Fiona & her living room
Fiona & her living room
A blank canvas of a room might be an exciting decorating possibility, but all too often it’s also a daunting prospect. Which palette to choose, will it turn out how you’d imagined, how to bring it all together? It’s exactly why we created our Home Design Service – to give you the second opinion and expert advice you might need to put those blank canvas worries to bed. Something that Fiona, the owner of this light yet cosy London living room, can attest to…
This Victorian, semi-detached house, just five minutes from Neptune Chiswick, is home to Fiona, her husband, Roger, their cat, Bear, and – very soon to join the family – baby, too. Having found their home in 2018, Fiona and Roger spent the next year reconfiguring the layout downstairs and up, and adding a contemporary extension to the back, before they finally moved in in October 2019.
Although they’d done all the structural work, Fiona and Roger’s plan to also furnish their home anew before they moved in didn’t quite go ahead. So, for a little while, the space that’s now their living room stood empty, with the couple spending their time in the newly created kitchen. It was a chance encounter with our store that set things in motion: ‘When you walk in, it’s just so homely, so calming, and the team are all so friendly,’ Fiona told us. ‘You feel like you could stay there, like it could be your own house. As soon as I walked in I thought, this is the feeling I want for the living room.’
Having fell immediately in love with the Olivia sofa (‘It’s super comfortable! I’ll never part with it!’) and the Coniston coffee table (‘I love that it has a traditional aspect to it but it’s just so sleek in the way it’s put together.’), they promptly ordered both. But the problem, Fiona found, was where to go from there: how to bring it all together into the calm, cosy and warm space she had in her mind.
Which is where our Home Design Service came in. One of the first aspects that Lucy, Fiona’s home designer, turned her attention to was the colour palette. ‘Because I wanted the room to feel calming, I thought I could only achieve that with cream colours,’ explained Fiona. ‘I’d painted the walls in a favourite shade of off-white, but it’s a north-facing room with these tall bay windows that bring in such a lot of light, so it was too bright and cold. Lucy chose Silver Birch for the walls and alcove cupboards, with Snow above the picture rail and Grey Oak on the chimney breast. She was spot on. It completely transformed the space.’ From there, Lucy encouraged the couple to venture out of their colour comfort zone, with a George sofa in Isla Mallard and cushions in shades of yellow joining the much-loved Olivia in Hugo Pale Oat. ‘We were choosing between greens and yellows or blues,’ said Fiona, ‘but we settled on the greens and yellows because there’s a tree right outside the house and you can see the leaves from the bay window, and so the green colour scheme just felt more natural. I’d never have put the yellow with the green – I’d have been too scared! But I’m so glad we trusted Lucy’s advice.’
As well as encouraging the couple in their colour choices, Lucy’s assurance that their desired layout would work proved invaluable also. ‘Most people in our street with similar houses just put an armchair or two in the bay window. But I was really keen on having a sofa there to make the most of the space. Several people said they didn’t think the room would work with two sofas. I spent a lot of time looking on Instagram to try and see what other people put in their bay windows!’ Lucy said. ‘It’s hard when you’re waiting 12 weeks for a piece of furniture and worrying, after all that, whether it’s going to fit. Which is another reason why it was so useful working with a designer, because Lucy created a floorplan so we could envision the space. It gave me more certainty that it was all going to work out.’
And work out it did. Fiona and Roger now have the warm, calming living room they imagined, and just in time for their little one’s arrival. ‘It’s better than I imagined! When I first spoke to Lucy, I was so embarrassed by the room, I couldn’t bear it! It’s a gorgeous room but the colours where all wrong and it felt cold. Since Lucy’s designed it, we’re in here every evening and it’s such a nice space when we have family over. It makes you realise how much the choice of colour impacts the way a room feels. Now I’m just so looking forward to having a Moses basket in the corner!’
Life in Fiona’s new living room
What’s your favourite part of the new space?
‘Probably the George sofa, because it’s the pop of colour. It’s the one thing that people comment on when they come in – great sofa, great colour!’
What could you now not live without?
‘I couldn’t live without the Olivia sofa to be fair. It’s the most comfortable!’
‘The bedroom’s next and we’re planning a scheme of Sage and Lily with the Whittington rug and some oak pieces to tie it in with downstairs. So, again, relaxed, calming and quite natural.’