Eclectic, cool & colourful refurbishment of a family home in North Oxford by Element Studios
Working for the art critic and author, Will Gompertz and his wife Kate on the refurbishment of their family home in North Oxford was not only a massive undertaking but also an exciting journey involving books, colour and an eclectic collection of furniture, all needing to be seamlessly accommodated into a totally upgraded home.
This was an extensive renovation of a 3-storey detached family home. The ground floor was significantly enlarged, enabling a re-think of the layout and usage of the whole space, and upwards throughout the house.
The client wanted to keep the warmth and feel of the house, but bring it up to date with clean lines, contemporary lighting and some clever design ideas. It goes without saying that there were many books requiring storage, and the library shelving forms an important and very visual pivot point within the ground floor plan. With its dark enclosing walls and real fire this space creates a cosy work environment which is independent and yet still very much a part of the house.
Getting the lighting right is always a top priority for us at Element Studios. This is the one thing that can really lift a home and its contents out of the ordinary. We spend a lot of time sourcing just the right fitting for each focal point, whether it be general ambience lighting for mood, or specific task lighting for a snug reading corner. See how we’ve incorporated great lighting in the images below.
Part of the challenge and enjoyment of our work is looking at ways to incorporate the client’s own furniture into an updated home. To us, this is an important aspect of any job because it’s a major part of the personality and spirit of a place, and we spend a lot of time really getting to know our clients and what they love. At Element Studios we like to re-invent furniture.
Successful interior design is not always about going out and buying new stuff from designer shops, often it’s about being clever with what you’re given.
Through our expert contacts, we arranged for old furniture to be re-upholstered with vibrant coloured fabric. These pops of colour, bring a more modern feel into the scheme.
The focus of family life is usually around the kitchen, and Will and Kate were no exception. They wanted to open up this space and link it with a TV and dining area and through to the living room, where a real fire was important. Equally vital to the scheme was a grand entrance-hall and a big utility room to swallow the clutter of family life.
Upstairs, we introduced a different vibe. Bedrooms and bathrooms were given a more traditional, cosy feel with carefully sourced wallpaper, elaborate chandeliers, bedside lighting and beds adorned with throws and comfy cushions. The client’s own furniture has been carefully placed and sits happily within this new setting.
“It has been great fun working with Camilla and we have felt in safe hands from the start. She has great energy and positivity and brings years of experience and a network of fantastic suppliers, coupled with a good eye for design and a reassuring decisiveness. She understands the nuts and bolts as well as the pretty stuff, so the drawings for the builders and the lighting and colour schemes have been spot-on. We adore the kitchen she has sourced for us, which looks a million dollars but didn’t cost it. There is no way we could have done this big renovation job without Camilla. She has given us the courage to go outside our comfort zone, with great results and, crucially, within a budget. Very happy!”
— Will & Kate Gompertz
Photography – @paullmcraig