Logo

The evolution of a Camden town house

PUBLISHED: 11:50 04 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:59 10 November 2016

Photographer Christina Wilson at home in Camden Town

Photographer Christina Wilson at home in Camden Town

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A piecemeal approach to interior decorating combined with a skilful eye have helped photographer Christina Wilson balance character and style in her family home in Camden, which she shares with her husband, broadcaster Robert Elms, and the youngest of their three children.

The kitchen. Photo: Christina Wilson The kitchen. Photo: Christina Wilson

“I like living with things, I like collecting things, I don’t like the house looking like an empty show flat,” says photographer, former interior stylist and now author, Christina Wilson.

We’re sitting in the kitchen of her Camden townhouse and there are subtle signs of this collector’s instinct all around, in the art works on the walls and the crockery and glass on the shelves but the overriding impression is of contemporary calm rather than clutter.

From the wide tiles on the floor, to the chalky pale neutrals of the walls and the bare wood of the long kitchen tables, there’s a cool, modern feel to the open plan basement space. I wonder how recently they did it up.

“We’ve been in this house for 22 years and I’ve never done a huge renovation on it. Where we’ve changed things it’s been because we’ve been upgrading or repairing them through wear and tear. Or, because the children have grown up in this house, and the youngest is now 17, some of the rooms have changed. My office used to be a play room.”

Collected objects and a vintage chair in the bedroom. Photo: Christina Wilson Collected objects and a vintage chair in the bedroom. Photo: Christina Wilson

There are many lessons in decorative longevity to be learned from Wilson’s home, which she shares with journalist Robert Elms, who has a daily show on BBC London, and the couple’s youngest daughter – they have a 20-year-old son currently at university and a 26-year-old daughter living in London. The big lesson comes from the kitchen where everything is free standing, meaning it can be replaced easily and hasn’t dated in the way that some of the ‘bespoke’ fitted options that are so popular at the moment tend to.

“I never wanted a built-in kitchen. When we had no money it just got thrown together. Then, over the years I upgraded a few things,” explains Wilson.

“I always wanted a food cupboard that had shelves and drawers but those things cost money, so in the beginning I had something from Habitat that cost £300. Now I’ve got this new unit with all the shelves I wanted.

“Because I was a stylist I used to rent it as a location and that paid for the jobs. It’s evolved but I feel like it doesn’t age.”

The bathroom leading out to the terrace. Photo: Christina Wilson The bathroom leading out to the terrace. Photo: Christina Wilson

A smart mix of contemporary, vintage and antique furniture and accessories helps create this trend-defying aesthetic. There’s a marble topped rolling pin table in one corner and the dining table is a battered vintage number that Wilson said she “didn’t mind getting bashed by kids.” Then there’s a newly purchased and very of the moment mid-century sideboard, filled with tea sets.

Art is also a key feature throughout the house with Wilson’s photographs featuring heavily, of course, alongside early works by artists who have since hit the big time, among them several Rob Ryan lasercuts and a large Harland Miller Penguin books painting in the living room.

“We’ll often have artists to stay in our house in Spain and I really like supporting small artists so I’ll just ask for an artwork in return. It’s how I’ve collected a lot of bits of art.”

Those bits include a painting of the southern Spanish village where the house is situated by none other than The Clash bassist Paul Simonon.

The glass-backed living room. Photo: Christina Wilson The glass-backed living room. Photo: Christina Wilson

Wilson downplays any effort that goes into the house, but having spent years working as an interiors stylist at Elle Decoration, as well as time at the helm of an art gallery in the 1980s and a flirtation with fashion, it stands to reason she has a well-honed eye for detail.

It’s this eye that’s been brought into focus in her new book, a collection of Wilson’s photography with words by Elms, released in an edition of 200.

Titled Stolen Glimpses, the book is exactly that, a series of fleeting moments captured over the decade Wilson has been working as a photographer, on holidays, at home and at the family’s house in Spain.

“I’ve always wanted to put together a book because I’ve worked on so many books for other people but they weren’t my pictures,” she explains. “I felt that as my children are getting older it was like a memento to our whole family.”

Robert's office. Photo: Christina Wilson Robert's office. Photo: Christina Wilson

“I’m always looking for the beauty in every day, rather than waking up depressed with the news. It could be anything, a night sky, windswept trees, I love the graphic quality of things.

“One lady said that the book was so beautiful it made her cry. I was really touched.”

Buy Christina Wilson’s book Stolen Glimpses, £50, from her website christinawilson.co.uk or at the Society Club thesocietyclub.com which is also exhibiting a selection of Wilson’s photographs until November 17.

