Houzz Tour: Colour and Functionality Transform a City Flat
Keeping the design simple and boosting it with bold tones made this small home big on style, as well as a joy to live in
With the budget impacted by roof problems, which were causing damp throughout the flat and urgently needed fixing, Bhavin had to come up with low-cost ways to inject personality.
Who lives here? A young male professional
Location Oval, south London
Property The top one of two flats in an Edwardian property
Size Two bedrooms and one bathroom
Designer Bhavin Taylor of Bhavin Taylor Design
The owner of this Edwardian flat wanted a relaxed, fuss-free living space. “He didn’t like the idea of pattern, but he did want it to have some sort of identity,” Bhavin says.
The designer used colour as a cost-effective way to create impact, painting the walls, skirting boards, architraves and joinery in the same shade. He chose a soft teal in the living room, adding warmth with brass fittings and wood-effect laminate flooring.
Mindful of his brief to make a space that was, above all, easy to live in, he added some fitted cupboards and shelving for practical storage.
Walls painted in Long Acre, Mylands. Sofa; ottoman; love seat, all John Lewis & Partners. Artwork, King & McGaw. Chandelier, West Elm.
In another user-friendly touch, Bhavin installed smart lighting that can be controlled via the Philips Hue app. The owner can easily dim the lighting to create an ambience as and when required.
Lamp; rug; side table, all West Elm. Blind fabric, Harlequin. Cushions, H&M Home.
“For me, the dining area should be all about the food,” Bhavin says. “So the maps on the wall add another layer of texture without distracting the eye, and the pendant lighting creates intimacy in the open-plan space.”
Table and bench, Etsy. Chairs, John Lewis & Partners. Artwork, Street Carvings.
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“I wanted to create a space with clean lines and bring in an industrial element with the black handles,” he says. “I had to keep thinking about the highest impact I could make, so rather than having the splashback tiles in one colour and the wall in another, I continued the colour-blocking theme with the same tone as in the living room.”
There was enough space for a small island unit, so he added in a breakfast bar with seating for two, and provided plenty of cupboard storage so the space could be kept clutter-free. “The client isn’t a keen cook and made it clear he wanted it all low-maintenance,” he says.
Kitchen, Schmidt Kitchens. Appliances, Neff. Tiles, Claybrook.
To maximise every inch of space, a fridge and freezer are tucked into the kitchen side of the island unit.
Lighting, West Elm.
The colour also provides a great backdrop for statement pieces, such as the rhino heads with which the client surprised Bhavin as they were planning the design. “He said, ‘I have these – they don’t have to be used,’ and I was like, ‘Yes – we’re using them!’ They stand out against the dark blue wall. And, you know – why not?”
Walls painted in Mayfair Dark, Mylands. Bed frame, Danetti. Pendant light, Habitat.
Brass handles, Pushka Home. Throw, Anthropologie.
Silvery blue-grey walls give the room a fresh feel, while black fittings add visual interest. A generous black vanity unit provides plenty of storage. As fuss-free, convenient living was top of the owner’s agenda, Bhavin even ensured the mirror had a demister.
Walls painted in Islington, Mylands. Fixtures and fittings, CP Hart. Tiles, Walls and Floors.
“I extended the style but changed it up with the colour, as I wanted to give both rooms their own identity,” he explains. “It has character, but it’s soft enough to work for anyone who comes to stay.”
“I said, we’re going to have leopard-print wallpaper just on this one wall,” he says. “I felt if I’d painted it grey like the rest of the hallway, it wouldn’t feel like a grand entrance. It’s still soft, but it picks up the tones of the carpet, and then the circular mirror on the opposite wall reflects it.
“[The owner] was cautious initially, but totally loved it when he saw it – that’s why I like to push people to take that step,” he says.
And how did the owner feel about the apartment as a whole? “He texted me after he moved back in to say he felt as if he’d woken up in a boutique hotel. But his favourite bit is that everything is comfortable and functional; as far as he’s concerned, design is great, but the way he lives in his home is more important.”
Walls painted in Islington, Mylands. Wallpaper, Cole & Son. Mirror, West Elm. Pendant light, Heal’s.
What’s your favourite room in this city flat? Share your thoughts in the Comments.