A Stylish Home Renovation Explained

Interior designer Lucy Barlow is often asked to create homes full of charm and character. The following client wanted not just that, but to retain as much of the existing furniture and fittings as possible and design a space which met the needs of a growing family. Here, the Barlow & Barlow founder explains how she did it…
JONATHAN BOND

The Property

Our clients had been living in this property for a few years by the time we met them, but they wanted to extend it in line with the needs of their growing family – they’re parents to two young daughters. As such, we added a rear extension, side return and converted the loft – in fact, we reconfigured a lot of the space. A total redecoration throughout followed – a new kitchen, bathrooms... everything! However, for budget reasons, we were asked to keep a lot of the client’s old fittings and furniture. 

The Hallway

We kept the original Victorian floor, as well as an existing shelf and the lighting, but painted the wall to dado height in a bright coral and added a new runner to the staircase. We also installed a vintage factory window to allow for some light to flow through from the living room and connect the spaces. The original London bus stop sign is a special piece for the couple – they met at a bus stop.

The Kitchen/Family Room

Here, we were asked to create a large space full of natural light and colour – with plenty of adult and child-friendly areas. Our clients wanted a large central island that four people could sit at, and lots of low- and high-level cupboards for maximum storage. Having the wall units and the island in two different colours added drama to the space, even when the colour palette was mainly pastels – specifically blues and soft pinks. Glass helped break up the painted finish and add another texture in to the space – because it’s fluted, you also get a flash of the tiles that line the cupboards above it, which is a smart touch. Finally, natural woods and marbles kept the space feeling fresh and light, complementing the nearby garden. 

The Playroom Snug

The clients wanted a playroom which they could see from the kitchen, so we incorporated an internal glass window to flood the space with natural light. Ikea toy storage is so versatile, and helps keep the space in some sort of order, while also being easy to access.

The Home Office

This is the front room of the house – it’s quite a small space, but it’s where the adults work in the day, and watch movies at night. That’s why it has his and her desks, with upholstered pink boards above. We painted the existing fireplace in a lacquer yellow to give it a bit of impact. The light fitting the clients owned already.

The Downstairs Cloakroom

The brief always specified having a small green and pink downstairs cloakroom. It’s one of our studio’s favourite colour combinations and the clients fully embraced it. These kinds of spaces are great for experimenting with brighter, more exuberant colour palettes you might not be brave enough to use elsewhere. The wallpaper is by Ottoline Devries and the pink tiles are from Porcelain Superstore; they’re laid in a basketweave format. We also refurbished a vintage console table from eBay and installed a bright yellow ceramic sink to form the vanity unit. It adds more of an eclectic vibe.

The Bedroom

This master suite took a lot of planning and reconfiguring – the clients had quite a long list of requirements for a relatively small space. The only sacrifice we made was bedside tables, but there is a shelf behind the bed for a book and a glass of water. If you don’t have floor space for bedside tables and lamps, you can mount them on the wall instead.

I love the combination of animal print and feminine florals here – the leopard print gives the florals some attitude and the florals tone down the garishness of the leopard. If you’re nervous about how to mix different prints, the key is to experiment. There’s also a lovely green velvet headboard and a mirror above the bed to bounce light around the room to make it feel bigger. We put reclaimed timber doors on a slider mechanism between the bedroom and en-suite bathroom – it offers a bohemian edge and is also a great way to reuse vintage doors. You never want everything to be brand new in a space. 

The En-Suite

The finish on the wall is green tadelakt – sticking to one finish on everything makes small spaces feel less pokey. The bathroom fittings are by Studio Ore and the wall lights are from Astro.

The Children’s Bedrooms

The client wanted the children’s bedrooms to feel playful, so we went for a look that embodied femininity and prettiness. White walls with pink woodwork looks fresh and delicate, and it’s complemented by pink check curtains from Ian Mankin.

The Family Bathroom

We went for pink and mustard in here because it’s appropriate for a child's space without being too sickly for any adults who have to use it as well. The mustard tiles are from Fired Earth and the pink floor tiles are by Bert & May. The vanity unit was designed by us and made by the builder on the project. I love the curtain – it softens the space and adds more texture, colour and print. It’s also good to hide ‘stuff’ behind! As before, the bathroom fittings are by Studio Ore and the wall lights are from Astro. The rattan mirror is from Maisons du Monde and the stool was the client’s own.

 
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Photography by Jonathan Bond

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