Studio News: London Townhouse with an Indian Influence
I’ve been thinking about writing on the blog a lot over the last few weeks. Thinking about what to write, thinking about writing, and thinking about the blog.Then today while sitting at home once again thinking about it, I decided to do it. Sometimes you can get overwhelmed with the idea of something and the fear keeps you still. The thing about having clients is that they don’t let you keep still. They are real people with real expectations. With the blog, it doesn’t feel like that, the only person expecting something of me is well me. So for this reason, I have decided to stop thinking about the blog and what I should write about and just document what I’m doing.
So here is the first step towards doing this, sharing my learnings, sharing my visions and my creative journey.
When I took on this project, it was like having to walk slowly through a pit of fire with bare feet. It was my first major project and I was on my own. No experience and no confidence. But I was also lucky in a number of ways, I had a great team of trades people who were very responsive and understanding of my short comings and I had a lovely client, who was extremely patient and understanding. I’ll be totally honest with you and say that I learnt many difficult lessons and made many costly mistakes during this project. I experienced sleepless nights, moments of panic in the early hours worrying about whether things would work and had extreme moments of doubt of my abilities and whether I was even in the right industry.
But as with all difficult experiences, I managed to come out the other end a more wiser and confident designer. And the key learning from this experience is that anything is possible and to not doubt my abilities.
When I first visited the site, I was taken back by the open and light space. The windows were in a varnished Oak and the fireplace was crafted out of old timber beams.
The 4 storey townhouse based in Chiswick, London was a run down shell when the work started. The client was starting afresh and wanted to create a home that would be full of influences from their Indian & East African Heritage and yet be a space they could grow into as a family.
With this brief in mind, we replaced all the flooring with a warm Oak wood floor to bring a feeling of warmth into the rooms. The dining area was separated from the kitchen via an internal wall, and so the wall was removed for easier and direct access and a bespoke cabinet that doubles as a seating bench was installed for easy access to crockery during meal times.
The beautiful period style radiators came as part of the property and were kept and used as a showpiece to the property however were relocated to accommodate the new layout. Reflections of the clients indian heritage were introduced with metal cutwork lighting and a touch of glamour was added through the globe chandelier. The vibrant colours of India where introduced via a colourful vintage style cabinet and gold sunburst mirror.
We added a sense of history by layering the walls with vintage art sourced from flea markets and then framed. In the dining room, hand block printed fabric imported from India was framed and hung to provide both colour and warmth to the space.
Upstairs, what was once an attached ensuite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe to the master bedroom was removed and turned into an additional bedroom. A small empty room in the rear of the building was then turned into a contemporary family bathroom with a luxury hotel feel.
The Master bedroom was given a more contemporary look that included touches of the clients heritage through modern artwork. The window dressing was created by using cotton and hand stencilling a paisley pattern onto the bottom of the fabric. My clients had a lot of fun creating the print with their kids and then the fabric was made into a pair of roman blinds.
When I look back at the photo’s of this home I realise that it was during the renovation of this space that I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to be an Interior Designer. Even through all the mistakes, doubts and moments of panic, I was in my element. I think that it was only after this project that I really decided to progress from this being a hobby to starting something more significant, a Design Studio.
To view more images of the space go to the Doris Lee Design Studio – portfolio.
Till next time,
Photography by Chris Snook