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Making living lovely: Design duo 2 Lovely Gays on creating a home that’s truly you

Making living lovely: Design duo 2 Lovely Gays on creating a home that’s truly you

Interior design duo Russell and Jordan (AKA 2 Lovely Gays) are on a mission to make life lovely. They met twelve years ago at a mutual friend’s party and haven’t been apart since. Actors turned interior designers, they now add theatrical flourish to their clients’ homes via 2LG Studio: “Your home should be a true reflection of yourself and we help people achieve that.” Their own house renovation was a top-to-bottom makeover of a chintzy South London property. The result? A lesson in embracing what they call “joyful minimalism”. Step inside to find out more.

 

Take it slow

“For a long time the home had such a strong personality it felt like we were custodians carefully looking after it, and letting it lead us,” say the pair. They refused to rush this revamp. “We renovated our previous home so fast we didn't leave any time for ourselves to fall in love with the property.”

Feeling the space

The property prompted the design direction. “We’d never have thought of the florals or some of the decorative elements if we hadn’t listened to the house.” Is the house haunted? “A few guests have had unexplained experiences. But we think it’s a good [spirit]. We’re happy to share the space.”

Going undercover

While stripping the wallpaper in the downstairs bathroom, the pair found a fragment of a ditsy floral design in black and pink. “We instantly loved it so created a reimagined floral in an updated colour palette: gold metallic elements with an ombré effect. It works so perfectly we wrapped around every surface including the ceiling!”

Less is more

The duo recommend keeping a tight rein on options for consistency. “We generally try and keep a limited palette and choice of materials whether it’s a small or large space just to create a base,” says Russell. “And we do that throughout the whole house,” agrees Jordan. “So for example, all the woodwork is painted the same colour.”

Lights down low

“We tell our clients they don’t have to have a pendant in the centre of a room,” says Jordan. “I love a wall light that gives you ambience with soft and diffused light. And stick ‘em on a dimmer!” Their own living room is no exception. “It’s where we retreat to in the evening,” explains Russell. “After a long day, stuck in front of the computer, we want a space that’s really relaxing, calm and a bit on the darker side.”

The joy of using things

The pair aren’t super precious about saving things for best. Says Jordan: “You’ve got to enjoy things and use them. It doesn’t mean we don’t care but they’re there to be used. A friend recently threw a glass of red wine over the sofa, but that’s life, it’s just things!”

Putting the extra in ordinary

The duo’s design mantra? Making living lovely. “It’s about making your experience of everyday life, great. We always try to keep wardrobes and TVs out of bedrooms. Everyone loves going to a hotel because it makes you feel good, so we try to have elements of that.”

Go bold or go home

“People are so scared of getting colour wrong they make a non-decision like white, grey or something neutral. We’ve been taught that you need to keep your home light, bright and fresh for resale but you can’t live in your home just for the day you sell it; that’s not what a home is for.”

Pieces with personality

“We love browsing MADE and seeing what's new." They share the love with their clients, too. “MADE products are not only a great way to keep budgets on track but they add contemporary personality to projects; colour and playfulness.”

Colour injection

Their advice for former colour-phobes? “Start with accessories and see how you feel about it.” And don’t be scared to experiment. “If you paint something and you don’t like the colour, you can always paint over it.”

Bathroom sweet

“The biggest indulgence so far was our pink bathroom. We saved up for two years to do the work and it is a really special part of our house. The bathroom sets us up for the day, in the right way.”

Bathroom to boardroom

“The bathroom is a daily ritual so why not make it a nice ritual, to set you up for fighting your corner in the boardroom. Working life is stressful enough, so your house should be a sanctuary to recharge your batteries.”

Who lives here?

“It’s the people who add personality to any project we’re doing,” explains Jordan. “Even if it’s a styling project, we’ll invent a character who would live there. It’s impossible to create a successful space without thinking of who it’s for, or who’s going to use it.”

Adding drama

“We’re chameleons; we take on the skin of the people we’re working with,” says Russell. “As trained as actors, we were both taught how to become someone else.” And Jordan agrees: “We’re definitely not the sort of studio to come to for ‘one look’ - it’s just not us. I’d get so bored!”

A colourful life

The unicorn above the bed was an Instagram-fuelled purchase. “It’s limited edition. We thought it would be bigger than it actually is,” explains Russell. “But we see it everyday and love it!” And a final note from Jordan on sparking joy at home: “If you’re living in a space with a colour that makes you happy every day, who cares what value it does or doesn’t add to your property? It adds value to your life!”

Article written by: Pat McNulty | Natalie Wall
Photography by: Megan Taylor

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