When launching an interior styling business, redesigning your home is a great way to showcase your skills. Kristine Hall took a near-derelict Victorian house in London’s South Woodford and turned it into a luxurious pad. She documented the whole process on @restoringlansdowne and amassed 24,000 followers in just over a year. But it wasn’t just her followers who loved her work, our followers did, too. Her home is our most-liked on Instagram, and we’ve only posted pictures of one room. Now, you can see more of the trend-setting home she shares with her husband dan and their two cats Duke and Gracie, below.
“The original features and flaws are what make old houses interesting,” says Kristine. “How I feel in a space is more important than trends, and identifying what the real stand-out qualities are. Maybe it’s the natural light, or a beautiful door or time-worn rickety floorboards. Our builders couldn’t grasp why Dan painstakingly stripped 80 meters of original skirting boards instead of replacing them or why we didn’t dump the battered old front door. But if you’re not going to embrace those cracks and dents you might as well buy a new build.”
Though she studied art, Kristine went into banking when she first moved to London. But like many, her creative urges couldn’t be restrained: “The itch to return to my creative roots got itchier, and while renovating, we reached a point where we needed someone on site everyday to get the results we were after. So I left banking in 2016 to design and project manage our renovations full time. I’m now in the process of launching my own interior styling business.”
“Most of the property needed full back-to-the-brick renovation,” says Kristine. “Wallpaper was holding up the crumbling plaster, woodworm had eaten through floor joists, the wiring was faulty, doors and windows needed refurbishing/replacing...”
Seeing a renovation online may make it look easy, but it's taken over five years to complete the project. “Renovating an old property throws up all sorts of unexpected challenges. Instagram has been an amazing source of creative ideas as well as practical know-how.”
“When I was looking for a coffee table, Aula ticked all the boxes. There are a lot of dark tones in this room and I wanted to add a few metallic accents to lift them and add a touch of luxe.”
“My favourite MADE.COM piece is the Scott armchair in Petrol velvet in the lounge. The colour was the starting point for the design of this room. It really makes a statement.”
“We’ve maximised light at every stage of the renovations: adding roof lights in the loft and kitchen... Natural light is the most precious commodity during a London winter and as an avid houseplant keeper, it’s at the top of my list of essentials.”
“Underfloor heating throughout the ground floor is a total luxury and has freed up precious wall space. You’ll usually find two cats sprawled out on the kitchen floor for hours on end in the winter. And occasionally even a person. It’s brilliant.”
While renovating, expecting the unexpected is par for the course. When faced with surprise structural issues, Kristine used her creativity to turn it into a positive: “Previous owners had removed the original chimney breast from the dining room and left the chimney directly above it unsupported. Heavy brackets that extended below the ceiling had to be installed to make it structurally sound. So we designed a false chimney breast - to hide the brackets - that would fit standard kitchen units. We sourced an off cut of marble worktop, Dan created a backsplash with some kitchen tiles and our built-in bar was born.”
"I love colour and pattern and admire those who use it really boldy. But I crave calm in my own home and tend to use them more sparingly. That’s not to say I’m afraid of dark colours - muted dark blues and teals like Farrow and Ball Inchyra Blue in the lounge add drama without feeling overpowering, and dusky pinks here and there add a little bit of femininity."
And Kristine's decorating advice? "Take time to figure out how you really use a space and how you want to feel when you’re in it. And then keep going back to those answers. It’s easy to get carried away in different style directions when planning a room so keep those end goals in mind and you won’t go wrong. "
"Keep it practical for your lifestyle. We have lots of velvet upholstery because with two cats, woven fabrics don’t stand a chance. We’ve used high quality washable paint everywhere. And with our wood worktops, I don’t mind oiling them a few times a year and I think the odd scratch adds character, but it would drive some people mad."
"The best decorating advice I've received is to not rush it. I try not to impulse buy. If I still love something after thinking about it for a few months it’s probably the right choice. And as we’ve only recently finished renovating and decorating, I know our home will continue to evolve."
Article written by: Carly-Ann Clements
Photography by: Anna Batchelor