The Idealist

A Garden flat for a Growing Family in Muswell Hill

Muswell Hill

In our final home from Sarah Thomas Interiors, we are visiting a beautiful garden flat in North London’s Muswell Hill, which shows what some clever thinking and a keen eye for colour can do to accommodate a growing family.

Perched above North London and boasting Alexandra Park and Palace, a rich stock of Edwardian and Victorian houses and a village feel, many families, once they settle in Muswell Hill never leave. It’s easy to see why and it has nothing to do with the lack of underground line, or distance from central London and everything to do with the beautiful, green and leafy environment. Broadway has a rich choice of cafes and shops, there’s great parkland and open spots for dog walking and nature fans and breathtaking views south to London. Housing is predominantly red brick Edwardian, there are two impressive indie cinemas and some good schools. Faced with the choice of moving to accommodate her growing family, or working with what she had, we can see why the owner of today’s home decided to renovate. And thanks to Sarah Thomas Interiors, she now has more house to work with and a great new retro look.

IDEALIST Sarah – talk us through the background for this project. What was your brief and ambitions?

Sarah This client had lived in her garden flat for many years, so had quite an established style and tastes that she wanted to update and elaborate on. The overall idea of the project was to create more bedroom space for her family. She employed an architect to reconfigure the bedrooms in order to create an extra bathroom in her large basement bedroom and reduce the family bathroom into a smaller shower room, to give her son a larger bedroom.

clients are often scared of painting ceilings the same colour as the room, but for low ceilings or small rooms, I have found this to be really effective.

IDEALIST What approach did you take?

Sarah My brief was to create a ‘cabin feel’ in her bedroom and completely redecorate, adding new storage and lighting into her bedroom. We decided to use bold colours and play with contrasting tonals to add a bit of fun and vibrancy to all the bedrooms and give them their own personality for a 7 year old boy and a daughter in her early 20’s.

IDEALIST Where did you start with the work?

Sarah The architect sent the job out to tender and a builder was appointed to start dividing up the rooms according to the new plans. This involved new plumbing for the bathrooms and building newly designed storage spaces.

IDEALIST What were the main aspects of the work?

Sarah We started with my clients bedroom as that was the biggest change. New storage cupboards were built to make a dividing wall against the new bathroom. We sourced reclaimed wood from Bert & Wall to make a feature headboard wall and create the ‘cabin feel’. From there we decided on two tonal green colours to paint the bedroom and I persuaded my client she should also paint her ceiling in one of the greens to really give a cosy feel. Clients are often scared of painting ceilings the same colour as the room, but for low ceilings or small rooms, I have found this to be really effective.

IDEALIST How did you incorporate the client’s tastes?

Sarah Vintage rugs and wall lights were sourced to complement the wood and warm green colours. The client already had a vintage sideboard that fitted in well with the scheme, and wanted to display her love of shoes and make a feature of them.

IDEALIST And what about the other rooms?

Sarah For the bathroom, we decided to keep the green palette consistent with her green bedroom and went for some very graphic encaustic cement tiles, that really made the room look bigger, adding a contrasting bright blue formica work top to the vanity unit and a large mirror to add depth.

For the children’s bedrooms, we worked with the existing furniture, again adding tonal contrasting paint colours for the walls, new storage and lighting, plus some vintage blue and green wallpaper to the boys’ bedroom.

IDEALIST How did the client like the results?

Sarah This reconfiguration really worked for all family members, and gave everyone the extra space and storage they needed – it felt like a new house! The project was featured in 25 Beautiful Homes in July 2016.

More information

To find out more about Sarah Thomas Interiors, visit their website at  http://www.sarahthomasinteriors.com/ or email sarah@sarahthomasinteriors.com. Sarah is offering one hour’s free consultation to readers of The Idealist who are new clients.

Get the Look

Items featured in this design include:

  • Reclaimed wood wall – Bert & May
    http://www.bertandmay.com
  • Bathroom encaustic cement tiles
    https://www.terrazzo-tiles.co.uk/cement-tiles.html
  • Paint colours were chosen from Valspar
    http://www.valsparpaint.com/en/explore-colors/

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  • Ellie lives in a village outside Oxford and works in fashion in London. She loves the vintage look, traditional English afternoon tea, prosecco and hiking in the Lake District.

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