SL Meets: House Curious | sheerluxe.com

SL Meets: House Curious

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There are houses, and then there are houses. Then there’s Pinterest, and House Curious – a home in which every room embraces a ridiculously chic interiors trend, from velvet and brass in the cosy yet opulent living room to hexagon tiles and industrial lighting in the basement bar. But House Curious is so much more than just a house.

We caught up with creative entrepreneur, mum and Australian in London Sommer Pyne to find out more about her stunning Wandsworth home, love for design and her totally original business, House Curious…

What’s the concept?

House Curious is a unique, private space to host fun and imaginative workshops and events for the inquisitive. We partner up with local designers, artisans and makers to bring exciting and fresh learning experiences to kindred souls keen to share food and stories around a table. You can expect cooking workshops, photography, interior and food styling, wine and cheese tasting, craft nights, wellness days, mother and baby afternoons, the list is endless. Add the occasional intimate supper club and pop up shop to the mix and there you have it… That’s House Curious.

Where did the idea come from?

I’ve been based in London for the last 12 years, but I grew up in the sunny climes of Sydney, Australia. House Curious is a coming together of my Australian lifestyle and the rich creative tapestry of London living. I’ve always been a keen traveller and explorer with a passion for food, interiors and design and I wanted to bring all these passions to one place to share with other like-minded people. 

Do you see House Curious as your home or your business? How do you separate the two?

My home is at the heart of everything I do; it’s my workplace, a place to relax and it’s my family home that I hope to create lots of lovely memories in. Ultimately it’s my home first and my business fits around my family and lifestyle. A lot of what I do doesn’t feel like work because it’s my passion and I love sharing these experiences with other people.

Tell us about the journey from the concept to now…

It took about two years to plan and build. The building works went on for about a year and a half. The interiors are mostly done now but it will take some time to get it exactly as I want it. Art buying is the bit that takes the longest, you can’t build up a collection overnight. Same goes for interesting and unique furniture – it takes time to build this up to give the place even more character. I also want to get some beautiful family photos up on the wall.

How did you cope with the build, being a mum?

It was really stressful and we spent every waking moment thinking about the design and materials – I never want to look at another paint or material sample again! We actually moved out for the build as it wasn’t safe or even possible to stay whilst the work was taking place. I’m very lucky because my husband Will and I shared most of the workload and worked on the designs together but even still it was a strain on all of us.

How much of the house do you use as a business?

We mostly use the kitchen and dining area and the basement bar area for the workshops. We’re lucky that we have a big enough space that my daughter and husband can be playing in one area and a workshop can be taking place in another room.

What did you do before House Curious?

I was in advertising for 12 years and worked with brands such as L’Oreal, Magnum Ice Cream, Lynx, Sure and Nestle confectionary to name a few, which I absolutely loved for the creativity and the fact that no day was ever the same. I reached a point where I wanted to do something more meaningful and have more time for my family. Running my own business gives me more freedom and flexibility. If you’re not jumping out of bed excited for the day ahead then it’s time to move on and that’s exactly what I did.

What’s been the biggest challenge?

When you’re first starting out you tend to do everything yourself and it’s a challenge to do it all well. I really struggle with time and I’m often working late into the night with early starts. It’s exhausting but worth it because I’m living my dream and it won’t always be like this.

Any highlights?

My first event with Anna Barnett was sold out and we had to turn people away so that was a really good feeling. There’s always that fear people won’t buy tickets but I’ve been lucky so far. We also just had our first Shine Bright workshop, which included yoga and sound healing, a cookery class plus nutritional guidance and life coaching. It was probably our best workshop yet and there were some incredible connections made on the day. There was so much love and positivity in the room it really was quite special.

How do you work home life around the business?

I’m very conscious that I can sometimes work too much and lately I’ve made designated family time where I don’t pick up the phone or look at emails, especially at the weekends. Having quality time with my family is one of the reasons I started working for myself. I’m very selective with who I work with and it’s not about quantity it’s quality so I tend to only have one workshop a month rather that every other day.

Who do you work with?

