We are excited to launch our new series of House Tours featuring homes which are designed to be lived in. We will take a look into the design hacks and decorating tips people have used on their own spaces and open the door to a variety of lifestyles and decor. We start with with a terraced house in South West London where Emma has translated her love of design, colour and clean lines into a beautifully styled home. Rooms are carefully curated to balance family life with a fresh open feel, airy living spaces and quirky touches.
LIVING WITH STYLE: EMMA & FAMILY, London
OLIVINE LIFE: How would describe your style?
EMMA: Colourful, simple and little bit quirky.
OL: What does your home tell us about your style?
EMMA: It should tell you that I am not shy of colour and like calming spaces that don’t succumb to the clutter of daily family life ( a major battle with two children) …
OL: Where do you turn to for inspiration?
EMMA: Pinterest and Instagram can suck me into their world for far too many hours.
OL: Where is the first place you start when you are sourcing anything new for the house?
EMMA: I like to keep budget in mind and so I start with the high street to source, with a lot of patience and a good eye you can find some real gems. I recently discovered an embroidered textile from Mexico on etsy which I have framed for the children’s playroom. Zara Home, Maison du Monde and H&M are also good places to look – their stock changes quickly so something will catch your eye. There are some gorgeous striped cushions at H&M right now that would look great in the garden for summer. Of course, any vintage shop is also worth a browse.
OL: What tricks or tips do you have for getting the most out of your budget?
EMMA: Think about what is unique to you and your family, there is no budget for family memorabilia and will often be the most interesting piece in your room.
OL: What colour do you never get tired of?
EMMA: I can’t resist blue – from cornflower to navy.
OL: What is next on your shopping list?
EMMA: Art,art,art, I am constantly looking to fill my walls with art in every possible space. It is the quickest and one of the best ways to add colour and character to a room.
OL: What should every room have in it?
EMMA: A pop of colour and something personal.
OL: What is the first thing you would save in a fire?
EMMA: My beloved granny’s chair that she upholstered over 30 years ago.
OL: Do you have any interior design hacks you can share?
EMMA: Make sure everything has its place. Clutter is the quickest way to ruin even the most stylish room, and with two children, I find it builds up very quickly. Baskets and stackable boxes for toys are key. I also scan all the documents I need to keep and the rest get binned and that way paperwork doesn’t build up in corners and on counters.
Art is so personal and one of the most expensive things to get right – if you take a good photograph of a piece you like instead, get your local printer to print a copy on mat photo paper and put this into a simple modern white frame for a striking effect. If these are then grouped together and your walls are painted a darker colour, the effect is even more dramatic.
Ikea is a budget conscious haven and is so easy to personalise with unique cushions found on etsy for example. I have a sofa in the kitchen and once the cover gets too worn, I can order another and even change up the colour for a different feel.
OL: Any tips on designing spaces for children?
EMMA: Anything goes, think outside the box, the crazier the better, you are only young once…
OL: Who is your favourite style icon?
EMMA: Anyone who owns their style and wears it with ease.
OL: Which is your favourite design era?
EMMA: The 1930’s [4 & 5], its hard to beat…
OL: Favourite flower:
EMMA: The tulip.
OL: Favourite museum?
EMMA: The National Portrait Gallery , the face is the most interesting canvas.
OL: New York  and of course, London !
OL: What or where do you most love about London?
EMMA: I always fall in love with London all over again when walking along the river from The Royal Festival Hall to Tower Bridge, along the South Bank , you can’t beat it to lift your mood.
OL: Favourite movie?
EMMA: Pillow Talk  on a cold wet Sunday afternoon and Bridesmaids for a good giggle.
OL: Favourite holiday break?
EMMA: A week soaking up New York eating and going to museums, and then a week chilling by the sea in Rhode Island  !