This Colorful London Home Isn’t Afraid of White Walls
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Name: Anatolia, husband, Frank; and two daughters, Amelia and Gisella
Location: London, United Kingdom
Size: 972 square feet
Type of home: A three-bedroom 1930s terraced house
Years lived in: 24 years, owned
Originally from Italy, Anatolia describes her home — a three-bedroom terraced house built in the 1930s — as a “Mediterranean oasis in the middle of London.” But it’s not just the Mediterranean that has inspired the home she shares with her family (husband Frank and two daughters), their travels in other regions around the world have had a visual impact on the home they’ve owned for 24 years. “The green bathroom wall tiles were inspired by the beautiful zellige tiles that we saw in Morocco, but also by the amazing emerald waters of the Mexican cenotes we dived into. The terrazzo floor tiles were inspired by the floors in all Italian period palazzos,” she describes.
Apartment Therapy Survey
My style: I tend to not just stick to a particular style or trend; I love to experiment with different designs, and mix various materials and colors to create visual interest to an interior whilst keeping it harmonious and tasteful.
Inspiration: Most of the time the inspiration to my interior design or decor comes from our travels around the world. The green bathroom wall tiles were inspired by the beautiful zellige tiles that we saw in Morocco, but also by the amazing emerald waters of the Mexican cenotes we dived into. The terrazzo floor tiles were inspired by the floors in all Italian period palazzos.
Favorite element: My favorite spot in the house is sitting at the dining table in my bright and airy kitchen. I’m always drawn to nature so whether I’m eating, having coffee with a friend, working on my laptop or with the sewing machine, this is the place I love to sit at, as I can enjoy a full view of the garden during all seasons.
Biggest challenge: When we bought this house, the previous owners had already built a kitchen extension. But it was a rectangular box that didn’t offer the light I was craving, and it did not have enough storage space. Both me and my husband love cooking and baking, so having a kitchen that didn’t have enough storage and work surfaces was a real problem for us. I had this vision of having friends and family around and us all being in one room while I’m cooking, and that simply wasn’t an option in the space we had before. It was also very, very dark; no matter how much I made the space look pretty, it just didn’t feel like a very pleasant space to be.
So in 2020, after years of hard saving and extensive research, we decided to demolish the current extension and rebuild a new, bigger one. We found that gaining extra square meters by building out wasn’t enough of an answer to what I wanted to achieve. We thought that a good way to accentuate the feeling of space was to go higher so instead of a flat roof, we went for a high double-pitched roof and a large expanse of glass, which allows a seamless link to the garden. So now 320 square feet of kitchen space feels more like 640! Also, thanks to four large skylight windows on the vaulted ceiling, we can now enjoy long hours of daylight even in the winter and on a clear night; if we turn off all the nearby lights, we can even do a bit of stargazing!
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My kitchen’s cabinetry is custom built and surprisingly it did not cost any much more than it would have cost me if bought from a kitchen showroom. I know because I went around to about seven of them, but I was never satisfied with what they were offering. They were too standard and very limiting in size, design, and colors. Then, by chance, I met a very talented furniture maker and although he had only built one kitchen before (his own!), he made me realize that I could have the kitchen of my dreams! My kitchen now fits the space and my needs like a glove. The kitchen is full of bespoke details: The depth of the wall cabinets was planned to accommodate my largest dinner plates. The tall cabinets are higher than standard. The kitchen plinths, which is the wasted space underneath the cupboards, are traditionally always between 10 to 15 centimeters high, but our kitchen fitter suggested reducing that to 5 centimeters to enable us to have more usable cabinet space — ingenious! I’ve got a special socket built into the kitchen island cabinet, under the cooker, so I can plug in my whisk next to the hob [stove]. And I got to choose the color for the cabinets: “Oval Room Blue,” of Farrow & Ball, which is one of my favorite blues.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? One of our most favorite products in our home is the pocket sliding system for our doors. When we renovated the whole of the ground floor at the same time as extending, many of our interior walls came down, so we had the opportunity to install pocket doors. These are doors that slide in to a wall cavity so that, when fully opened, the door virtually disappears into the wall. We have three of these in our house. They helped to maximize the space, increasing floor and wall space for furniture and interior design.
Also, our new bidet setup in both of our bathrooms is something we are very proud of and the decision to have it was down to some quick thinking done at the right time. In fact, at the time that we were having plumbing work done in the bathrooms, we asked our plumber to run hot water pipes (as well as the standard cold ones) all the way to the toilet (as well as the sink and shower). Thanks to affordable bidet attachments which we purchased from Amazon.co.uk, we now can regulate the temperature of the water. We now have a fully functioning bidet washlet within the toilet, allowing for a pleasant hygienic experience.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small-space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Our cleverly hidden laundry/pantry room is built in a cabinet within the kitchen and is a brilliant use of an otherwise wasted corner. Sometimes I forget to show it to my visitors, and when I go to open the doors to get something and I hear them exclaiming “WOW!” because they didn’t expect a whole room behind the cabinet doors!
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t be afraid of white walls! In Italy, where I’m from, we tend to paint our walls white and add pops of color with art, prints, plates, tapestries, and other wall decor. White walls also offer the best backdrop to make stand-out furniture pop.
When looking to buy items of furniture, first look at Facebook Marketplace. My oak Habitat dining table, my IKEA yellow armchair, and my pair of Wayfair blue chairs were all purchased second-hand, but in like-new condition, on FB marketplace. It’s a real treasure trove and a fantastic place to make a lot of savings.
PAINT & COLORS
- Kitchen cabinets — “Oval Room Blue” Farrow and Ball
- Bench seat — Wayfair.co.uk
- Star doormat — Amazon.co.uk
- Blue velvet sofa — Wayfair.co.uk
- Cushions — HomeSense, Dunelm
- Canvas art — HomeSense
- Rug — Brought back from Morocco
- Mirror — The Range
- Cabinetry/joinery — @bespoke_joinery_london
- Glass doors — @ddg.windows
- Quartz worktop — Stone Surface ltd
- Pendant lights — Lucide
- Cooker hob — Bora Cooking Systems
- Oven — Samsung
- Flooring — Topps Tiles
- Sink — Franke
- Tap — Amazon.co.uk
- Star tiles — Tilezone
- Flower prints on brick wall — YVEPRINTCO
- Black light — Lucide
- Wallpaper — Wallpaper Direct
- Japanese drawer chest — HomeSense
- Wall tiles — Tiles Direct
- Floor tiles — Your Tiles
- Sink vanity unit — eBay
- Mirror — eBay
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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