WHEN PHOTOGRAPHER Don Flood went house hunting with his wife Jenny Brunt, the couple didn’t expect their search would end with this stunning architect-designed home, built in 1958, with beautiful gardens and a swimming pool.
California house style
A few weeks after first viewing the property, the couple and their two daughters, Ella and Edie, moved in. That’s when the major renovation began.
Styles of Room
The living room was the darkest room of the house as the main entrance door was made of solid wood. It was replaced with large glass doors, which unleashed an abundant flow of light, now making it the brightest room. The walls between the kitchen and the living room were removed in order to open up the kitchen and make the home more of an open-plan layout.
To open up the house to even more natural light, the couple took down trees in key areas of the garden. “The small patio outside was overgrown with plants, which didn’t allow any light through to the house and so they were removed,” Don explains. “After it was all gone, light streamed in.” The natural light also emphasises the many architectural details of the property, such as the living room’s asymmetrical walls.
Sliding glass doors throughout accentuate the notion of the exterior blending with the interior. Nature is also welcome inside the house, especially as a feature in the bathrooms. In the guest bathroom, plants grow in what was previously a shower, and Mother-in-law’s Tongues (Sansevieria triafasciata) border the bathtub in the main bathroom.
When it came to the interior decor, both Don and Jenny knew the look they wanted to achieve. “We enjoy a more simple style, but with space for colours here and there,” Don says. Stark white walls and a pared-back palette not only add to the feeling of light and space in the home, but are the perfect backdrop to showcase a gallery of artworks and photography, with pops of colour also emerging through furniture, accessories and plants.
Garden and room interior
The couple’s love of scouring vintage stores and flea markets is evident in the interior of their house. Although modern in style, it is home to an eclectic mix of vintage and retro designer finds, such as Eames chairs, 1960s light pendants, shagpile rugs and many 1950s pieces. Items from earlier periods also feature, such as two armchairs in the living room by Arts and Crafts designer Charles Limbert.
“The decor creates a lifestyle that is light and colourful,” Don says. A perfect home for this photographer and his young family.
For a versatile collection of tableware that can be dressed up or down, you can’t go past a basic white crockery set. And you don’t need to have a perfectly matching set mixing different brands and types of crockery will create a more interesting look. And the different shades of white will only add to the appeal. You may want to start with an inexpensive dinner set – there’s no need to worry when an item breaks – and gradually add pricier, eyecatching servingware. Dress up white crockery in a simple and stylish way with white napkins and candles and plain cutlery. You can easily change the look of the setting to suit your occasion. For example, a bare table with placemats works well for a breakfast or brunch; a crisp white tablecloth is perfect for a dinner party, or keep it casual with a roll of art paper used as a tablerunner (see “Make”).
White tableware collection
Modernise antiques and traditional pieces with smart colour combinations for a rustic, banquet-style dinner setting. Start by choosing a simple colour scheme of white or cream paired with a subtle highlight like blue, red or purple with hits of black. Then mix and layer traditionalstyle tableware in these shades. For a modern touch, choose a patterned tablecloth that suits the theme (we chose a fun fruit design) and angle it so it skews slightly off the table. And for a real provincial banquet feel, ruffl e and place another tablecloth in a different colour in the centre of the table, like a tablerunner. Pile old books in small stacks to create little “steps” for various platters, bowls and clusters of candles. Embellish the table with antique elements like crystal glassware and antique silver cutlery. A ceramic or enamel jug filled with fresh fl owers, or a silver platter piled with fresh fruit and bread, creates the perfect banquet-style centerpiece.
Rustic, banquet-style dinner setting
For a natural look that’s suitable for everyday use and also sophisticated enough for entertaining, look for organic and unfinished materials. Think raw timber, unglazed and textured ceramics, cork, linen and unbleached cotton. Choose tableware that has an “imperfect” handmade feel look to Wabi-sabi for inspiration, a Japanese aesthetic combining transient and stark beauty (wabi) with the beauty of natural patina and ageing (sabi). And keep an eye out for commercial ranges that are designed to be asymmetric and not uniform in shape. Think pared-back and simple forms – shallow coupestyle or plain flat-bottomed dishes and carafes with indentations instead of handles. Use small bowls and vessels for condiments and spices, timber chopping boards as serving platters and plain carafe-like pitchers for coffee and tea. Combine basic everyday dinnerware in cream and off-white shades and serving platters and bowls in natural earthy tones like browns and greens. For an art-inspired feel, invest in fine handthrown porcelain crockery and use as feature pieces. Layer a tablecloth with linen or cotton placemats and napery in muted natural shades like green, cream and beige. Decorate the table with simple handcrafted items like old wine bottles with the labels removed and use as candleholders; or try hand stitching your own napkins.
Japanese aesthetic combining transient eathy organic
For a dramatic and atmospheric tablesetting, be inspired by Middle-Eastern style. Look for weighty crockery with handpainted designs and textured patterns in rich, deep colours. Pair plates and bowls in shades like purple, blue, red, yellow and orange, with silver and gold-rimmed plates and glassware. You could also use coloured Moroccan glass teacups and traditional terracotta serving bowls and tagines. Keep tablelinen in the same shades choose napery in colours that are lacking in the tableware. There’s no need for placesettings to match, just stick to a few chosen colours and mix pieces, creating layers with nesting plates and plates under bowls. Painted tiles make colourful crafty additions as coasters or trivets. Ornately patterned cutlery, and copper, brass and silver pots, pans and dishes also work well. Set the mood with tealights in stained glass or stencilled ceramic votives, subtly scented incense sticks that won’t overpower the food; decorate with flowers like oriental lilies or orchids in small dishes, and scatter rose petals on the table to finish the look. For casual dining or a themed evening, try laying this setting out on great coffee tables or best recliners with cushions and ottomans as seats.