A Dated Victorian Town House in East London Turns into a Designers’ Family Den

AFTER: For their “adult” living room. The couple opted for a split-level paint scheme with limewash paint on top to avoid accidental (and hard-to-restore) smudges by playing children. Most of the furniture came from their previous house and was reupholstered with bold-patterned fabrics, while the fireplace is a vintage find.

Philip Durrant

The room at the front was turned into an adult living room. “Our kids are a wonderful chaos,” Anna says. “And the family room is big enough for roller-skating and for their toys to get lost in. But we wanted the front room to be our space. The kids know they can’t trash it.” Setting these boundaries allowed the couple to work with their studio’s signature interplay of bold patterns and delicate fabric curtains and upholstery without having to worry about juice spills and paint smudges.

AFTER: The couple also installed a high-tech mood-lighting scheme throughout the house, allowing them to change the lighting in each room with the flick of a switch. “We don’t often get to do that in our residential projects because it’s so expensive,” Anna says. “So this was a treat to ourselves.”

Philip Durrant

The “adult zone” extends to the second floor, where the primary bedroom and bathroom are located. The team extended the original bathroom to make space for an additional window, a large walk-in shower, and quirky details like a toilet bowl emblazoned with Chris’s custom graphic designs. “Our old bathroom was a war zone,” Anna says. “But because the kids now have their own bathroom upstairs, this one stays tidy.”

Next door, the primary bedroom takes over the brightest room in the house and was fitted with timber double wardrobes—each with antique-brass-mesh paneling and a custom-colored interior (Anna’s is baby pink, Chris’s is lipstick red). The original fireplace (which was “horrible,” Anna says) was replaced with a Flemish vintage one and fitted with a bioethanol burner. The adjoining room, separated by reeded-glass doors, is now a dressing room with a foldout couch for sleepovers.

BEFORE: “The original loft was nastily done and much smaller than we needed,” says Anna. “So we started over and turned it into a three-room space.”

AFTER: The team changed the directions of the stairs leading up to the loft and refitted the original “oddly shaped” bedroom as a kids’ bathroom. “Getting the loft extension approved took three rounds with the planning commission,” says Anna. “It was hugely complicated.”

Philip Durrant

A staircase lined with art prints that get more colorful with every step leads to the loft, which was completely rebuilt and extended to make space for two bedrooms and a bathroom. This is the kids’ area, fully carpeted and covered in a zigzag of boldly patterned wallpapers that resemble mountain peaks. “We don’t worry about any mess here,” Anna says. “This is really their own space.”

With its bold mishmash of floral patterns, antique keepsakes, and statement art pieces, the house reflects a lot of the projects the couple did for residential and commercial clients, while fitting the exact needs of their current family situation. “We could be as out there and adventurous as we wanted, without making compromises,” Anna says. “When you’re not designing for a client, you can be beautifully selfish.”

BEFORE: The original bathroom had only one small window and little space in which to move around.

AFTER: By borrowing space from the adjoining bedroom, the couple extended the bathroom and installed an additional window to brighten it up. The toilet bowl, emblazoned with Chris’s own graphic designs, is from The Remarkable Toilet Co.

Philip Durrant