This four bedroomed house with its eye-catching original terrazzo hallway floor was inspired by trips to Wisconsin and its  midcentury architecture. Now still owned by the family who commissioned Kent-based architect Dennis Darbison to realise their dream in 1964, it was created using ragstone from the local quarry and super high spec. cherry-wood panelling.

When we arrived we met the children of the original owner who commissioned the house. They walked us around and showed us the cleverly-conceived design details like the handmade stairs, spoke excitedly about the terrazzo floor and the metal tissue boxes their father had inserted into each bathroom as the director for Kleenex at the time. They were still clearing out the garage and so we were able to borrow a few pieces from their childhood like the old wooden lorry we put in the study come ‘rumpus room’ across the hall.

The emotional element of a staging is very important to us as pieces embed with childhood memories can add ‘good energy’ to a place.


We reflected the warmth of the wood on the staircase by bringing in an Aalto chair and put a simple hand turned wood vase with some sprigs on the floating shelf created from a wood offcut by the door for keys as well as a basket on legs that would be the perfect place to put a bag as you came in or a bunch of post. We really wanted to pay integrity to the house and its history while updating it slightly. 


In the sitting room leading from the hall we added to the midmod American feeling by decorating the fireplace the way we imagined a midcentury designer like Eames, Girard or Nelson might decorate.


We worked along the long fireplace that went from one end to the other adding in greens, blues and oranges to work well against the backdrop off warm wood with a Danish oil painting, some green Holmegaard and Dansk and orange Whitefriars glass, some Bitossi ceramics and a book about the famous textile designer Tibor Reich.

Working with the original cabinetry, copper oven hood, chequerboard lino floor and checked curtains in the kitchen, we went for the Scandi rustic look and mixed in a few pops of colour using Danish Krenit bowls . We found some weighing scales in the garage so cleaned those up for use as an art piece in the kitchen framed by the Abigails Party style hatch from kitchen into dining room.


Upstairs we dressed two bedrooms and the family bathroom with the original Kleenex tissue boxes installed by the owner in homage to his job as director of the company at the time.





We brought in a folding bamboo screen to drape a vintage cotton throw over to soften one corner and added a little dressing table made up from an Aalto table and an Eastern European mirror with drawers to the largest bedroom.



Stylists Lucy Ryder Richardson Petra Curtis Frances Marden

All images are c Petra Curtis, Lucy Ryder Richardson and also The Modern House so please obtain permission before using 

Contact petra@modernshows .com and

Speed up the process of selling with a mix of midcentury & modern styled by our founders former stylist and journalist Lucy Ryder Richardson and graphic designer Petra Curtis. A big leap away from the showhome look, the dynamic duo mix iconic midcentury pieces that have built up a warm patina over time with cool contemporary from the latest designers to make your home stand out but still look loved and lived-in. The service is not super-expensive. While most clients go for the mid-range packages £10,000 up to £25,000, smaller one bedroom flats and houses start from as little as £5000 plus VAT with books, sheets, towels, soaps, smalls, quirky objects and paintings all included. Because we can get good deals and already have a selection of high-end early production designer furniture and smalls in-house Modern Shows’ staging service is cheaper than hiring the furniture directly from dealers and companies that will hire you all modern. In America where staging is more established you pay much more for this service. Americans understand that the quicker the property sells the better for their budget and you can often achieve a hike in sale from the spend as a queue of interested buyers build up. By adding emotion to the setting you will see your property tug at the heartstrings. Lucy and Petra work with architects new builds regularly for The Modern House estate agency. Other jobs include an office and dining room for Saatchi and Saatchi, office meeting room, reception and snug for Danish company Adform and dining and deli decor for Brindisa restaurants.


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