Due date: how to create a home on a tight deadline
- Credit: Tony Timmington
bright accessories and clever storage solutions were key to creating this family home in Finsbury Park, says Audrey Whelan
Time is always tight when you’re waiting for your home to be decorated before you move in, but some deadlines are more pressing than others.
When interior designer Audrey Whelan took on a project in Finsbury Park in the summer of 2015 there was a serious deadline looming: the client’s were expecting their first child.
“The baby actually came a couple of weeks early. It was a matter of days after we finished. The last cushion had just gone in,” she says.
“I remember thinking ‘Oh my God that was close!’”
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Whelan’s clients where relocating from Highbury to a newly refurbished Victorian property, bringing nothing with them aside from a sea chest and a baby bump.
The property had been newly painted and carpeted as part of the deal. Whilst they were loathe to waste budget on re-doing perfectly good work, they didn’t want an identikit home.
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Instead it was up to Whelan to create something exciting from carefully chosen furniture and accessories.
“I wanted to make the most of that existing shell,” she explains. “Because the paint was already there it was all about layering up on top of that.
“I chose to bring in a lot of pattern and contrasting colours, even some colours that traditionally clash slightly to give this feeling of it being dramatic and exciting.”
In the kitchen / diner scatter cushions provide dynamic flashes citrusy yellow, green and orange against the muted greys.
In the third bedroom nursery primary colours and a giraffe motif makes for a cheerful and playful nursery.
“They said in the beginning that they didn’t want it to all feel matchy-matchy or like everything was coordinated in a traditional way,” says Whelan. “They were open to things being eclectic.”
Whelan introduced plenty of contemporary touches to fit with the redesign, but included more ornate detailing as a nod to the period nature of the building.
In the hallway checkerboard tiles are a nod to Victorian style, as well as being a practical solution for a family with a dog, a cat, and a baby buggy.
Whelan shares her studio in Highgate with a bespoke furniture company, Walter Castellazzo Designs, so when the clients needed custom space solutions she knew exactly where to turn.
“They both wanted to be able to both work from home at the same time so we designed a double desk with the filing cabinet in between,” she says.
“Then we had floating shelves made for the hallway and in the kitchen to really maximise any nooks for additional storage.”
The seating area in kitchen / diner also pulls double duty. The bench lifts up to reveal extra storage space, with a specially partitioned off area for the cat’s litter tray, made accessible by a cat flap.
Team work makes the dream work, and with such an important due date to meet everyone was on board to get the home ready in time for its newest occupant.
“I always say to my clients when I first meet them that I want to work as a team, says Whelan. “This project was a really good experience. It became such a great collaboration them.”
GET THE LOOK
Bench and double desk:
Walter Castellazzo Designs; 84 Highgate High Street, N6; 020 8340 3001; wcdinteriors.com
Outpost; 546 Holloway Road, N7; 020 7281 3620; peterbedford.org.uk/outpost
Habitat; 196-199 Tottenham Court Rd; 0344 499 1122; habitat.co.uk
Rocking chair and bedroom chest of drawers:
Graham and Green; 164 Regents Park Road, NW1; 020 7586 2960; grahamandgreen.co.uk
British Ceramic Tile; stocked at Tiles Etc, 4 Shillingford Street, N1; britishceramictile.com