I work with people who I think are incredibly talented and who inspire me. I collaborate with Anna Barnett a lot and my first workshop was with her and was a huge success. We’re putting on another Ultimate Dinner Party Menu cookery workshop in October. I’ve also worked with Earl of East London and Quill London who I absolutely adore.

What’s the five year plan?

I want to grow the House Curious brand through the workshops and events and then eventually extend it into an online shop. I also have an exciting idea for a book that I would love to launch in five year’s time.

What’s coming up for the business?

I’ve got a good sense of subjects we can base future workshops on, but the way my company develops and the workshops and events we put on will be largely influenced by serendipity. It might sound daft, but I’m a big believer in the power of people you meet and the connections you make. This will help inspire and ultimately determine the shape that House Curious takes. We’ll launch an online store in the next couple of months so you can take a piece of the house’s style away and add future events, but people and culture will be the driving force behind the House Curious brand.

The house has such a distinctive style. Where did you look for inspiration?

I get a lot of my inspiration from my travels, boutique hotels, bars and restaurants and I collect interiors mags, too. 

Did you have any training or are the interiors a reflection of your personal style?

I would say I’m self-taught; I’ve always had a passion for interiors and design and it comes naturally to me. I just go with my gut and what feels right.

Favourite interiors stores?

I shop online at Rockett St George and I also love Abigail Ahern and West Elm.

Favourite budget interiors?

Ikea is still a favourite and I tend to make my pieces unique by the way I dress or paint them. There are lots of clever Ikea hacks out there.

Favourite trends this year?

I’m still a big fan of marble and brass, which you will see throughout my house.

Where do you buy your art?

From all over really – Nelly Duff, art fairs and I cut pictures out of books and frame them. Recently I was fortunate to befriend artist Will Ayres. He loaned us a beautiful oil painting that hangs in our cinema room and I hope one day we’ll have some commissioned work from him. This particular piece is a reimagining of the traditional still life inspired by Dutch masters of the 17th and 18th Centuries. 

Do you have a favourite room in the house?

It changes all the time but I would have to say my bedroom and bathroom area. It’s where I switch off and have some time to truly relax. I do a lot of thinking in that lovely large bath and think we all need a place that’s calming where we can recharge.

Favourite piece?

I love my turquoise velvet sofa from Designers Guild it looks gorgeous against my dark walls. I’ve just ordered another one in dusty pink for my dressing room.

How do you start designing a room?

It’s different all the time. I usually start with how I want a room to feel. Is it cosy, dark and mysterious or is it quirky and fun? Then I start to think about the textures and materials. I’ll create a mood board with all the colours and textures and then start working in pieces of furniture until I’m happy. Sometimes I do this physically on a board or on Pinterest. I also follow lots of different blogs from around the world for inspiration.

How would you describe House Curious’ style?

I would say it’s quite eclectic as I love to mix old with new. I take a lot of inspiration from commercial properties such as boutique hotels, cafes and bars and I love industrial cues but like to soften the style with light flowing curtains and materials such as leather, velvets and fluffy rugs. A theme in my house is polished concrete floors, brass and marble but each room has its own personality. Some rooms are moody with inky dark walls and accents of rich colour. Other rooms are light and have more of Scandinavian feel. I would get bored if my house was all one style but the trick is to make sure that it all flows and nothing jars.

Tell us about the rooms…

Reception rooms:

(light reception) This is the family room where we all hang out. We used cool greys and blue as the accent colour. (dark reception) This is for adults only pre-dinner drinks and cocktails or to hide away and look at the many different art books we have on display. It’s dark and indulgent with splashes of marble, brass and rich velvets.

