Project Showcase: Crafted to Perfection

Project Showcase: Crafted to Perfection


The Brief

Crafted and artisan pieces were key to the renovation of this beautiful five bedroom Victorian family home in Wimbledon. Interior designer Sam Watkins McRae was commissioned to work on the project, which took place over two phases - the first phase included the first floor with bedrooms and bathrooms, while the second phase comprised the kitchen, dining and living area at the back of the house.

‘The clients wanted to use artisan pieces as much as possible,’ Sam says, so there was an emphasis on finding pieces created by craftsmen. ‘When it came to colour, the clients like a tailored approach - aspects of colour for a punch but sitting on neutral shades as a backdrop. They wanted to use a palette of earthy, neutral masculine colours.’

'Practicality was an important factor too, with three children and two dogs living in the house. The flooring needed to be carefully considered for that reason. ‘It had to be authentic to the style of the house and one that would stand up to wear and tear.’

The Project

The open plan kitchen/dining/living area constitutes the heart of the home. The footprint of the space didn’t change but a three metre by three metre glass roof was installed above the dining and sitting space. ‘It really was a Grand Design moment when the glass had to be craned over the house,’ says Sam.

The inspiration for the flooring came from a holiday in Mustique where the clients came across a design derived from shells that was laid in a diagonal pattern. ‘It was a case of trying to find the most suitable material that could recreate that look and that was attainable,’ says Sam. ‘This was why we chose Cipriani Limestone from Artisans of Devizes. It felt like it was slightly worn and was authentic too. It’s also got a lovely subtle patterning to it. Having the diagonal pattern layout also made it feel unique.’ From a wear perspective it was perfect. ‘Artisans of Devizes went above and beyond as they took a full size sample of the limestone round so that the client could see it in situ and be completely happy,’ says Sam.

The clients were mindful of sustainability so, as the kitchen was relatively new, they retained the carcasses, only changing the doors and worktops. ‘A masculine, authentic and soulful palette was chosen so that the clients could easily live with it,’ says Sam.  Saturated deep blue was chosen for the baseline cabinets and a floor-to-ceiling cupboard, providing a strong pop of colour. Soft white was chosen for the wall cabinets. ‘There was so much light within the space as there is light from the front and rear, and then the roof light brings in more light from above so we wanted to keep the wall mounted cabinets really pale and they play to the pale oak island and cabinet in the seating area,’ says Sam. Statement globe pendants, Hicks pendants from Visual Comfort, were incorporated to inject a masculine touch. The Roche Bobois modular sofa provides a comfortable place to lounge, while a durable, intricately crafted Jodie rug hand made by artisans softens the seating area. A green striped armchair close by signifies a designated space for the husband to sit and read the newspapers in a morning. A generous trestle dining table overlooks the garden and accommodates family meals and entertaining.

Upstairs, the main ensuite required a rethink. ‘The developer had created a very vanilla space,’ says Sam. ‘The clients wanted to inject personality, colour and texture and they wanted it to feel like an oasis of calm with a subtle sense of luxury.’ The wall tiles were removed and a watertight and durable microcement plaster finish was applied. ‘I thought, how can we make that floor sing and carry that air of luxury?’ says Sam. Then she spotted Artisans of Devizes’ Istanbul Marble Mosaic tiles with their geometric design composed of a hand mixed blend of triangles made from five marbles. She incorporated them to create a statement decorative floor with an eclectic touch. ‘I think Artisans of Devizes do some of the most beautiful flooring - it’s gorgeous. When we saw that we knew it was the floor,’ says Sam. The original bath and vintage washstand were worked into the scheme so as to be mindful of sustainability but they also provide a dash of classic elegance.

Istanbul Marble Mosaic
Istanbul Marble Mosaic

Photographer: Pine London

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June 8, 2023