When interior designer Sophie Paterson redesigned her own house she blended her signature style with that of her husband to create a uniquely luxurious home.
What would be your first criteria when looking for a London home? Location was precisely what attracted interior designer Sophie to her mews house. Well, that and the front door. ‘We wanted to make the most of our pre-kids years by living in central London and South Kensington is a lovely place to live’ Sophie explains. ‘Furthermore I always wanted to have my own front door; being house proud the idea of sharing a front door with other messy neighbours gives me a nervous twitch!’ So, with her front door issues sorted, Sophie set about making this London base her own.
Dating from the 1800s the house had great room proportions and a good layout and fortunately it hadn’t been extensively developed so there was plenty of scope for Sophie to make her mark. Describing her signature style as ‘classic contemporary with a predominantly neutral palette’ her own home is a perfect example of this look, albeit with a slightly masculine twist. Sophie attributes this to the fact that prior to moving here in 2006, she briefly lived with her husband Kevin in his bachelor pad in Glasgow. Sophie describes this previous apartment as ‘filled to the brim with gadgets; baths that filled from the ceiling, fires that lit and curtains that closed all with the flick of a switch!’ Whist describing it as ‘like something out of an Austin Powers movie’ she quickly adds that it was ‘very tastefully done with a masculine Alfred Dunhill or Ralph Lauren vibe’ and when the couple moved to London they bought much of their furniture with them from this apartment, hence the masculine overtones. Over time though Sophie has ‘softened and lightened up the scheme’ and it is now a space which she feels ‘represents both of us, with the softer more feminine bedrooms very true to my personal style and the more masculine rooms designed with Kevin in mind and making the best use of his furniture.’ A perfect compromise! All you couples out there, please take note.
Because Sophie and Kevin lived in the house for a year and a half before commencing any work they had plenty of time to work out what they wanted from the space and Sophie was able to pinpoint how they liked to live in the space before making any changes. Like all projects though, it quickly started to take on a life of its own and Sophie freely admits that ‘what was meant to be a few cosmetic changes soon turned into a total overhaul.’ On the ground floor they opened up the doorways leading off the compact entrance hall, heightening and widening them to give a greater sense of space and pocket doors were also installed upstairs to help the space flow in the smaller rooms such as the ensuite. The couple also installed a new kitchen and bathroom, as well as new flooring and redecorated throughout adding new soft furnishings to complement the scheme in each room. As well as these visible updates Sophie also added some invisible improvements to make everyday life that little bit more luxurious such as underfloor heating in the bathrooms and kitchen, a heated mirror for applying makeup, surround sound in the lounge and lutron lighting throughout.
Such a large amount of work would be intimidating for you or I, but of course Sophie had her design background to fall back on. ‘Running my own design studio was a huge help in terms of sourcing items and having a team of trusted tradesmen,’ she explains, ‘I have an excellent carpentry team who carry out all my work and so I greatly enjoyed designing my dream dressing room...as well as vast amounts of storage in every nook and cranny around the rest of the house.
The living room is Sophie’s favourite space in the house as she explains ‘it’s where we gather when we have friends and family round so it’s got so many happy memories.
When quizzed on how she sees British design, Sophie suggests that ‘Good British design has a certain edge; whether we are dressing ourselves or a home we seem to do it in a laid back way with humour that others across the world try and emulate.’ When asked about her design inspiration Sophie admits to being a magazine addict; ‘I buy every single interiors magazine out there!’ she admits ‘I particularly love Vogue Living Australia, but increasingly I’ve been looking to blogs and online magazines whose style really resonates with my own.’
So, what does the future hold for Sophie Paterson Interiors? ‘I love being hands on so I don’t want to grow to the extent that I become a manager and don’t have the time to actually get down to the nitty gritty of interior design’ Sophie states, ‘first and foremost I want to focus on producing beautiful interiors.’ And are there any more home redecoration plans of her own on the horizon? ‘Every corner of the house has been refurbished!’ laughs Sophie ‘I’m going to have to move so I can try out some of my new ideas.’