Sarah’s Contemporary Color in London

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Name: Sarah Redshaw
Location: Wimbledon, London, United Kingdom
Size: 905 square feet
Years lived in: 13 years; owned

For most of its life, Sarah’s South London terraced home had a traditional two-up, two-down layout. But after 12 years of ownership, Sarah decided that the arrangement wasn’t working for her anymore. She craved more space, more light, and a more contemporary feel. Rather than move to a different home, Sarah opted to renovate and extend — and she knew just who to call for reinforcements.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

You might remember Rutger, Sarah’s friend-cum-interior designer, from his own house tour earlier this year. Fresh from a year off work, during which he re-trained as an interior designer, and armed with newfound passion and technical skills, Rutger designed an extension to the house, sourced furniture and fixtures, and project managed the whole build, including organizing structural engineers, planning notification, soil analysis, and so on. In her own admission, Sarah “just went to work and came home evenings… to a building site”.

Rutger’s vision for Sarah’s home included a 3 metre extension into the garden, opening up the doorway from the front room, and a brand new kitchen in between. Two sets of bespoke built-in cupboards, offset from each other on opposite sides of the room, conceal the refrigerator, boiler and a ton of storage. The icing on the cake is the vibrant shade of orange which appears on several accent walls on the main floor, inspired by a floral painting that Sarah already owned.

The extension itself features folding glass doors, traditional tongue-and-groove ceiling and a contemporary skylight. Sarah’s neighbours had extended before her, so Rutger decided to work with the exposed brick wall they’d been granted, and incorporate the texture into the mix of wood, orange paint and slate tile in the rest of the space.

Though by her own admission Sarah isn’t the keenest cook (one reason she wanted the kitchen in the middle of the property), she entertains friends rather a lot these days. With a party pad like this, I can see why.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Contemporary with a mix of bright and subdued warm colours, simple and Zen-like. Not too much fuss and clutter free. A place you can come home to and relax after work.

Favorite Element: Bi-folds opening up to the garden. Stunning in summer! Rutger was not convinced at the beginning but I think he likes them now as well.

Biggest Challenge: Living at a building site for 5 months. I decided to stay in the house, upstairs in my bedroom, with a fridge and a microwave. It was cold and very dusty.

What Friends Say: Friends can’t believe the difference. The place feels airy and bright and calm. They like the combination of dark wood paneling and the glossy kitchen surface together with the pale oak floorboards.

Biggest Embarrassment: Making a fuss about the fact that the made-to-measure television cabinet didn’t fit my DVD player (which was true…), only to discover, when the builders and joiners had gone, that the DVD player was broken anyway. So I bought a new, smaller size that fit in the cupboard for only £30.

Proudest DIY: I am not big on DIY and much prefer gardening. I would have had an electrician come in to hang a lamp! In the end Rutger did it for me.

Biggest Indulgence: To have the back doors open on sunny days and be able to take my G&T into the garden. The decking is in the same tone as the inside floor, so the continuity works very well.

Best Advice: Don’t invite your elderly parents over for Christmas when your new bi-folds have not been installed yet. The opening was boarded up until 22 December, and when the doors finally arrived there was no more time for the joiner to finish the inside. Christmas was a building site!

Dream Sources: Ligne Roset, Heals, Habitat

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:



    • Orange walls downstairs: Rich Havana 4 by Dulux


    • Sofa: Camerich
    • Chair: Habitat
    • Rug: Habitat


    • Kitchen units: Shuller
    • Taps: Waterline
    • Work surface: Silestone, Amazon leather
    • Backsplash: Topps Tiles, Sheera slate
    • Pendant lights: Heals
    • Stools: Ikea


    • Cupboard veneer: Mundy, newood
    • Wood flooring: Reeves, woodland sawn 190
    • Wall lights: Heals
    • Chair: Habitat


    • Oak furniture: Marks&Spencer
    • Mirrors: John Lewis

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Sarah!

(Images: Eleanor Busing)

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