Property search


e.g. Oxford or NW3
Powered by Zoopla

Other Hampstead and Highgate property news

The scandalous history of 8 Royal College Street revealed

Home of the French poets and lovers who inspired Leonardo di Caprio and Bob Dylan singled out to mark 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality

Going overboard: half of first time buyers are blowing their budget

First time buyers spend 73 per cent more than planned on fees and costs when buying their first home, and mum and dad have to pick up the slack

Comment: All that London can afford has made it almost unaffordable

On the modern property market Samuel Johnson might have said “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of its price.” With Londoners leaving to buy elsewhere, is this the dark side of an Alpha city status?

The end of leasehold? Secretary of State cracks down on “feudal practices”

Sajid Javid has announced an eight week consultation on banning leasehold tenancies on new build properties

One in three Camden homes have had their asking prices slashed in July

With the news that 35 per cent of Camden’s homes have been discounted to sell, we find out how you can get your asking price right the first time

Property of the week: a Grade II listed Hampstead haven

An elegant Queen Anne home set in the heart of the revered Hampstead Square

Staycation style: how to create an idyllic summer home

Make the most of your staycation by turning your home and garden into a summer style haven

Move on up: how to copy the vertical planting trend

As vertical planting makes its mark at many of this year’s top gardening shows, here’s how to aim high

Transaction numbers dip for UK but Hampstead is bouncing back

Despite a rollercoaster year and a national dip in transactions Hampstead estate agents are reporting the return of big deals

Cuddle up with Paddington Bear in this one bedroom flat on Chalcot Crescent

A one bedroom apartment on the pretty in pastel Primrose Hill street home to Paddington Bear is on the market with Knight Frank

Need a bigger mortgage? Buy an eco home

Homes with higher EPC ratings could offer buyers bigger mortgages says new report, but the Highgate Society Sustainable Homes Group has raised concerns that the EPC system is flawed

Barretts Grove: Stokey house with ‘wicker basket’ balconies is bookies’ choice for UK’s best new building award

Bet your bottom dollar on this home in Stoke Newington, now the bookies’ favourite to win RIBA’s prestigious Stirling Prize.

Dartmouth Park area guide: pubs, schools and family homes

Your guide to all the things to do in Dartmouth Park, including the best restaurants, pubs, schools and cultural activities in this corner of NW5. PLUS our guide to property in the area

Hot property in Dartmouth Park

Our top three include a five bedroom, listed home, a period flat and a ground floor garden flat with a cottage feel

Comment: Email trails tell house hunting horror tales

Even though rents are supposed to be dropping, reliance on emails and extortionate tenant fees makes house hunting a nightmare

Green light for Dartmouth Park house with floating kitchen

Amos Goldreich Architecture has been granted pemission to build this unusual extension project in a conservation area

Proportion of overseas landlords halves, but Hampstead may buck trend

Stamp duty and uncertainty hits overseas investors the buy-to-let market, but in American and Russian interest in Hampstead property has held

Doctor Who’s who: why the series’ stars love Muswell Hill and Crouch End

Jodie Whittiker may be the first woman to play Dr Who, but she’s not the first Time Lord to live in north London

Property of the Week: a new Arts and Crafts style development in Hampstead Garden Suburb

Set within a private residents’ courtyard these six new houses and 39 apartments have been executed in a classic local 19th century architectural style

Floral decor: 3 fresh-as-a-daisy interiors looks

Make rooms look blooming lovely with floral designs guaranteed to grow on you...

In a bind about bindweed?

Bindweed is one of the most difficult of weeds to eradicate - but there are ways to stop it strangling your plants

Haringey tipped as one of top ten for house price growth

Portico has revealed that Haringey is poised to be one of the hottest areas for house price growth in the next four years as developers eye up the next target for gentrification

Four of top ten Metropolitan police property sell off in north London

The Metropolitan police have sold off £1 billion worth of property in the past five years including in Hampstead, Highgate, St John’s Wood, Marylebone and Golders Green

The way we lived: an interactive tour of our local domestic history

From Golders Green in 1910 to 1960s Highgate, take an virtual reality tour of 400 years of London’s domestic style at the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton

Camden to have £7 million investment in affordable homes

The Mayor has today announced 335 new affordable homes to be built in Camden as part of £1.7 billion deal with local authorities and housing associations

Hornsey area guide: shops, restaurants, pubs, library and schools

Your guide to all the things to do in Hornsey, including the best restaurants, shops, pubs, schools and local history. PLUS our guide to property in the area.

Hot properties in Hornsey

A garden flat, modern one bed apartment and a striking end of terrace complete with turrets make up our top three in Hornsey

Got wood: inside the V&A’s new plywood exhibition

In a world-first exhibition, plywood is placed under the microscope for an in-depth look at the material that’s full of surprises.

Bank of England scrutinises long term mortgage lenders

PRA cautioned against a return to pre-2007 antics and warned long term mortgages could be storing up problems for the future

Next station: the Paddington Basin development including a gym, primary school and a hotel

Paddington Basin has long been in the shadow of the King’s Cross redevelopment, until now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

2016 © Archant Community Media Ltd

Terms and conditions | Cookie policy | Jobs at Archant