Recognising our fortunate first in line status when it comes to accessing glorious C20 pieces and modern design that clever lot at The Modern House estate agency kickstarted our styling career by giving us an East Dulwich location to ‘play house’ in a couple of years ago and we have never looked back. What was a dream, satisfied solely by watching Million Dollar Listing, turned quickly into a reality. Two storage facilities and a mountain of bubble wrap later we are now onto our fifteenth staging for The Modern House, making the newest of spaces look loved and lived in to inspire a super-quick sale.
We loved working on this four-bedroom townhouse designed by Stephen Taylor Architects, one of a row of six tiled houses off Stoke Newington Church Street commissioned by the local council.
The light bright breakfast area situated in a front bay window has a real Danish feel to its integrated seating which we enhanced with a Scandinavian opal pull up and down light placing a round, central legged Fritz Hansen table beneath it. We finished it off with a round tray filled with plants and ceramics to echo the pieces laid out in mini installations along the kitchen surface making the space look match-ready for guests.
Newbie Emma Johnson has already been snapped up to design a collection for one of our favourite Brutalist buildings. Created exclusively for the re-opening of the Hayward Gallery, EJC x Hayward was inspired by the monumental and geometric architectural forms; with a vase reflecting the towering pillars, cups taking inspiration from the triangular overhangs, and a jug based on the heavy, asymmetric Brutalist shapes found within the complex. Each piece is made from a light grey coloured porcelain, some with additional dark grey marbled accents to reflect the aesthetic of weathered concrete.
We gave the kitchen texture with a trio of baskets above the cupboards suggesting a decorative way to achieve extra storage while softening up the Lapitec Fossil stone worktops and SMEG appliances with some Scandi wood and glossy Emma Johnson ceramics to echo the glossiness of the tiles outside.
For the styling you see here five brilliant contemporary designers threw in some of their most fabulous designs to our midcentury modern aesthetic making a small but perfectly formed three bedroom architect-designed new build commissioned by Hackney Council for a road in Stokey feel a lot more like home. We hope you agree the mix of midcentury furniture and plants with classic midnight blue MADE® L shape Oskar sofa, deep tones and graphic lines works really well against the minty green backdrop.
WE have been hankering after Margate designer Jo Elbourne’s startling reliefs (above), stools (in the bathroom) and screens (below) for a while so made sure she was the first designer we contacted. Elbourne makes the Scandinavian tradition of rope and paper-cord very much her own by hand-dyeing and wrapping rope in an abstract fashion, lifting it from its humble status and making it sing as Hans Wegner did with the paper-cord on his chairs. Jo Elbourne’s craft seems to work seamlessly when weaving midcentury and contemporary together in a heritage themed staging. A wide hallway leads to a large living area with an inverted bay window of floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto the garden. We put a red acer in the garden to lead peoples eyes to the smart, lockable black shed and start a conversation about composter and water harvester.
Because the interiors had such a neutral palette, with solid-oak flooring throughout we felt we should bring a royal blue coloured sofa into play and plenty of plants bringing the outside in. We split the sitting room in two to create a larger dining area aso visitors could envisage dinner parties and added some stunning artwork in clever shades from Jo Elbourne and a bamboo and canvas light that repeated the line of the Elbourne artwork below.
Craftsmanship is dotted around the room with a set of Cherner chairs around the Arne Jacobsen table, a felt table centrepiece by Michelle Mason, table by Workshop 8, the iconic Bambi chair by Norwegian architects Rolf Rastad and Adolph Relling and walnut and paper-cord stool by Par Avion Co. The green of the plants add the final touch of colour and texture to link back and front of the room in this staged setting.
Furniture maker, designer and woodworker Jozsef Krausz worked for a host of famous names restoring aged and beautifully unique pieces as well as creating handmade bespoke pieces. With Workshop No. 8 he aims to bring back the value of truly hand made furniture and encourage people to invest in pieces made with skill and precision that carries the hallmarks of crafting skills handed down from generation to generation while incorporating new ideas, new techniques and fresh attitudes.
Something unachievable with todays flat-packed designs. We absolutely love his walnut coffee table with its criss cross pattern of beech seen here in front of a stunning peacock blue MADE® L-shaped sofa in the sitting room.
Husband and wife team Simon and Monica Cass of paravion.co seen (above) with bench and tray in the bedroom work to as small as possible carbon footprint when producing stunning pieces that could sit comfortably in a room filled with Danish greats like Wegner already mentioned above and Hvidt & Molgaard. The couple’s backgrounds in furniture making and architecture bring a broad range of skill and experience to their design work. While they create a lot of the pieces themselves, local craftsmen are employed in the UK and America, sourced for the quality of their production and environmental credentials. Making good quality products for a reasonable price which, rather than being influenced by transient fads are created as timeless treasures for years to come, is the duo’s modus operandi.
We felt that adding a touch of texture to the mix was important up the stark staircase and Tracy Kendall’s arresting wall hanging made of undulating machine stitched waves of paper certainly fits the bill at this location. The perfect blend of craftsmanship and design, the waves up the stairs and the block wallpaper put on a canvas sideways and placed above the bed were stitched by machine in Tracy Kendall’s Margate workshop and home.
This modern award winning wallpaper supremo has a versatile portfolio of wallpapers that spans forty years. Often used in commercial or residential interiors, large or small, modern or period around the world, Kendall is a favourite with interior decorators.
When our eyes touched down on the view out of this window we just knew we would have to ask Mark Thurgood to get out his saw and whittling penknife and create some of his teeny tiny houses for us. We love the way Mark uses leftover bits of wood to great effect.
We brought nature into the large family bathroom with plants accompanied by a sculptural white watering can, some woven leaf art and a rope stool by Jo Elbourne.
We made the top bedroom with its access onto a roof terrace with impressive views of London into a study keeping it mainly black and white and a bit Bauhaus in style with little pops of colour to lift the desk that can also double as a meeting table .
Lucy Ryder Richardson
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