An Elegant Yet Comfy Home for Family Life
“We had only two months to design the house and get all the fixtures, fittings and core furniture delivered,” Lander says. “The owners wanted a turnkey solution to include a full refurbishment, plus furniture, soft furnishings, decorative accessories and full contents of the entire house. The family wanted to move in with nothing but their clothes and personal effects.”
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Jane and Andrew Webster; their two sons, ages 6 and 8; and Spencer the cat
Location: Highgate Village, London
Size: Five bedrooms, 5½ bathrooms
Designer: Viki Lander of Ensoul Interior Architecture
The Websters had a clear goal in mind when they contacted Ensoul Interior Architecture for this massive property transformation.
“They wanted to turn what was a very boring, nondescript house with zero interest into an elegant family home that also works for socializing and guests staying over,” Lander says. “Jane knew what she didn’t want too: no minimalism and nothing that looked cold, clinical or contrived. She wanted a warm family home that, when finished, looked elegant but lived-in, comfortable and homey.”
“Gray satin lacquer-sprayed cabinets, a timber wall and stainless steel lighting make this modern kitchen feel luxurious, with an industrial twist,” Lander says. “No walls were removed and nothing was extended, but the entire guts of the house were ripped out.”
“It’s a mix of reclaimed, engineered timber boards with old paint on them,” Lander adds. “It was quite a leap of faith to sell to the client, as it sounds a bit off the wall — excuse the pun — to put timber boards on a kitchen wall. But everyone is thrilled with the result, which proves taking a risk can pay off.”
A glass panel behind the cooktop protects the wood from cooking stains.
Pendant light: Searchlight Lighting via Castlegate Lights
Ovens and coffee machine: Miele
The handmade table has a chunky, rustic wood top and a steel base. The honey-colored rattan chairs add texture, and echo the look and feel of the wood pendant light.
Table and matching bench: Little Tree Furniture; rattan chairs: Rockett St George
The pale gray-brown wall color is used throughout the house for an easy-on-the-eye, harmonious flow.
Owalo 7000 pendant light: Secto Design via Skandium; wall paint: Dash of Soot, Little Greene
Find out what to consider before hanging pendant lights
“The cork flooring was my idea,” Lander says. “It’s so much warmer than tiles — both aesthetically and to walk on — and it’s something a bit different to a timber floor, which has become omnipresent. It has so many brilliant other benefits too, in terms of acoustics and hygiene. It’s easy to clean and has such beautiful markings.”
Cork flooring: Granorte
“The kitchen and family room is my favorite part of the house,” Lander says. “It’s the real heart and workhorse of the home. I love the clearly defined spaces, as well as the mix of furniture and textures.”
Sofa: Dwell; Arco floor light: Achille Castiglioni via The Conran Shop
“The reclaimed wood-and-steel TV cabinet and leather trunk also work brilliantly to ensure a rich, warm and interesting area in which to kick back and relax,” Lander says.
“Our clients really bought into the idea that the hallways and landings should be just as interesting as the rooms off them,” Lander says.
Gunilla pendant light: R & S Robinson via LuxDeco; multidrawer unit: Alexander & Pearl; Cuba engineered-wood flooring: Lamett
It’s painted, along with the stairs, in a rich brown and offset with a striped runner.
Woodwork paint: Knightsbridge, Little Greene; Rock ’n’ Roll Tainted Love striped runner: Alternative Flooring
“The brief was to create a space for elegant, adult dinner parties, with a seating area where guests could enjoy drinks before and after,” the designer says. “They also wanted to be able to use the same space for family parties and events such as Christmas.”
Glass medical cabinets from a Polish hospital are offset by a beautiful perforated aluminum pendant light, which throws interesting shadows around the room.
Vintage glass cabinets: The Old Cinema; Aeros pendant light: Ross Lovegrove for Louis Poulsen via Skandium
“I opted for a round table, as they’re much better for dinner conversation, and decided to mix up contemporary and vintage pieces for real interest,” Lander says.
The circular rug underneath the table is a custom piece made from a textured weave to add luxury and comfort to the wood flooring.
Octa dining table and leather chairs: Bonaldo
“I wanted to bring some vibrant color into the room but keep a sophisticated look to it,” Lander says. “And I love mixing textures — hence the linen curtains, woven textured rug, velvet sofa and leather chairs, which contrast with the hard materials in the room.”
Curtain fabric: Casamance; chesterfield sofa: Abode Sofas
“The brief was to design it primarily for the two boys to watch movies, use their games consoles and play their musical instruments, but it also houses a full-size table tennis table and a [foosball] table,” Lander says.
The custom media unit was designed by Ensoul. It combines closed storage to hide a multitude of toys and books, with open shelving for display.
Chair: Ambient Lounge
“It features fun decals of his favorite player and an inspirational quote by the manager, which can both easily be removed at any time should tastes change,” Lander says.
The vintage-inspired metal desk offers a sturdy area for homework and other pastimes.
Desk and bench: Cuckooland; chair and lamp: John Lewis
The walls are painted in the same color as the rest of the house.
“The armchairs were the only items the clients brought with them,” Lander says. “They wanted them to work somewhere in the house, so we had them cleaned, and I designed a scheme around them in the master bedroom.”
Bed and bed linens: The Big Bed Co.