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When Simon and Emma’s daughter, Bibi, was born, they were living in a small one and a half bedroom flat without a garden, and decided to hunt for another place with more space. “We wanted to stay East and knew a couple of people who lived in Walthamstow Village,” Emma begins. “We came to visit and have lunch one day and instantly fell in love. It was like being in a country village yet at the end of the Victoria line like a bubble in London.”
Emma continues: “We looked at many houses but with this one it was love at first sight; the double doors into the lounge from the wider-than-usual hallway were a winner. The garden was barely overlooked and had such lovely mature plants. We were very lucky to be able to buy when there was a bit of a dip in the market in 2009.”
Simon is the founder and director of FLOOR_STORY, a “maker of beautiful rugs with an eye on craft and unique design.” And Emma is the founder and creative director of trifle*, a commercial interior design studio that focuses on designing offices and home working spaces. So when it came to designing and filling up the Victorian house in Walthamstow Village they purchased 13 years ago, there was no chance these two incredibly creative people would end up with a boring home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Colorful and Characterful! We like mid-century vintage pieces mixed with timeless contemporary.
Inspiration: Color palettes from Marrakech, the Mediterranean, Mexico and South America. We love interiors from the ’50s ’60s and ’70s eras. Travel is the greatest inspiration for our home.
Favorite Element: The kitchen is lovely as it is full of plants and connected to the garden, Crittall windows, and lots of light.
Biggest Challenge: A Victorian terrace has got to be one of the greatest challenges to make work for a contemporary way of living. The houses are very narrow with little storage so you are limited to how much you can do
The back lounge is still a slightly odd space we keep trialing different arrangements and will eventually make something bespoke here.
Proudest DIY: The primary bedroom headboard. This is a wooden pole with two cushions attached by belts that sits behind a simple frameless Japanese-style bed. We wanted king size but standard beds we liked were all too big for the space. Really pleased as we have a compact but generous bed that works well in the space.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We use an old shop drapery unit in the back lounge for shoe storage, which works a treat!
We also lost one small box room to create a good size double bedroom and two bathrooms. One is en suite so the house has been considerably reconfigured up as well.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? The drapery unit used as storage.
Bespoke green concrete worktops from Smith and Goat.
The art in the kitchen, which is me and my daughter paddle boarding in Colombia. Simon took the picture then had it made into a piece of art. It is very special and was so thoughtful as he did this during peak lockdown when we needed to remember our freedom!
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Always work with a good space planner; it is absolutely key to optimise spaces and to get the flow right.
We fitted under stairs cupboards and one is a coat cupboard — think about how to use every inch.
Be prepared to lose things like beautiful old fireplaces in order to maximise space.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Be brave with paint — you can transform a space with color, and if you really hate it you can paint over it.
Try to make do and mend, like recovering old chairs, and give vintage pieces new life.