  • Sofas reupholstered in fabrics from Sanderson Cushions – John Lewis and handmade 
  • Lamps and mantle mirror – John Lewis 
  • Clock – Newgate 
  • Record Player – Crosley 
  • Storage Units – Ikea and Gumtree 
  • Frames – Salvation Army 
  • Bird Lino Prints – John Jones 
  • Singer Sewing Machine and vintage typewriter- thrift 
  • Girl in a box painting – Donald MacDonald
  • Hall Mirrors – Ruthven Mews Antiques, Glasgow 
  • Bookshelves  - Ikea 
  • Views from a train window prints – John Jones 
  • Spanish tin sign – antiques fair in Argentina 
  • Painting ‘Passing the note’ – Alan King 
  • Painting of woman – Kezia Hall 

RESTROOM

  • Vogue Mirror - Ruthven Mews Antiques, Glasgow
  • Vintage framed advertisement – thrift

BEDROOM

  • Bed Linen and Brass lamp – John Lewis
  • DAB Radio - Marshall
  • Wicker hampers and chair - Ruthven Mews Antiques, Glasgow

NURSERY

  • Frames – thrift and Ikea
  • Cushions – handmade
  • Cotbed – Kub
  • Lamp – John Lewis
  • Wooden Moose Trophy –  Miho Unexpected Things
  • Dachshund Clock – The Labrador Company
  • Rug – Anthropologie
  • Chain of birds and bells – Notonthehighstreet.com

EN SUITE

  • Mirror - Ruthven Mews Antiques, Glasgow
  • Bunting – Wonderfully Made, Etsy


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(Images: Lizzie Ford)

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