A Small London Flat Is “Traditional with a Colorful Twist”

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living room with fireplace, navy blue accent wall, white decorative trim, bookshelves

Sophie Donnelly and her partner, Mark, have owned this 702-square-foot London flat for two years: At our flat you will find Sophie, who works in academic publishing, and Mark, who is a head of PE at a London school. Lily, the black and white cat who has too much sass for her own good, takes on the day-to-day role of customer services manager, keeping everything and everyone in order.

Your home needs to make you smile when you walk around it, but also bring some calm — so we have lots of the same color themes across rooms to allow for that calm flow, but also enough to make you smile or make a room “pop.” We have lots of personal touches — artwork, bits and bobs from our travels, and probably far too many books and plants.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or fewer: Traditional with a colorful twist.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is actually the hallway; the light from the giant sashed window is incredible, and I think it really sets a tone for the rest of the flat. It’s simple, but pops — and that is the motto we have taken with the rest of the flat.

The room I am most proud of is the bathroom; we have managed to make a small room feel very luxurious, light, and bright, even though it is only 1.5 meters wide and without a window!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Aside from cat-related furniture requested by the customer services manager, the last thing I bought was the IKEA Stolthet chopping board. Who knew it could have so many functions (tea and coffee station, recipe book stand, chopping board — the options are endless)? In a small space we have to have things that serve multiple purposes, so I always look out for those.

Any advice for creating a home you love? I have three pieces of advice.

  • Live in it for a season if you can so you know what you want for each room, and fill it with things that make you smile so you know what you want to display.
  • Try not to get stressed if you are doing it up, doing DIY, or whatever it might be while creating your home. Accept you will make some mistakes and some things will go wrong or won’t be quite as you wanted them, so accepting compromise is very important.
  • For those in a fixer-upper, reuse everything you possibly can or upcycle it, because that really is where a lot of our savings were made!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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