Seeing in colour

Vivid paint hues and colourful fabrics have been skillfully woven together to bring this London home to life.

The Shaw family knew that they wanted a bit more space and the best way to get exactly what they wanted was to buy a property that needed a bit of work. ‘That way we could create a home that worked for us as a family, and we would not have to compromise,’ Flora Shaw explains. 

The house is unassuming from the outside, but the Shaws had ambitious plans. ‘We hired an architect but soon realized the amount of attention to detail required in order to achieve the level of finish that we hoped for,’ Flora explains. ‘We felt overwhelmed and became very aware how time-consuming it would be to tackle the project really well.’ 

She lives here with her husband Henry and their two young daughters, Clara, 4 and Rachel, 8. ‘We both work, so we decided that we needed a bit more help,’ Flora shares. They engaged the services of interior designer, Sean Symington. Sean is based in the Cotswolds but does a lot of work in London and has a growing, nationwide reputation based on his spirited combinations of flamboyant colour and patterns. ‘He enabled us to focus and to plan an interior that was so much more unique and individual than we would have managed ourselves,’ Flora admits.

They added an extension at the back of the house to enlarge the kitchen and a floor-to-ceiling wall of glass to enjoy the garden more. They created guest accommodation in the basement, installed new bathrooms and decorated the whole house throughout. Walls painted in ‘Strong White’ and woodwork painted in ‘All White’, both by Farrow& Ball, have been used as a recurrent backdrop and create a unifying thread in an interior which is full of surprises. ‘Many of the clever fitted solutions are bespoke by Sean,’ Flora says, ‘and even some of the freestanding furniture, such as the golden velvet ottoman and the deep green, glossy side tables in the sitting-room have also been made by him.’ The pieces work beautifully together and the result is a very distinctive and luxurious interior.

‘We both work from home more now,’ Flora explains, ‘so we need spaces that are tucked away and private, but we also want to enjoy being together as a family, so the large kitchen diner has been a great success, our older daughter can do her homework at the table and our younger daughter can play happily in here for hours.’ The sitting-room at the front doubles as a wonderful entertaining space and as a snug just for the family. The colours that Sean has helped them choose are so uplifting they are much bolder than anything they might have chosen themselves; ‘The rich tones make the perfect backdrop for our art collection, we both love abstract art and some of our pieces are quite minimal so the vivid colours complement and incorporate the pieces perfectly.’ 

They are delighted with the result, ‘We feel that the architectural details we have achieved are of a high standard and that thanks to Sean, the interior of our home reflects the beauty and vibrancy of modern London: the parks, the museums, and the art galleries that we enjoy on our doorstep are an inspiration to us and we are thrilled to have their essence echoed in our home,’ Flora shares. 

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