Palmeral Large Velvet Cushion, £155 | House Of Hackney

Oscar Three Seat Sofa, Deep Turquoise, £1,990 | Oscar

Coastal Echeveria In White Pot, £8 | John Lewis

Terry O’Neill Book, £35.75 | Amazon

Ceramic Navy Vase, £18 | Bloomingville

Terrace Bar Cart, £349 | West Elm

Pineapple, Gold, £48 | Pols Potten

Round Marble Coffee Table, £185 | Rockett St George

The Basics Glass Bell Jar, £15 | John Lewis

Luxe Berber Rug, From £175 | John Lewis

Baies Noire Candle, £55 | Diptyque

Crawford Coffee Table, £319 | Swoon Editions

Master bedroom, dressing room and bathroom:

I wanted to create a space where I could completely relax and be a little indulgent. White washed floors juxtaposed with light grey walls and flowing white curtains and shutters create a light breezy feeling. We knocked through to the other room to create a large master with walk-in wardrobe and dressing room. The bathroom is open plan and you can see the large oval bath and marble vanity unit from the bed. We removed the original window in the bathroom and added an oriel window – the idea is that you can sit there and dream away. I’ve been a little indulgent with fixtures and fittings for ultimate luxury. The dressing room table and walk-in is all bespoke and we used an interior designer to help draw up our vision.

 

   

Fitted Sheet, £12.99 | H&M
  

House Doctor Aston Brass Pendant, £70 | Ross & Brown
  

Linen Duvet Cover Set, Pink, £79.99 | H&M
   

Prism Metal Round Coffee Table, White, £49.99 | Maisons Du Monde
   

Copper Bronze Shade, £400 | Tom Dixon
  

Sky Circles Print, £180 | Holly’s House
    

Seagrass Basket, £33 | Bloomingville
   

Andersen Wood Round Mirror, £59.99 | Maisons Du Monde
   

Resurrection Aromatique Hand Wash, £27 | Aesop
   

Metal Wire Basket, £9.99 | H&M

Basement bar and cinema room:

We wanted to create a home bar that felt more like a sleek, commercial space. I named the bar after my Nanna’s two loves, Scotch and Ted (her husband); I like to add personal touches like this and it’s always a great talking point. The bar has a brass top and we used wood panelling at the front of the bar to add warmth and reclaimed wood elsewhere. The use of planter boxes was one of the best decisions I have made, as I love getting as much greenery as I can get into a space. There’s a mixture of old ship and industrial light fittings we used metro tiles as a backdrop, which always gives so much character to a room. I had a company called Made by Jason fit the bar – they usually do commercial fit outs so they were perfect in helping us get the right look.

I wanted to create a cosy, dark space where you can curl up with a good movie and totally zone out. It’s all about comfort in this room with a plush velvet sofa – from Camerich customised with velvet from Designers Guild – that hugs you when you sit down. I wanted this room to ooze character and we’ve created this by using industrial-style lights, parquet flooring, panelled walls and a large barn door that we designed and had made by our builders. The artwork is by Will Ayres.
 

 

Luxe Bar Table, £295 | Oliver Bonas
  

Tolix Stool Matte, £55 | Xavier Pauchard
   

Vintage Edison Pendant Light Bulb Holder, £29 | Industville

Stow Large Storage Unit, Copper, £399 | Made

Clouds Sofa, Price on Request | Camerich

Twiggy Limited Edition Photo Frame, £119 | Sonic Editions

Kitchen and dining area:

The kitchen inspiration comes from Sydney spaces with open-plan kitchens with plenty of sunlight. I also wanted to use lots of natural materials such as wood, marble, brass and lots of glass. We used industrial cues like the Sub Zero and Wolf oven and fridge, metal cupboards and brass handles, industrial pendant style lights and polished concrete floors. The sliding glass doors are big and dramatic – I love sliding them open and letting the sun beam right in – and always feel like I’m on holiday in this room.

    

Furniture Knob, Brass, £26 | Buster & Punch
    

Faux Mop Head Hydrangea Stem, £16 | Oka
   

Hanging Armchair, £243 | Made In Design
    

Orientalist Scented Candle, £80 | Tom Dixon
   

Cool Grey Chair, £59 | Charles Eames
   

Heavy Metal, Rose Copper, £125 | Buster & Punch

Europalms Banana Tree, £66.34 | LTT

Glass Vases, from £6.45 | All Things Brighton Beautiful

Seagrass Basket, £26 | Bloomingville

 

 

 

 

 

 

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