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A Renovated 1930s House in London Is Bursting With Charm

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Katy Orme, partner Jules, 2-year-old daughter, and Golden Retriever Otto
Ladywell — London, UK
860 square feet

Katy Orme, the interiors and DIY blogger behind the website Apartment Apothecary, happens to live what looks like a very charming life. She shares this house in Ladywell with her partner Jules, adorable daughter Mimi, and fluffy pup Otto. Built in the 1930s, it’s obviously been a labor of love renovating this older house into a home, but Katy has done a beautiful job honoring the architecture’s historical roots while blending in modern family conveniences. And just like her last home we toured, this one is a dreamy showcase of vintage finds, Scandinavian-inspired decor, and budget-friendly ideas.

Describe your home’s decor style in 5 words: Vintage Scandinavian White Simple Light

What’s your favorite thing about your home? When we moved in to our house we knocked down all the walls downstairs to make one open-plan living space and I love the fact that the room opens up straight onto the garden and the light flows through the whole downstairs all day.

What’s your least favorite thing about your home? The outside of our house is an absolute mess! We spent all of our budget completely renovating the inside of the house and ran out of money to do anything about the outside. It is covered in brown pebble dash, the front fence is crumbling, and the garden needs so much work.

What city is your home in? How does the space itself and the decor reflect the region? Our house is in south east London. It was built in 1930 at a time when the suburbs in London were expanding rapidly as the number of houses being built exploded to help the economy recover from the Great Depression.

I love 1930s houses as they were purpose built for just one family, as opposed to Victorian houses that often had one family per room. Therefore the layout works perfectly for a family and all of the rooms are very square and well proportioned with big windows.

We have tried to emphasize the original 1930s features such as the original internal doors, picture rail, and banisters by using color on the woodwork and white on the walls. We have also exposed the original floorboards. We reinstalled fireplaces in the bedrooms as they had been removed, although the tiled hearths survived and I sourced a 1930s fire surround for the living room. It is a very typical 1930s house but updated for family living today.

What’s the most recent thing you’ve bought for your home? I’ve been dithering about our bedroom for a long time as I painted it the wrong color when we moved in so I’ve put off committing to any purchases for the room. Once I had repainted I finally bought some bedside tables as I couldn’t find any I liked for ages and it has really spurred me on to finish the room.

What’s your best small space trick? Our house is relatively small with one living space downstairs and three small bedrooms and bathroom upstairs. To make the space feel bigger I used a dark color on the woodwork and below the dado rail in the hallway so that when you leave the hallway and enter the rooms they feel brighter, lighter, and bigger than they actually are. I also used the same color scheme (white walls and Farrow & Ball’s Light Blue on the woodwork) in most rooms so that it almost feels like one continuous space rather than lots of small rooms.

What’s the one thing that makes your space feel like home? All of the antique and vintage pieces that I have collected or inherited over the years make my house feel like home. It is the stories and memories attached to each piece that give me that warm cosy feeling, like the old battered chair in my daughter’s room that belonged to my grandmother or the mirror above my sofa that used to hang in my parents’ wine bar.

Thanks, Katy!

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