April 20, 2018

Before & After: How This London Lawyer Designed Her Dream Home from Scratch

Interview | Trend | Tips | Living room | Colours | Mid-century design

homewings before and after, living room design, living room interior design ideas Where: London UK | Budget: £8,000 | Designer: Emma | Package: Classic

In 2016 Londoners Lauren and James decided to move from their Bermondsey Street flat in Central London to a stunning Victorian terrace in Blackheath. Ready for a fresh start, they sold most of their furniture and embarked on a design journey with Homewings designer Emma.

Lauren and James may not have wanted a home that’s too modern but they have definitely created one made for modern living. Each space serves a purpose, and was designed to effortlessly accommodate every aspect of life. The bold dining room with Ikea's monochrome Stockholm rug, bright red sofa and infamous glass table by Glass Italia is a dream venue for those Friday night dinner parties turned game nights. The cosy ‘orange sofa room’ as Lauren calls it, featuring Loaf's comfortable Pudding sofa, is exactly what a Sunday afternoon curled up with a good book should look like, doubling as a chic cinema room. The common thread in this home seems to be understated, luxurious comfort. Lauren’s love of throws, blankets and ‘anything furry and cosy’ makes sure that each room has an element of utter comfort. The double doors lead to what can only be described as a decor lovers dream. Moody walls, layered rugs, unique pieces like an English tanner's trolley by Lassco and jewel-like sideboard Umberto by Graham & Green; it’s easy to see why this room with Swoon Edition's Sherborne mid-century arm chairs in particular is a favourite hangout spot, particularly for Ernie, the adorable French Bulldog of the house.

Watch the Video: Lauren's Homestory

“I was nervous about moving out of central London at first” Lauren admits, “but now that we’re here I absolutely love it. I don’t think I could go back.”

Ernie on his favourite chair in the sitting room // Photography by Graham Commons

10 Questions About Your Home: Lauren & James

  1. Where is home for you? “Probably Essex at my parents house but we live in Blackheath now and love it.”

  2. What makes a house a home? “A dog, a comfy sofa, a bed and friends close by — and my husband, of course!”

  3. Why did you decide to use Homewings? “Because I was having commitment issues — with furniture that is. Working with a designer was a great forcing mechanism and a way to come up with new ideas because we had just moved house and it felt a bit overwhelming at first.”

  4. What’s your favourite room now that it’s all done? “The TV room with the orange sofa. It’s where we sit each evening as a family — with the fire and a movie on, the dog and a fur blanket.”

  5. What did you like most about the process? “Being introduced to new companies I wasn’t aware of was fun. Working as a team as well, with someone who is a professional and knows what they were doing.”

  6. Your interior style in 3 words: “Eclectic, homely and a little bit glamorous.”

  7. Favourite coffee in London: “Harris & Hoole in London Bridge”

  8. What made you fall in love with this home? “The ceiling heights, the road, the era of the house, the fireplaces - everything! We put an offer in after 20 minutes.”

  9. What’s next? “Floors are being done now, then we’re doing the garden and we’d like a study.”

  10. So, would you say this is your perfect house? “It will be soon.”

Standing in the hallway between Lauren’s cosy cinema room and decadent living room, it’s hard to believe that these completely different spaces weren’t meticulously planned and thought through in advance. “I didn’t have a specific style or vibe I was going for - it was really organic” she says.“I read once that if you just pick things that you love, when it all comes together, it will be your style - I went in with that mindset and now I couldn’t be happier.”

“I read once that if you just pick things that you love, when it all comes together, it will be your style - I went in with that mindset and now I couldn’t be happier.”

Looking around their glamorous yet homely abode, it’s hard to imagine that these bright spaces were once empty. “We started from scratch. I mean, literally started with blank walls and no furniture. Our last flat was so modern. I wanted change and no longer a really generic modern design.”

As Lauren would discover, starting from scratch comes with its very own set of issues, most commonly the paradox of choice. With hundreds of retailers, thousands of items, and substantial price tags attached to each and every decor decision, the process of selecting even a dining table can be a tad overwhelming for an amateur decorator. “I struggle with committing to my decoration decisions, and our dining table is a perfect example. I looked for the perfect piece for eight months, then narrowed it down to three and still questioned which one I really favoured.” Armed with a million ideas, some uncertainty, and the one thing you can’t buy: good taste, Lauren was on a mission to find a solution to her decor conundrum.

“We started from scratch. I mean, literally started with blank walls and no furniture.”

“I saw Homewings in the Telegraph and I thought ‘that sounds like a really cool idea’ so I gave it a go”. In the hopes of facilitating the decision process with the help of a professional interior designer, Lauren started working with her designer, Emma. “As soon as we started, she selected three options for my dining table, and without any prompting, one of the options was the famous glass table I had been so unsure of! That’s when I thought, ‘okay, that’s a sign’ and went with it. After hearing that story, a couple of my friends have used it - A colleague from work has actually just done his dining room.”

BEFORE: Dining Room

AFTER: Dining Room

BEFORE: Living Room

AFTER: Living room

But what of the experience of working with a professional interior designer? Lauren’s husband James is quick to admit that this had always been something she wanted to try, “even when we had just started talking about moving she mentioned she wanted a designer”. With the process being completely online and far more affordable than traditional interior design, even someone looking for a traditional designer was converted: “I absolutely loved it! I loved working with Emma - it was fun and I got on well with her. It was interesting to discuss ideas with a professional designer before actually making the decision to buy.”

BEFORE: Family Room

AFTER: Family Room

Lauren and Ernie sitting in her favourite space in the home.

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