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 WilsonThe 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 WilsonCollected 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 WilsonThe 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 WilsonThe 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 WilsonRobert'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

Comment: The naked truth behind bare minimalism in the housing crisis

Naked House isn’t a story about stylish minimalism, it’s a sad solution to the desperate situation the government has left London’s families

Paddington office complete with roof terrace honoured in workplace design awards

Paddington is fast becoming the new King’s Cross as a refurbished office directly opposite the new Crossrail entrance is named Best Recycled Workplace in prestigious regional awards

Highgate, East Finchley and Fortis Green named lowest yield as buy-to-let landlords hammered by tax changes

Landlords are selling up as tax changes combined with low yields eat into their profit margins. But if you invest in the right location and are prepared to be patient there are still parts of north London that can turn a profit, say experts

Camden house prices plunge over 30 per cent in just one month

Asking prices in the borough have dropped significantly since March, but is it a case of a cooling market, competitive pricing, or just Camden’s quirky property micro climate?

Property of the week: a stucco fronted home in the heart of Little Venice

This three bedroom apartment decorated in chic neutrals features a fully fitted kitchen and a private patio garden for al fresco dining

Generation Boomerang: meet the graduates supported by the bank, the fridge and the home of mum and dad

More and more young people are choosing to live at home in north London in the face of soaring property prices and an unaffordable housing crisis that has removed the lower rungs of the property ladder, leaving them without a foothold

Fabulous flowers: top tips for growing compact clematis

Clematis are one of the most popular varieties of garden flower, so how can you get the best from your blooms?

Windy weather? Here’s five tips for wind turbines

Windy weather? Generating electricity for your home will be a breeze with these top tips for wind turbines

New launch: period living in Paddington with Parker House

Prices start at £570,000 for a one bedroom apartment in this boutique development in zone one

Pore over this: pour yourself a drink in the power couple property with a secret pièce de résistance

This NW8 property has a garden, roof terrace and a secret bar decked out for throwing one of Gatsby’s greatest bashes

Let there be light: a modern home illuminating the future of environmentally friendly living

This East Finchley property is not just innovative, it’s invisible. We take a nosey around the modern eco home.

Comment: communities need buy to live

Buy to leave apartments in new build developments convert corrupt cash into clean assets, decimating local communities in the process. So it’s heartening to see Highgate Court lead the way with homes for local people

Hampstead hotspot: young professionals flock to NW3

Hampstead is the ninth most popular choice for young urban professionals, and the most expensive choice on the list.

Hampstead area guide: shops, theatre, schools and the Heath

Your guide to things to do in Hampstead, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in NW3

Top 3 properties for sale in Hampstead

A modern apartment, three bedroom flat and four bedroom family home make the cut for our top three properties on the market in Hampstead this week

Will the snap general election affect the north London property market?

Theresa May has announced that the country will return to the polls on June 8 for the third summer running, but what will this mean for property sales in north London?

5 of the best spring cleaning buys

Dust away those cobwebs and ready your home for warmer days with these stylish spring cleaning products

Hot properties: on the market in Crouch End, Hampstead and Primrose Hill

Fancy a five bedroom family home, a contemporary apartment or a period flat? Take your pick of our top properties up for grabs this week

Property of the week: top to toe amenities in this modern three storey home

This West Hampstead home comes with its own private balcony up top and a wine cellar below, and a lot to offer in between

Searching for the gardens of Southwood Hall

Ruth Pavey goes in serach of the lost gardens of Southwood Hall, with a little help from some Highgate residents

Buzzing about bees: everything you need to know about the RHS’s new bee campaign

The RHS is collaborating with The Wildlife Trusts to bring wildlife enthusiasts new inspiration to protect our black and yellow friends

Spring Living: interiors for warmer weather

Lorraine Kelly knows all about spring style for your home. Here’s her top advice for spring interiors.

Take me to church: the chapel with a starring role in period drama ‘Call The Midwife’ is up for sale

Nonnatus House from BBC’s Call The Midwife can be all yours for £6 million

Shop of the month: handmade on the hill with Tash & Tanya

At a time when independent retailers are under threat, Tash & Tanya is a good news story of a local business going from strength to strength without compromising on handpicked style

No smoke without fire: are wood burning stoves environmentally friendly?

Debate around wood burning stoves is a hot topic. Supporters praise their carbon neutrality, whilst health-conscious activists blame them for rising smog. So who’s right? find out at The Highgate Society’s latest ‘eco homes’ event.

Hold that thought: inside the ‘national scandal’ of leasehold properties

Over 75 per cent of apartments in Hampstead are leasehold, whilst investors are cashing in by buying up freeholds in new builds throughout the capital. Here’s what you need to know about owning a leasehold property in north London

Tufnell Park area guide: schools, restaurants, station and the The Dome

Your guide to things to do in Tufnell Park, including the best shops, cafes, restaurants and schools. PLUS our guide to property in NW5, N7 and N19

Top 3 properties in Tufnell Park

Looking for a home in leafy Tufnell Park? Our top three features a Victorian family home, maisonette and a period flat

Comment: London and its landlords will not fall

In the face of the onslaught of regulations letting agents and landlords will have to learn to turn the other cheek, whilst London smiles in the face of Brexit

Easter feast: eleven essentials for putting on a stylish spring spread

The Easter bank holiday is one of the few times a year when family and friends gather to eat, drink and make merry for a long weekend. For top table this spring, here are eleven essentials you can’t go without

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