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  • Writer's pictureSusan Van Meter

A townhouse renovation in the year of the Pandemic 2020

Last August we started a residential interior design project for a client in Bloomsbury, London. We were recommended by a client of ours where we renovated their home earlier that year.

Because of Pandemic and the resulting lockdown, this client was faced with more time to reflect on his home and how he used it. Many of us had the same experience; spending more time at home with money to spend on improving our living space. In fact, this created a boom in residential refurbishments in the UK.

The Bloomsbury client (with exquisite taste) was hesitant about the work he needed on his townhouse; he had a bad experience with the architect on a project 10 years prior to this that ended up in court. So, you can imagine the fear and dread he felt. But, SVM Interiors and the builder we work with came highly recommended!

A good start.


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PLEASE NOTE: It is essential to use a builder you can trust to do the work for the success of your design project.

The client was either going to move or renovate. He chose the latter. The house was tired and needed to feel like a home, reflect more of who he was and be full of life!

The project wasn't big but required thought and problem-solving. It included the following:

  • The creation of more storage space involving new joinery

  • A new entrance lobby to store his bike and other items used daily

  • A new colour scheme throughout

  • Repairs to water damaged walls

  • Solving some minor structural and remedial issues.

The client had a very good eye and sense of style. Having travelled extensively he had an amazing collection of art and sculpture from around the world and the UK.

He was very open to the use of sustainable interior products and UK-designed and manufactured materials such as paint, lighting, carpets, and fabrics.

The first area to tackle was creating a separate entrance in the long and not very wide hallway to store the bike. We exchanged ideas and agreed on a preference for a Crittal style door and partition with reeded glass. The client wanted the style to reflect industrial materials and details.

We found a great company, Rough Living, locally-based that could make the partition, all of the storage for shelving, and the bracket to hang the bike off the wall. We sent them our drawing, as you see below, that is typical of an elevation we might create here in the design studio.

Bespoke Crittal designed lobby with door, partition and shelving with a bike rack.
Bespoke Industrial style entrance lobby.

The above drawing was used for pricing purposes and to give the client an idea of style and proportion. We then go on to create 3D realistic renders, as we did below for this project.

London residential interior designer
Is it real? life-like 3D renders for an entrance hall.

Before and after for the entrance hall.

Storage, in general, was a problem, as it is with a lot of central London homes. The client had a lot of wine and nowhere to store it. We designed a cupboard that better utilized the space. We did this for the second and top-floor landings too. Looking at the available space and being creative with it in a simple and practical way always provides solutions to our interior design problems.

Second-floor landing.

Wine storage and entrance hall.

We introduced colour using Farrow & Ball paints. They are made in the UK with good sustainable commitments. Sadly, they have recently been sold to a Dutch company but retained manufacturing here in the UK.

Teals and blues featured predominately in the client's artwork, being one of his favorite colours. We decided to be brave and introduce a beautiful rich teal: Inchrya Blue to the three stairwells and some woodwork. This pulled the home together, grounded it, and provided continuity.

Farrow and Ball Inchyra Blue to woodwork and staircases.
From bland to beautiful!

One of my favourite carpet companies is Roger Oates. They produce fantastic stair runners in many different patterns and colours. As you can see it made a real difference to these staircases, seen above.

The client wanted to introduce pattern and texture as he felt this was more of what he was looking for. We used a classic William Morris wallpaper in the main bedroom and an exotic Zoffany designed wall covering in the guest bedroom which provided a powerful aesthetic. Both papers are made in the UK and therefore tick the sustainable box to some extent.

Uk made wallpaper London sustainable luxury interior, Sustainable interior products design,
Stunning reds and artwork

We have since introduced some roman blinds to the lounge which were not photographed, unfortunately. It has transformed the space. It really is about reaching inside to recognize what we truly love, then being brave enough to reflect this in our homes.

If you'd like to see more of this project. Click here and we'll take you to our portfolio page.

Our client is very, very happy with the end result. I could not be happier myself that we have succeeded to deliver beyond expectation for our client a home that reflects who he is, with the added bonus of increasing the value of the property and not costing the earth!

You can always contact me using this link if you would like more information on the products or principles mentioned in this article.

We are always looking out for companies manufacturing sustainable products to add to our preferred supplier list. If you would like to be considered, please contact me here.


For exquisite interior design, eco-solutions and inspiring ideas join our Green & Glam community!

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