A home inspired by The Sopranos in Hampstead? It's less unlikely than you'd imagine
PUBLISHED: 10:33 03 June 2016 | UPDATED: 10:59 03 June 2016
Interior designer to Gary Lineker and Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, Jo Berryman, shows us around the eclectic revamp of her Hampstead home.
“For my kitchen the inspiration was the Sopranos, mainly Carmela,” says Jo Berryman, as she lists the themes that inspired the recent refurbishment of her Hampstead home. “My brief was: ‘How would Carmela Soprano decorate her kitchen if she was living in Hampstead?’” she laughs. “So gold gold gold, gold everywhere!”
The sentiment carries through into the rest of the house which, whilst effortlessly stylish, looks and breathes fun. From the gold splashback tiles to the vintage sofa and pendant lights, the kitchen has a timeless quality, fusing styles and keeping you guessing as to what era you’ve found yourself in.
Much of the five-storey Victorian townhouse has been completely revamped, energetically decorated from floor to ceiling with ample open space and natural light. “We don’t have the luxury of lateral space, but we have lots of space going up,” Berryman says.
Additions to the house include a garden room, a double height glass extension, a mezzanine library and a loft extension with staggered stairs running up to it.
“I’ve worked with my friend Takero Shimazaki. He’s an incredible Japanese architect,” Berryman says. “The two styles work together very well, the Zen with the Victorian higgledy-piggledy. It’s a very well-curated madness.
“It’s very clear where we’ve done the architectural work and I wanted it to feel that way. I wanted it to feel like a Victorian house with lots of insertions. I like the idea of multilayered living.”
Berryman lives in the north London townhouse with her husband and two daughters, Nico and Romy. She’s lived in Hampstead for over 15 years and says she couldn’t live anywhere else now. “Sometimes I crave the dirt and squalor of places like King’s Cross and Shoreditch,” she muses, “But Hampstead is beautiful, it’s idyllic.”
Yet Berryman is quick to point out that, although she’s redone the place, the house is ever-changing. “It’s never complete, it’s an ongoing process. I’m sure that’s the case for most designers but especially me, I have a sort of deco habit – I think they call it decorexia.”
Indeed, Jo Berryman is something of a chameleon creative herself. Having worked in the fashion industry for ten years with names such as Elle magazine and Agent Provocateur, she then opened the fashion boutique Jezebell and in 2009 embarked on a career in interiors, launching Matrushka, her interior design company, now rebranded Jo Berryman Studio.
Berryman’s success has continued in the world of interiors and she’s worked on a great number of residential and commercial projects, with clients including Oscar winning producers, leading fashion designers and “a whole host of interesting people” in the music industry.
She designed Gary Lineker’s homes – in the UK as well as his Hollywood apartment – and Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher rented an Edwardian mansion she decorated in Hampstead.
Not your average designer, Berryman shuns over-styled, sleek interiors and puts the focus on atmosphere, practicality and fun. There is no room for sparse minimalism here. The abundance of bold colours, rich textures, and antique furnishings, paired with modern pieces in her designs, find a balance that is somehow more soothing than many toned-down alternatives.
Berryman makes design sound like a thrilling story unraveling. There’s a sense of fun in the way the house has been decorated and laid out, conventions thrown out of the window and eccentricities dotted around, but it looks like a dream.
“My home is like my calling card, so I get to experiment and try out crazy ideas which I would probably never do with my clients,” she says.
There are soft velvet sofas vaguely invoking a boudoir-feel in one corner and vintage retro furniture in the other. But turn around and there will be another element mixing up the style, preventing you from settling on any one idea of how the interior is designed.
“It’s something I bring into most projects, the jarring of old and new and lots of different materials.”
The arrangement of texture, colours, and styles maintains a certain energy without ever becoming overpowering. It keeps you aware of your surroundings but at the same time the decor blends into a satisfying whole.
“It’s about integrating colour and not being afraid of colour,” Berryman says. “We’re very safe when it comes to interior design and it’s about getting people out of that mindset. You can have pockets of tranquility – the bedroom can be calm – but the rest of the house you can have so much fun with.
“It’s important for there to be dynamism and for you to be able to move things. I think it’s a style that lends itself well to family living. I don’t know anyone that can entirely maintain a minimalist space. It’s about blending the two styles and finding the area in between where you can move comfortably.”
Berryman has done a number of both commercial and residential projects, each with their own story and style. Does she have a preference?
“I’m not going to lie, it’s an intense process doing up someone’s home,” she says. “It’s a bit of a ménage à trois, you’re very involved. But I love it, and I love seeing it through from start to finish. It’s like a production, like a little film that I stage.”
As for the future, she’s working on upcoming projects around Hampstead, in the Vale of Health and Crouch End, but is also spending some time in America. “I’m hoping for a hotel at some point,” she says. If the past is anything to go by, she’ll probably have her pick.