One of the highlights of London’s design events calendar is always the Livingetc House Tours. An annual exhibition of people’s homes, the event which took place on Friday 8th June gave our inner snoops the chance to see how design aficionados of the capital decorate their homes with six house tours to embark on. The ever popular tour sees modern homeowners open their doors and invite readers of the magazine to experience their unique design ideas in the flesh and this year the event celebrated urban style with the homes all located in Hackney. The LuxPad tours the homes of livingetc House Tours 2018…
This 19th century semi-detached property is owned by Graz Darken, founder of design company Slices London along with her husband Nick, three sons and a husky called Bear. Everywhere you look in this home something unique and spectacular is going on from the collection of vintage jelly moulds in the kitchen, to an anatomical photo of a bumblebee’s private parts and the overall effect is breathtaking. With a love of all things distinctive and bizarre, the Darkens have curated a treasure trove of unusual creative pieces and after waiting a few years for the children to get a bit older they set about creating their at times macabre, but always humorous interior.
Owned by Stephen Nash who runs All & NXTHING and his wife Miranda, this extended Victorian cottage was the definition of a project house when they first bought it and is located in a north-London conservation area. Apparently a ‘dark, dingy dump’ when they first bought it, it was the bare bones of the property which first attracted them and made them certain they could transform the space into their dream home. Using some extra space from one of the bedrooms to create the bathroom (it was previously located in the scullery/coal shed next to the kitchen), they also extended at the rear to form a much bigger living space whilst keeping the valuable three bedrooms intact. The finished home is a contemporary masterpiece with a hint of industrial thanks to the moody colour scheme and raw finishes.
This end of terrace Georgian house is owned by Eloise Markwell-Butler, her husband Alex Hardee and sons Atticus and Huxley. Not fans of the ordinary, each room is a testament to the couple’s eclectic style from the statue of Jesus with his neon halo, to the covetable cocktail bar framed by a limited edition Roy Lichtenstein mural. Alex has collected antiques, mid-century furniture, oddities, taxidermy and neon art for years whereas Eloise loves chintz, vintage French furniture and share’s her husband’s love of neon art but draws the line at taxidermy. These loves have accumulated in their family home which is a quirky explosion of different styles.
Fashion stylist and interior designer Michelle Kelly, her music manager husband Iain Watt and daughter Iris Blossom are the owners of this Victorian house which is also inhabited by their cat, Bowie Stardust. Loving a ‘higgledy-piggledy, hotchpotch vibe’, Michelle has a habit of throwing numerous fabrics together in the hope it doesn’t look too much like a jumble sale. Decorating much like she dresses, she wanted a look that could evolve rather than one that would be thrown out at the end of the season which led to an eclectic yet timeless aesthetic which can evolve around the family.
Antiques dealer and founder of Pure White Lines, Matt Goss and his partner, interior designer Jules Owen, are the owners of this house of wonders. The double fronted Victorian house over three levels has been described as a ‘smorgasbord of what on earth?’ very much like the interior emporium he owns. With oddities at every turn it has a captivating charm which is a magical kingdom meets the Natural History Museum. From the skulls above the bed and the unicorn head above the fireplace, to the life size angel statue in the living room, Matt uses his home as a showcase for his favourite acquisitions and because of this they house never looks quite the same as pieces are sold and move on.
Owned by founder of Casa Botelho, João Bothelho, his partner Laurent and their two cocker spaniels, Prince and Oscar, this four storey townhouse was the last stop on the Livingetc House Tours 2018. Stepping beyond the grey front door you enter to an air of utter calm in this home and it was purchased in parts by the owners who first bought the top two floors, then a flat, before acquiring the rest a few years later. Renovations took over a year with João in charge of creative and Laurent handling the practical side including installing a Loxone remote control system, so that every detail from the lights to opening the front door can be opened via mobile.
It’s the textures and lighting which really add drama to this home, with the key themes of animal skin, marble, glass and mirrors running throughout. Another key aspect to this home’s design is the use of pairs with João commenting ‘people always ask, “don’t you like odd numbers?”, the simple truth is, I love doubles and balance. There’s lots of pairs. I buy two of everything, pets included!’.