Mad About . . .

The Househunter: The Interior Designer’s Home

4th September 2020
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This is a treat this week as we get to look around the home of an interior designer and while its £4m price tag may put some of you off (!) it’s a treat for the inspiration and ideas so come on in. It’s on the market with Hamptons, and there are dozens of photos so do head on over there if you want to see more than I am showing you here.

So this five bedroom, three bathroom east London end of terrace house belongs to the Brazilian designer Joao Botelho of whom I have been a fan for many years – not just because he was one of the first people to use my first book Shades of Grey in a styling shot – but also because he’s a great designer – skip down to the shots of his bed…

Back? So it’s not just the 3,000 sq ft house but also a summer house, two bed flat and a lovely garden. The flat, which is on the lower ground floor and has its own entrance could be rented out leaving you with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and lots of living space.

Above and below is the kitchen and open plan sitting room on the raised ground floor. I love the pop of colour from the paprika velvet chairs and you can see how Joao has zoned this large space by putting the chairs across the room so they turn their back on the kitchen. This space is about 13ft wide and you can see there’s plenty of space around them but if your room is narrower then one chair or a chaise longue (as I have done in The Mad House) going partially across the space will do the same thing and prevent a long narrow space becoming too tunnel-like.

Note also the contrast of the incredibly ornate chandeliers with the brick wall of the kitchen. Now we all know that benches take up less room but some feel they are uncomfortable for long periods. In which case take a leaf out of Medina Grillo’s book and fix a padded bedhead to the wall – or even create your own padded fixture. This will be more comfortable and give you a chance to add some more colour and pattern to the space.

Now for that lovely bed I promised you. First up this gorgeous blue green colour on the walls and ceiling is so restful and the matching ceiing adds to that sense of calm. A white ceiing and woodwork would be much more jarring. That said I appreciate that not everyone wants a dark bedroom but take the idea of wrapping the whole room in a single colour rather than outlining parts of it in white.

And while I have often spoken about hanging a pendant light from the ceiling to save space on a bedside table, Joao has hung two – one high and one low which looks gorgeous and probably lights the room better. If you’re going to visit you can check if they’re on separate circuits – and make sure you report back as this might be something we all need to know for our next bedroom refreshes.

And that bed. I thought you might want to see in close up. The headboard wraps around and hugs the little tables and the whole set up is luxurious and hotel. I daren’t tell you the price of the bed but it’s cheaper than buying the whole house put it that way. And it comes with the little tables.

And why have one mirror when you can have three? That’s a serious point by the way. Big modern mirrors can look a bit “gym” (remember those?) but a foxed, or antique mirror, is softer and since its unlikely/impossible you would be standing here to check your outfit its job is to bounce the light back from the window and to be decorative so three narrow mirrors is instantly a decorative feature as well as a practical element – something to bear in mind in your own decor.

Now we can’t leave without a visit to this splendiferous en suite bathroom. Yes it’s a big room with a fireplace but that doesn’t mean you can’t take some of the ideas into your own space. Actually… looking at this one it probably does! Well in terms of layout it might but let’s look at the details. Round mirrors over rectangle basins – always a good idea for contrast, a sliding door – space saving and this is a glass panelled sliding door so it allows the light to flow through as well. The shower is also behind a glass screen next to the bath, which is a great idea if you do have a larger room rather than sticking it in a corner and perhaps then only having space for one basin.

A classic shower tray can be 760mm deep and a standard bath is about 700mm so you can put the two next to each other if you have about 1.5m plus another metre to walk by the side of it. You could then have a single basin on the far end of the shower – mirroring the loo –  if we are roughly imagining it in this space and assuming the fireplace is the wall/cut-off point of the room. You can get a better idea from the floorplan if you imagine drawing a line from the side of the window to the door (top to bottom of the image).

I suppose the basic point, and one that you should never lose sight of, is that, if you are planning to refurbish and redecorate, then don’t assume that just because a room is laid out in one way – or even located in a particular place in the house – that it has to stay that way. Think about what you need for the way you live and how it might work well for you. And then consider sliding doors, and creating extra storage points (again look at the floorplan to see how Joao has carved up this room, which was probably originally the main bedroom, to create large bathroom and wardrobe and put the bedroom at the back in the smaller space.

And before we go (but do have a wander round the rest on the Hamptons site) have a look at this pretty garden. Once again you can see how it has been zoned into “rooms” with a dining area and a seating area and a path with tubs of flowers down the middle. Garden design is something that tends to completely elude me but this is a good template to start from.

Have a lovely weekend everyone. And good luck to everyone who is getting back to some semblance of normality after the weekend with schools back and some offices opening up. Or just being able to work from home without children there. Joao, meanwhile, is moving to start on a new project – can’t wait to see what he does – he says it will be smaller so there may be lots more ideas we can take….

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  • hng23 7th September 2020 at 9:59 pm

    I feel like the house is dressed more to impress than to be actually lived in.
    I can’t imagine a dirty dish, a used towel or an unmade bed.

  • anne m dettenborn 6th September 2020 at 4:25 pm

    I like the furniture here. A few things I can’t abide by on this one, however – the mounted zebra head (it appears to be real) and less offensive is the bench seating at what looks to be the only dining table. I wouldn’t expect my guests to sit through a dinner without a back support.

  • Racor 4th September 2020 at 10:39 am

    Stunning house, but £4million is a ludicrous price tag. You could achieve this standard of interior by buying a normally priced house and then doing the building work to get to this standard. Love those Belgian chandeliers.

  • Lindsay Jones 4th September 2020 at 9:33 am

    Hmmm very nice – but I wonder how many times those low-hung bedside lights have been whacked when getting in and out of bed?? And cacti on the same level as the bed?!

  • Elena 4th September 2020 at 8:43 am

    Morning Kate and welcome back!
    This one is just not for me…I can appreciate the architectural details and design but the overall look and style is just too cluttered. Maybe IRL this wouldn’t be the case but it feels like old fashioned Victorian styling.

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