Houzz Tour: A Victorian Family Home That’s Made for Christmas
This vibrant Victorian terrace packed with period features is always beautifully dressed up for the festive season
Decorated with rich velvets and vivid colours, interior designer Emma Green’s Victorian terrace in south London is always particularly beautiful at Christmas time. When she and her husband bought the house, however, it looked very different.
‘It was all yellow walls and blue carpets,’ Green reminisces. ‘We’ve done it up gradually, in stages. First we concentrated on getting the place more liveable. We pulled up the carpets downstairs to reveal the beautiful original floorboards underneath, which we stained, then we re-carpeted upstairs and painted the whole place. A new kitchen was next, which we then went on to update with new fronts, and finally we converted the loft.’
There are pros and cons to being an interior designer when it comes to doing up your own home. ‘Working on your own place is harder in a way than working on a client’s house,’ Emma Green reveals. ‘When I work with a client, I find it easier to understand exactly the look they want and then I can put together a list of choices for them. When it comes to my home, I’m aware of all the different combinations of choices I can make, so it’s a bit trickier.’
Green kept the existing footprint of the house and restored all its period features, including the Victorian doors, cornicing and original floorboards. She bought the mirror while on holiday in France and made the light shade with a vintage chandelier surrounded by silk.
Hallway and double reception room painted in Slate, Paint and Paper Library. Light shade,Emma Green Design.
At Christmas, a large tree always sits alongside a roaring fire. ‘We all love this time of year,’ says Green. ‘We get started on the tree and fill it with baubles that match the colour scheme.
‘The purple balls are then hung from the lights, I put a couple of little gold trees on the mantelpiece, which we cover with fairy lights, and then there are always a few candles around, too. I also wrap a garland around the stair banisters and add a few seasonal touches to the children’s rooms.’
Green wanted this room to feel warm and sumptuous, which is why she chose the rich velvet fabric for the sofa. ‘I like purple velvet – it looks very luxurious and it works well with turquoise, which is my favourite colour,’ she says.
In the dining room, Green had the cherry wood dining table (which came from a shop that’s now closed down) French polished and stained a darker colour to match the floorboards. She’s surrounded it with a mix of Victoria Ghost and vintage chairs, which she had painted and upholstered to match the turquoise and purple colour scheme.
In the kitchen, Green replaced a small window with patio doors to pull in more light and connect to the garden. She also swapped the traditional unit fronts for glossy, taupe-coloured doors to give the room a more contemporary feel.
‘I went for open shelving instead of boxy wall units in the kitchen, as it makes an interesting focal point,’ says Green, pictured here with one of her children. ‘And filling the shelves with glasses adds a little extra sparkle to the room, too.’
Converting the loft has allowed Green to create a hotel-style master bedroom suite, with a dressing room leading into an en suite bathroom.
‘I designed the super-king-size bed with a high, buttoned, black-velvet headboard to be the focal point of the room,’ says Green. ‘It’s so large, it had to be winched up through the window!’ The cushions, which Green also designed, and the throws that dress the bed add to the room’s boutique hotel feel.’
Glossy lacquered wardrobes in the dressing area, which link the bedroom to the bathroom, help to bounce light around. The large oval bath stands serenely at the end of the dressing room, helping to create the feel of an inner sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house.
Emma chose large-scale, 60cm x 60cm porcelain tiles for the bathroom floor to make the space look bigger.
Green always likes to include lots of vibrant colours in children’s rooms and, where she can, will use environmentally friendly paint; the bright green chimney breast here ticks both of those boxes. She’s also dotted the room with turquoise to link the colour scheme to the rest of the house.