Run a house with a large family and the décor will often be substituted for more practical needs. However, there is one family in North London who have learnt to buck the trend and keep design at the forefront of their home, whilst keeping it at the heart of the family.
Jade Lovejoy and her husband Andy have six children collectively and live in a 5 bedroom, Victorian semi-detached property in Crouch End. Jade is an interior stylist specialising in commercial & editorial photo shoots, window installations & visual merchandising displays. She has styled the windows for Liberty & Harvey Nichols and designed store layouts for Jack Wills, Urban Outfitters plus Cabbages and Roses (just to name a few).
Our home is an eclectic mix of styles, vintage treasures and old window props
Jade’s unique family life and interest in interiors has led her to document a series of creative family homes and lifestyles, in a truthful and realistic style blog.
When meeting with Jade she made one statement about her home which really summed it up: ‘Our home is an eclectic mix of styles, vintage treasures and old window props. But living with children, you learn not to be too precious about things. Our children’s masterpieces hang next to art we have collected and antiques we have inherited. Our house is a loud, vivacious family home and I think that is reflected in its style.’
As the focal point of the house, Jade’s kitchen has been renovated, incorporating an extension which allows plenty of light into the area through glass windows above and at the rear. The dark frames and walls complement the space by adding a beautiful contrast to the light streaming through.
Keeping the shelves the same colour as the walls helps to emphasise the pieces featured on them. This vintage dining table from The Old Cinema is beautifully rustic, whilst also providing enough space for all eight of them to enjoy a family dinner.
The kitchen-diner flows effortlessly with the use of colour. The Fired Earth tiles balance the transition between the walls and work surfaces, which themselves are accompanied with wonderful personal touches – the children’s sketch taped to the wall keeps the atmosphere homely.
The living room is beautifully designed with painted floorboards and contrasting walls. Pops of colour are added through accessories, such as the cushions and children’s artwork.
This showstopper of a cabinet creates a huge statement against the dark grey walls. Discovered and purchased at Kempton Antiques Market, Jade painted it herself with Farrow & Ball ‘Yellow Cake’. Accompanied with a Bianca Hall neon sign it adds life and intrigue to the room, plus a spirited style which is resembled in Jade herself.
In the bedroom Jade continues with the use of darker tones with bursts of colour. Her eclectic taste runs through the house, with a lot of pieces being market finds or family heirlooms. This trunk was found at Pure White Lines in East London and works perfectly as a bedside table.
Having children means there is always extra storage needed for books and toys. However, it is just as important to create a space in which children can also feel relaxed. This tepee was purchased from Etsy and creates a cute hideaway for children to read or even do their homework. The wooden storage crates add a rustic element, proving that toys don’t have to remain on show or be stored in unattractive, plastic boxes.
The bathroom is beautiful, and Jade has taken a lot of care to create a stunning sanctuary that is perfect for escaping a busy city life. The muted colours are calming, whilst the plants add life and freshness to the room. The vintage frames help to personalise the space and the mirror adds an extra dimension making the room feel bigger.
We wanted to know how Jade’s house remains so beautiful, plus any tips she has for keeping it that way. We asked a few questions to find out more!
IDEALIST: What is the biggest challenge of running a family home?
Learning to let go of perfectionism and realising a neat home is a dull one! Storage is one way of putting some of the things in your life in order and a big challenge in the family home. You have to create ways of hiding all of the kid paraphernalia, or at the very least closing some small door on it all! (the toys obviously, not the kids!)
The biggest design challenge is the chaos, the mix of styles, personalities and collections, although it does make our home unique.
IDEALIST: What advice would you give to other parents with children, in keeping the home a place you all love?
Teach your children to respect and love the things you have in your home as much as you do.
IDEALIST: Who is your biggest design inspiration?
Jan Showers says, “Every room needs a touch of black, just as it needs at least one antique piece.” I love this.
Pinterest is brilliant but the problem is we all follow the same boards so covert the same Berber rugs and we all have a tile obsession!
Inspiration can come from art, travel and nature as well as other inspirational designers.
IDEALIST: From doing your own renovation, what are your top design tips for a family home?
Paint is one of the easiest ways to transform a room, and it can also be one of the cheapest.
Darker walls can instantly make a space feel more luxurious, stylish and, contrary to what we may think, it doesn’t make a space feel smaller – AND it hides handprints, scooter scuffs and whatever else they wipe on the walls!
‘Your home should tell a story of who you are and be a collection of what you love’. In our house it’s the dark colours and curiosities that create the drama (as well as the teenagers!).
Get the lighting right. I love our ceiling roses and decorative pendant lights (bought at Kempton antiques markets), but I feel uncomfortable in a room with the overhead lights on. We have lamps everywhere. Lighting will make a room cosy and inviting, but also highlights your home decoration.
This may make me sound boring BUT I wish we had the luxury of a big utility room in the middle of the house. Instead we have a washing machine in the basement. That was bad planning, all those stairs!
Make your downstairs loo a show stopper. You can be a lot more creative in a smaller space that has one function. Paint your ceiling, walls, skirts and trims all the same colour – it will unify the space.
The bigger the mirror, the bigger the impact. Our bedroom mirror is from Graham and Green and we bought the biggest one we could hang. It reflects the light, making our bedroom feel larger (and therefore a little more luxurious).
IDEALIST: What has been the biggest challenge in the renovation?
Not having an endless pot of pennies! We still have a to-do list.
I think you’ll only make a mistake with builders once, a well recommended builder is worth its weight in gold.
Interior wise, it’s been a challenge to try and incorporate everyone’s personalities into one well designed space.
IDEALIST: What is the focal point of your home?
To make our house feel like a home, a happy home.
IDEALIST: What would you change about your home décor if you didn’t have kids?
We would definitely live in an edgier, cooler part of town.
Interior wise, I’d like to think we would spend a bit more money on our furniture, but we probably wouldn’t. Maybe we would be more Scandi, and I’d have a beautiful collection of cacti!
IDEALIST: Which is your favourite room and why?
Our kitchen, it’s were all the parties start and end. The kitchen is the hub of our home. We hang out there as a family, cook and eat and the children also do their homework at the kitchen table.
It is however, on some occasions, my least favourite room too. I would like to extend, rebuild and redesign it. I would like a huge pantry and a central island unit on wheels, so it could be moved out of the way for dancing!
IDEALIST: Which purchase for your home has been your favourite?
We don’t have expensive furniture but some great pieces of art. I did an installation at Harvey Nichols for the launch of Another Magazine with Jefson Hack years ago, and afterwards we all got to keep a few of the art pieces – fashion campaigns printed onto huge sheets of acrylic – which have been scattered around the house and have a massive impact.
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All photographs were taken by Georgia Gold – a London based Interiors and Food photographer.