Houzz Tour: An Edwardian Semi Gains Space and Designer Style
A soothing colour palette, a sprinkling of midcentury pieces and some inspired design touches transformed this old house
The house got a top-to-toe decorative makeover, as well as a large rear extension and a reconfigured loft. It was a four-year process, with the family living in the house for two years before starting work to get familiar with it, and work then taking two years to complete.
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Who lives here? Alison Johnson, her husband, Ian, and their children, Sam, 14, and Eva, 12, plus Monty the labradoodle
Location West London
Property An Edwardian semi
Size Five bedrooms and two bathrooms
Designer Alison Johnson of Otta Design
Architect Franklyn Nevard of Franklyn Nevard Associates
Photos by Anya Campbell
Alison changed pretty much everything in the house. “The bifold doors into the reception room, the stairs, and the front door are the only parts of the house we haven’t really changed,” she says.
Doors into living room painted in Railings, Farrow & Ball.
She’s gone for a soft blue-grey on the walls and skirting boards. “The room faces north, and will never be a light, bright space, so I was keen to use a darker colour,” she says. “I had about five colours I used throughout the house – we’ve also used this shade in our bedroom.”
Walls painted in Pigeon, Farrow & Ball. Vintage rug, Sunbury Antiques Fair. Pink velvet Izzy sofa; buttoned Patrick sofa, both sofa.com. Side tables, Rockett St George. Lamps, West Elm. Sideboard, Etsy.
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The new engineered flooring did, too. “We had original floorboards, which we thought were charming, but the gaps between them were too big and we needed to conserve as much heat as possible,” she says.
Flooring in Slate Grey, 3 Oak Wood Flooring.
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One thing Alison did want, though, was for the house to look cohesive. So, along with the fresh colour palette, midcentury became a bit of a theme, as she had some 1970s furniture from her parents, including this G Plan sideboard.
Camel artwork by Helene Sandberg for Lumitrix. Pendant, West Elm.
Acova radiator, B&Q.
Alison and her builder designed recessed shelving with vertical lighting for this area, too. “When friends are over, it’s nice, as it’s a sort of bar area,” she says. “It’s also a lovely focal point after dark when it’s all lit up.”
As the house was a semi, it had a footpath adjacent to the side return. This provided the option of a bigger extension. Taking it up to the boundary wall was a big decision, but Alison was keen to maximise the width of the new addition. “We had our hearts set on a table, an island and a bank of cupboards across the kitchen,” she says, “and in order to do that, we had to eat into our path.”
In the new kitchen, the boiler had to be on the far left in order to vent to the exterior. This meant installing a tall cupboard to hide it. “We ended up having two tall ones to mirror the integrated fridges on the end wall,” Alison explains.
There’s a bronzed mirror splashback above the worktop. “This visually adds a bit more width and it was cheaper than back-painted glass,” she says.
Classic kitchen in Aquamarine, Hacker at NJC Kitchens. Double ovens, Siemens. Unika pendant by Northern, Holloways of Ludlow. Bar stools, Habitat. Walls painted in Ammonite, Farrow & Ball.
Rather than having an American fridge-freezer on the end wall, Alison opted for a fridge and a freezer side by side, partly to save money. “It also keeps the kitchen looking seamless rather than breaking it up with a big block of stainless steel,” she says.
The island seating runs around one corner of the structure. “I wanted to avoid having four bar stools in a line,” she says. “This is more sociable. It also prevents everything happening up near the entrance, and the fridge door opening behind whoever is sitting there.”
Single built-in electric oven with microwave; single built in electric oven, both Siemens. Fridge; freezer, both Bosch. Bronze mirror splashback, Deco Glaze. Quartz worktop in Zement Ice, Compac.
“We also dug down 20cm in the kitchen to create extra height, as we were restricted with wall height on the boundary,” Alison explains.
Extendable dining table, Ikea. Dining chairs, vintage G Plan.
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Holly sofa, Sofa.com. Ekenaset armchair, Ikea. Coffee table, vintage G Plan. Floor lamp; rug, both French Connection Home. Glass side table, Perch & Parrow.
Under the stairs is a small cloakroom and a cupboard for the vacuum cleaner and mops. The banister was painted dark to match the doors into the living room (see first photo) and also to “hide dirty handprints”.
Walls and pale woodwork painted in Cornforth White; stair wall and spindles/newel post/banister painted in Railings, both Farrow & Ball.
Terrazzo floor tiles, Fired Earth. Walls and ceiling painted in Burnt Juniper, Fired Earth.
“I’m not usually a fan of a feature wall, but I loved this geese wallpaper so much,” she says, “and it brought it all together.”
Walls painted in Pigeon, Farrow & Ball. Cygnus wallpaper, St Vitus.
“We opted for chests of drawers rather than bedside cabinets for more storage,” she adds.
Thea bed, upholstered in charcoal wool, Sofa.com. Chests of drawers, Swoon Editions; painted in Pigeon, Farrow & Ball.
The desk is vintage. “I was on a budget and found buying second-hand bits and pieces was helpful,” she explains.
Desk, Etsy. Walls, Inchyra Blue, Farrow & Ball. Chair, vintage G Plan; reupholstered in pink wool. Blind fabric, Christopher Farr Cloth.
Walls painted in Light Peachblossom, Little Greene. Bed quilt, Anthropologie. Pendant, Next.
“We were going to knock through to make a bigger bathroom and include a bath, but we realised we don’t have baths, so went for a big shower instead,” she says.
Walls painted in All White, Farrow & Ball. Wall tiles, Fired Earth. Floor tiles, Mandarin Stone. Bespoke walnut vanity unit with Carrara marble top, Otta Design.
They also extended out as far as Permitted Development would let them to add more space.
Blind fabric, Liberty.
“The bureau I picked up for around £15 from a furniture clearance shop. It was in our old flat and my daughter’s always loved it,” she says. “Everything else is Ikea apart from the mirror – she picked that up in a charity shop. Her mixing old and new made me very happy!”
Walls painted in Oval Room Blue; bed painted in Hague Blue, both Farrow & Ball. Bed, Ikea.
Walls painted in All White; bath panel painted in Hague Blue, both Farrow & Ball. Wall tiles, Fired Earth. Floor tiles, Topps Tiles.
“Both the kids are quite into their spaces,” she adds. “They appreciate being surrounded by things that mean something to them and are quite happy traipsing around charity shops to find things. The old printers’ drawer for his Simpsons figurines was my son’s idea.”
Feature wall painted in Yeabridge, Farrow & Ball. Banksy decal, available at Etsy. Bed; desk, both Ikea.
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