Thursday, 25 April 2013

One-bedroom? No problem. My stylish neighbours' bijou flat

My neighbours have style. And I've been meaning to commit their flat to this blog for several years. Finally, I coerced them into inviting me over and got in there with my camera.

I first encountered one half of Emma and Sarah (the Emma half) the day I moved in. I was hauling furniture across the threshold when she appeared, explaining she'd been watching out of her window  to see what sort of furniture I had before introducing herself. You've got to warm to someone who shamelessly tells you it was the sight of your coffee table that made them want to say hello.

Emma is a hugely talented sculptor (she was part of the team that made the figues on the Queen's Jubilee barge, to give you an idea...), while Sarah is a hugely terrifying barrister for the CPS (well, I imagine she's scary in court, though not at all alarming outside of work).

They have lived in their one-bedroom flat for 15 years – during which time they've transformed it from a leaky two-bedroomed space with broken gas bar fires into a sleek but homely, open-plan apartment, packed with interesting and beautiful things, including the gleaming pair of Tom Dixon ceiling pendants you can see above. I have spent a lot of time drinking tea or wine at that gorgeous kitchen table, feeling like I should go home and finish all those lingering odd-jobs around my own house. And it all shows how much you can do with a small space, if you do it well...

Love how this battered, over-size leather chair looks draped in clashing patterns and in front of the flat's clean white walls.

"We have read all of the books but love them for their orange bindings," they say.

The open-plan living room/kitchen as seen from the other end of the flat.

"This is a cast of Michelangelo’s ‘David’," explains Emma. "The two long figures and the tea caddy came from our local Barnardos and the hare was a gift from a very generous friend, Belinda and the chocolate mould of a rabbit was from a flea market in Brooklyn. The wire 3D triangle thing was from San Francisco."

The office corner. Love the red fairy lights. You can't go wrong with fairy lights – they add sparkle to anything. (And if you were to look out of that window, you might see me taking the rubbish out.)

The bedroom. The matching red letters (S and E) either side of the bed were a gift from Emma and Sarah's friend, Devan. They think the letters were originally on the front of an old carpet shop in the area.

The wallpaper is Silver Birch from Cole & Sons. "We could only  afford one roll," they say.

That is one serious bath. I really like how plain the bathroom is, letting the colourful old signage on the wall stand out. The brick-formation tiles are plain as can be too – the lack of decorative bevelled edges is what gives them that nice, crisp, clinical look.


Sarah and Emma’s beautiful fish plates are a set of six, all different colours. They are 1960s English Ironstone, and the range is called ‘Aquarius’. They also come in a ‘Beefeater’ range (the design is psychedelic cows rather than the tourist burger chain). You can read about those, here.

This is Emma’s latest piece of work, they are a portrait of Zoe, a model from the college where Emma studied. They are cast in cement fondue and mounted on a piece of marble from the altar at Westminster Cathedral, which was salvaged by Emma after the altar was moved two feet when the Pope visited a year or so ago. Next to the portrait are some stones with holes through them collected from a beach in Norfolk.

The wig is in regular use as is the law book. And the sheep/rabbit was given to Sarah by Emma when she was called to the bar because the symbol of her Inn is is lamb and it looks like a barrister’s wig.




All that, and I got a delicious lunch...

Read more about Emma and Sarah – and see more images of their place – over here.

Find out more about Emma's stone carving and sculpting work at her website

2 comments:

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  2. I love the silver wall paper in the bedroom, the leather couch, the big kitchen table and most of all the sculpted decors. Classy and elegant. Thanks for sharing -
    coastside properties

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