I’ve always maintained that good interior design is as much about the way a space makes us feel as the way it looks, and today I want to share a perfect example of somewhere created with wellbeing squarely in mind.
Called the ‘Home of Holism’, this Victorian terrace in North London belongs to interior designer Louisa Grey, whose previous residence I had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago. Not only is it where she lives with her young son, it also acts as an immersive showroom and team workspace for House of Grey, the studio she founded in 2014.
Louisa has transformed the entire property, converting a series of cramped bedsits into a calm, inviting house that’s awash with neutral tones, natural light and organic textures. What’s more, the whole place encapsulates House’s of Grey’s central ethos of ‘Circular Salutogenic Design’ – that is, creating spaces that have a positive impact on both the planet and human health. It’s therefore finished almost entirely in non-toxic, natural materials that reduce stress, improve concentration and, importantly, can be returned to the earth at the end of their lifespan. The result is a truly holistic and very inspiring space that’s wholly in tune with the needs of the people who use it. Let’s take a look around…
The living rooms
The ground floor is made up of two connected reception rooms, both decorated in the colour ‘Still’ from House of Grey’s ‘Silence’ collection for limewash paint maker Bauwerk. It forms a gently textured backdrop for a considered selection of sculptural furniture and accessories, including the ‘Triangolo’ chair from Frama, the opal-glass ‘Atollo 235’ table lamp from Oluce, and the ‘Crown’ easy chair and curved ‘Dandy’ sofa and ottoman from Massproductions. The overall effect is restful yet very elegant, but what I love most is how ornate period features such as ceiling roses, cornicing and window decals have been integrated into the otherwise minimalist scheme. By stripping back paint to reveal sections of the original materials beneath, Louisa has added appealing layers of patina, enhancing the air of easy relaxation and creating a wonderful link with the building’s past.
The kitchen, dining area and snug
The lower ground floor has been opened up and extended to create a large, airy space clad in natural clay plaster from Clayworks. At one end is a cosy snug with exposed timber joists; at the other a kitchen and dining area beneath a curved ceiling inspired by the architecture of Puglia, one of Louisa’s favourite holiday destinations. Created in collaboration with FincH, the units are made entirely from sustainable, chemical-free materials such as locally sourced plywood, British ash and reclaimed marble, with the island unit mounted on wheels for maximum flexibility. The sculptural dining table acts as a focal point, while timeless Hans J. Wegner CH47 and CH25 chairs from Carl Hansen & Søn add texture thanks to their woven paper-cord seats. A bank of cupboards (complete with gorgeous handles that fit together in a perfect circle) provides lots of storage, allowing the space to be transformed from home to work environment to meeting room and back again.
The bedrooms and bathrooms
In the main bedroom, earthy beiges and browns create a grounding and restful sanctuary. The walls are decorated in ‘Retreat’, again from House of Grey’s collaboration with Bauwerk, with a stripped wooden cupboard, linen bedding and a paper lampshade adding lots of natural texture. Partially glazed doors lead through to the ensuite, allowing light from its large window to flood the entire space.
Another bedroom sits under the eaves, with a delicate palette of whites and greys making it feel calm and light, despite its sloped ceiling. The bathrooms, meanwhile, feature textured tubs, sinks and shower enclosures that almost look as if they’ve grown out of the walls and floors, along with discreet lamps, hidden storage and patinated brass fixtures and fittings.
You can read more about Louisa’s approach to design, and her tips for how we can all turn our homes into happier, healthier places, in this interview.
All photography by Michael Sinclair, courtesy of House of Grey