This job was a real challenge. The people who were about to move into this empty space are a lovely family with rich interests - travel, theatre, teaching, languages, dance etc - but for me the space had very little natural charm.
In fact it included many of my bug bear hates; low ceilings laminate floors, pebble dash walls, box-like rooms. I was determined to do everything in my power to load it with charm, but keep a feeling of modernity and space.
The huge charm it does have comes from the spacious terrace that leads off the living room and which fills the place with sunlight, and the smaller balcony on the other side which wraps around the living area and kitchen meaning the whole place is light-filled.
After a huge mood board was made, taken from children's story books, Pinterest, information gathered about what kind of people they were, how they live and host, and what season their personalities are etc (Mara Lena is very spring/summer and her husband Mirko more autumn) we arrived at some great ideas.
The place needed to be modern and fresh, open and with a spacious fresh feeling, but also they are welcoming warm people who like to host and travel, and bold bright people who thrive around colour. And of course, there are kids in the house, so there needs to be a level of practicality and ease.
Farrow & Ball's Calamine turned out to be the tone I chose for the living area.
It's a soft, browny-blush pink that works beautifully with the enormous cream sofa, and with the dark brown tones of the floor and the very dark piano. This soft colour would create a warmth and work really well with the browns and it has a kind of old-world elegance, while also keeping the freshness.
Not all the walls were painted. That would create too much of a box feeling so I left 'breathing' walls of white.
The kitchen area, as the heart of a family home, needed more of a strong beat, a fresh, lively colour and one that worked with the blush pink.
The two colours would at points be seen together and at points alone so it had to work and have it's own life.
A greyish blue tone turned out to be just perfect. The blue has a calmness and quietness but also a joyfulness for the area where the family will eat and entertain. It also makes the drawings and pictures and flowers and food and books of life that will fill that area 'pop' and look like art, as opposed to just looking like mess.
For the office, which is filled with dappled light and views of trees we painstakingly leafed through many many wallpapers and ended up with William Morris's Honeysuckle.
I used many objects the family were about to throw out or replace, and instead upcycled them, such as old ikea shelves, a lamp and chairs, as well as creating new clever cheap solutions by making them a desk and planning shelving in clever spaces.
Areas were brocken down into to zones and then cushions, throws, art, vases, shelving, lights rugs etc were sourced and chosen for each area.
We worked hard and we worked around busy schedules and family life, but we made it happen and I'm very happy with the results.