Inspired by the Scandinavian designs of the swinging sixties, graphic designer Virginia Armstrong has brought her own eclectic touch to her family townhouse, with beautiful results.
As a designer and illustrator of colourful and contemporary, folk inspired interiors products you would expect Virginia Armstrong’s own home to be full of brightness and quirky features and that’s exactly the look that she has achieved in her ‘tall skinny’ 1960s built townhouse.
Situated in south-east London, practically a stone’s throw from Crystal Palace, the five-storey, four-bedroom house features a whole host of Virginia’s finds from the many vintage shops and flea markets that are close by, as she finds inspiration from the innovative design of the 60s, both at home and at work.
Virginia founded Roddy and Ginger four years ago and runs the business alongside her design and illustration work. She explains: “It all happens in my basement studio where I set up a screen printing table and started with a small selection of hand printed and handmade bags and screen prints. I gradually added to the product range and it has grown to include cushions, homewares and wallpaper. I am doing less and less screen printing now but I still handprint the prototype wallpaper before it goes into production and the textiles for the cushions. Right now it is the wallpaper that I most enjoy and I have just launched a new collection called Smalltown.”
A sprinkling of Virginia’s own textiles and wallpaper can be found around her home, which she has been busy putting her stamp on since moving there with her twins eight years ago. She says: “The house was quite shabby with finishes and décor dating from the 80s. It needed to be brought back to its original bright clean, modern, 60s aesthetic.”
Having previously lived in a crumbling Edwardian semi-detached house, it was the space and light that first attracted Virginia to her current abode. “There is very little in the way of ‘original features’,” she explains. “The rooms are boxy and simple but there is a lot of glass. I also liked the fact that it had an open fireplace in the living room, not often found in houses of this period.
“We took out a wall on the kitchen level to create a large open plan space - we had to loose the original serving hatch - renewed all the plumbing, installed an Ikea kitchen, laid solid oak floors throughout and finally painted everything white.”
The renovation project wasn’t without its problems though, as Virginia explains: “We had a firm of builders who went bust during the work and left us high and dry so finishing the job was quite a challenge, I think that counts as our decorating disaster story!”
But eight years on the agony of having to find new builders to complete the project is but a distant memory for Virginia and her family, who have most definitely made the house into a beautiful home. Virginia’s self-described ‘eclectic and thrifty’ style is apparent throughout, with bargain buys including Scandinavian glassware from a charity shop and an Ercol sofa and round white dining table found on eBay, all of which sit comfortably alongside more recent purchases including a set of Dutch Tornado shelves, bought as a prop for a photo shoot and sprayed white to make an attractive display area in the living room.
And Virginia’s favourite space? “The living room, it’s here that I keep all my latest finds. Favourites at the moment are my vintage rocking horse, chunky studio pottery and a number of chairs. It looks out on to a leafy balcony and then through trees to the London skyline; I never tire of that view.”
For more details of Virginia’s work visit