Whether you need time out from your kids, your flatmates, your partner or just the world around you, most people would love to have a super-stylish space to escape to in their own homes. Whether this is a quiet corner of your living room, your bathroom or your bedroom, a little hideaway to call your own is one of the greatest luxuries there is. Interior designer Laura Stephens recently worked with a couple to create just that in their new loft extension in their South-East London home. “With three children, my clients were looking for more space and, rather than buying a larger house, they decided to do a loft extension running from the front to the very back of the house,” explains Laura. “This made total sense in terms of adding value to their property and making full use of their unusually deep London Terrace house. With spectacular views from the roof towards London taking in The Shard, The City and St Paul’s the conversion was a no-brainer.” And, boy, do we want one just like it….
What was your brief for your project?
An architect designed a large bathroom, dressing room and bedroom in the new loft space. My brief was to create a scheme, fully furnish and decorate the rooms whilst ‘linking’ the rooms them together. My clients wanted this to be their ‘adult’ space, and to have a sense of escaping from the madness of family life and be able to work and relax there too. They specified the space to have a feeling of luxury whilst not being too ‘boutique hotel’ and bland.
They had an idea of what they wanted but asked for specific help in how to achieve it. We started with a soft grey as the base (we chose’ Earl’s Grey’ by Fired Earth) but wanted to add colour and a little fun to the scheme.
The architect designed a panel behind the bed to create recessed shelving. It solved issues of storage, a hidden chimney stack, and also created a focal point for the room. I found lighting for the recesses to illuminate the shelves and create a high end look to the shelving space. We had space for a small sofa and I wanted to find an antique piece to counter balance the sense of ‘newness’ in the room. After losing out to a few pieces on ebay, I eventually won a bid on this, which formed part of a 3-piece Edwardian suite. It was a total bargain! We re-upholstered it in this gorgeous Robert Allen fabric which has the perfect ‘Arsenic Green’ colour in the pattern but also allowed us to introduce a little pink, yellow and lavender to the scheme.
To make use of excess material, and to add to the unique nature of the piece, we added bolster cushions and I just love the button detail here. The success of a scheme almost always hangs on the details.
We went for one single curtain panel, swept back, to cover the balcony window. The curtain fabric is a beautiful grey silk from Chase Erwin and my client found the fabulous tie back from Zara Home. Rather than having a free standing piece here, the best use of this awkward corner was to have a built -in desk which the brilliant builders made – it was topped with glass. The chair from the ebay suite was perfect for the desk and we re-upholstered it in another Robert Allen fabric which picked up on the green and pink from the sofa but in a totally different design (to avoid a matchy matchy feel).
This amazing lamp base was a family heirloom and I topped it with this rather mad acid yellow raw silk bespoke made shade to add a pop of colour to ‘lift’ this corner of the room.
A narrow console table was the final piece I sourced and was found on our local community website (another bargain). It was an ugly primary blue colour but I renovated it, distressed it and added lovely old French handles and a glass top to make it look more expensive. The ceramic lamp is from Holloways of Ludlow – we had to have it as the colour, Rose is the name of one of the client’s children and the pink tied in perfectly with the pink on the sofa and desk chair fabric.
The Dressing Room
When the carpenter finished the shelving in the cloakroom I wondered why we’d included so many shelves for shoes. Then, when the client unpacked her spectacular shoe collection I saw why! I found the mirrors at Kempton Market and I painted them in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Arsenic’.
The strong lines of the contemporary bathroom suite were counterbalanced by adding a fabric covered pelmet over the window to soften the feel and bring in colour . The antique mirror frame was again found at Kempton Market and I painted it in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Brassica’ which picked up on a shade in the sofa fabric, and a colour in the pelemet fabric. I had mirror made to go in the frame.