This London Home Inspired by ’90s Teen Movies Will Have You Saying ‘As If’
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Textile designer, interior designer, and London Loom founder Francesca Kletz says she’s loved the color pink since she was a child, and so when her and partner, visual artist and director Robert Strange, bought this 775-square-foot home in East London three years, there was a strong chance pink would show up. But that’s not the only passion of hers that fills the compact but organized space. Also a fan of floral prints and teen movies from the 1990s, those influences are expressed in the decor, as well as a mix of both Francesca and Robert’s backgrounds, too.
“Robert is a Kiwi and I’m a Jewish Londoner so our ideas about living space really is an amalgamation of all these places and heritages,” Francesca explains. “Lots of our posters are from NZ and Israel and I think the brightness is very Middle Eastern/Antipodean and a bit of Camden and Soho thrown in, too.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: I always loved the color pink, and since I was about 5 years old have wanted to paint my entire home in it. I love lots of color together or mismatching colors and textures. I love floral prints from any decade and style and I like to put them together. I like small unexpected details like Edward Scissorhands or our lilac David statue we bought in Florence.
Inspiration: Anything colorful, a bit retro inspired, inspired by films like “Romy & Michele,” “But I’m a Cheerleader,” and “Clueless.” We love pop videos, cartoons, as well as the cities of Tokyo and Tel Aviv and the juxtaposition between all those places and things.
Favorite Element: Our views are amazing; it’s what really sold the apartment to us — we overlook a square in Hackney and have a very pretty garden in the back so we have a beautiful view from every window, which is incredibly rare for Central London.
Biggest Challenge: We decided to change the structure of our kitchen and bathroom entirely to create a bigger kitchen with lots of light. We started in March 2020 so there’s no need to explain why it was extra difficult to get it finished. I think it’s also so difficult when you make big decisions about interiors because it’s expensive to change anything so there’s a lot of pressure to get it right. In the end I really sat down with the layout of the kitchen and tried to envision making some of my favorite dishes — how would I navigate the space? I’m so pleased with the way the kitchen turned out; I think it’s beautiful, a pleasure to sit in, and extremely functional.
Proudest DIY: I always think of our peach chest of drawers as my proudest DIY moment. I stripped it, sanded it, and brought it back to life. I inherited it from an old flatmate and it’s such a beautifully made piece but was in desperate need of revival.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? There is only so much space in a two-bedroom flat, especially when everyone works from home a lot. We made sure that our bedroom cupboards took up hidden space by the fireplace. Also moving the wall between the kitchen and bathroom gave us not only more space but a kitchen — that you wouldn’t expect in a small flat — and a tiny bathroom, which still looks chic and has everything we need.
What are your favorite products. bought for your home and why? I love our speakers! We are really sensitive to sounds and Robert has rigged everything up in every room so that we can set the noise/music/TV exactly how we like it. It makes a huge difference!
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Have cut out or flat handles in the kitchen! Handles take up so much space! Shelves up high are also so good. We have a high up shelf in the bathroom for towels and it’s a life saver. We’re going to put one above the door in the bedroom soon too for books.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? For picking colors I would say make sure you get samples of everything you like the look of and then lay them all out together like a palette to see what works. I really hate white and grey and black together in a home, I feel like as soon as you incorporate a couple of colors it becomes so much homier. Also if you’re physically changing a space — speak to an architect — even if you think you have it all figured out they will know how to make the most of your space — their knowledge is priceless.
PAINT & COLORS
- Valspar “Tender Romance”
- Toilet — “Little Greene” Ultra Blue
- Lighting — Vintage
- Coat hooks — MADE
Thanks Francesca and Robert!
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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