The living room has an original Victorian fireplace, which is beautiful. When we first began renovating, I didn't particularly like the hearth - a peach and black marble - and asked the builders to remove it. 'No!' said a friend. Pointing out that it's actually a rather rare type of Italian marble, called Nero Portoro. So I waited. And I'm so glad I did, because once we got the floorboards down and a lick of paint on the walls, the hearth looked entirely different and fitted so well with the room. My colour scheme is darker than our previous drawing room (which was painted in ‘Brick’ by Edward Bulmer’) I went with ‘Sang De Boeuf’ this time around, a richer terracotta colour. When the walls were combined with the warmth of the dark wooden floor (Ebony Oak Aged Parquet by The Natural Wood Floor Company) the marble sprang to life and now I adore it. It’s a real lesson in renovating- don’t rush to pull things out because over time, things may completely change your opinion.
The mirror above the mantelpiece is Georgian and was a piece I brought with us from the old house. I repositioned a Georgian card table that had been on the old upstairs landing, to one side of the fireplace, topped with two big green glass lamps that I bought from a friend in LA, when she was moving house. I had them both rewired for UK sockets, a trick that is very quick and inexpensive for electricians to do. There are two antique architectural sketches from a market above the card table, and I love the cosy corner that the lamps and the picture lights create together. That’s a real insider tip: work out the electrics in the room, especially picture lights, first. The right lighting really helps everything come together.
I always knew I wanted my bureau desk in here as it’s my absolute favourite piece in the house. It fits in a little nook on the other side of the fireplace. I found it at a little antiques shop in Petworth and I couldn’t love it more. The red lamp is from Pooky with a Fermoie shade (the fabric is Red Marden). I’ve got a hand-painted Petra Palumbo decanter and glass, a Papier notebook as well as some vintage photos of my mum and dad, and my treasured Penguin classics in the top dresser. The captain’s chair is an antique from The Desk Shop in Dorking, and I had it reupholstered in a brown coral fabric from Sybil Colefax & John Fowler.
The sofas are OKA (very squashy and comfortable) and the Suzani throw on the back of the larger sofa is from Etsy. I added a little more colour with my cushions. The bright rectangular one is Caravane; the ruffled beige gingham ones are from Found and Curated, and the green velvet cushions are OKA. So cosy.
The ottoman (you may remember from our old snug) is from the Bespoke Footstool Company and upholstered in Ticking Stripe by Penny Morrison in Ginger, with a vintage Oukshak Etsy rug underneath. On it I have my treasured green tray by The Lacquer Company, some design books (you can shop a few of them below) and a gorgeous marble ashtray by Talea Studio. The layout of the sofas, ottoman and rug is almost the same as our old snug: a tried and tested fit.
I always need a cocktail trolley in the living room, and the scalloped wooden one I found a couple of years ago at an antiques fair, fits into the corner really well. I love stacking the bottles, cans and glasses onto it. Plus I like having a lamp on top too, this marbled one is from Pooky.
There are the most lovely floor-to-ceiling windows at one end of the room so I wanted to make the most of this light whilst still being able to draw curtains on a wintery evening. The fabric is Johnstons of Elgin Astral Herringbone in colour Linseed – which is a warm, textured neutral to ground the room – and they are 100% pure new wool. I had them upholstered with a peplum hem at the top for a little feminine feel and more volume. The wavy texture is mirrored in the scrunchie pendant light by Alice Palmer– a perfect finishing touch.
Once I’d chosen the warm ‘Sang De Boeuf’ paint, the rest of the colours came together naturally so the room is a real mix of dark green and terracotta brown. You all know how much I love a terracotta pot! I really wanted this room to feel welcoming and elegant with a real log fire. Happy winter.