Debbie Blott is the founder of The Decorcafe.
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Architects Home Tour With John & Anna Proctor
John and Anna Proctor’s home began life as a bombsite, quite literally. Part of the post-war development it was built by the local authority in an unassuming street near Clapham Common in about 1958. In-keeping with the rapid build programme of the time it was totally utalitarian with no thought for decoration. On the positive side the construction was built to last and, unlike other more decorative period properties, is very robust, the entire terrace being built on one enormous slab of concrete.
At the time of purchase the house was very small with a reasonable sized garden. John and Anna recognised the opportunity to build an extension and go up into the loft to maximise the space available. They liked the 1950’s soul of the property and looked at some of the experimental case history properties of the period for inspiration. The architectural design concept is consitent with these ideas, utilising pure and simple materials as the foundation for the interior design.
The architectural aethetic is apparent in the simplicity of of the complete plane of glass across the back of the kitchen, another plane of magnolia bricks left open down one side of the kitchen and in the choice of polished concrete for the flooring. The steel beams are left exposed, painted magnolia to match the walls. The island is oak with marble surfaces around the work area.
Anna put together the entire colour scheme at the beginning of the project as she knew that the speed of construction meant that there would be no time between the end of the build and the interior design. She chose a beautiful pastel palette of pale pink, peach and soft green for the interior to contrast with the deep blue exterior. The pink door (see gallery below) links the indoor and outdoor spaces as you step inside.
Ceilings are relatively low in 1950’s properties and so John and Anna maximised the space where possible by dropping the floor in the new extension and stripping back the ceiling to reveal the architectural bones. Changes of level and materials demark the change in room zones. Here you can see the change from wood to concrete as you move from kitchen to hallway.
There is a smooth transition through the sliding doors into the garden leading to a raised patio for entertaining across the side. Once the garden structure had been put in place, local garden designer, Shelley Hugh-Jones, was brought in to create the planting plan here and at the front of the house. The back garden will take a while to grow but if you look a few photos down you can see that the front garden is already coming into it’s own.
Without the beautiful balustrades typically preserved in periord properties there was an opportunity to do something different with the stairs. John and Anna came up with the idea to create an original metal piece, which is both functional and aesthetically in-keeping with the geometric lines that run across the ceiling and the panelling introduced elsewhere. Designed by John it was manufactured by a railings company. Cupboards were built-in to create plenty of space to hide away all the coats and possessions associated with family life.
The sitting room is the one dark room in the house. A naturally darker space they decided to build on the cozy atmosphere, with wood burning stove, TV and book shelves.
The rich scheme is brough to life by layers of luxurious textures. Sheep skin rugs on the floor, velvet furniture combined with colourful cushions and artwork.
John and Anna lived in the Bahamas for a few years and so Anna used her artistic skills to drawn on the natural broad-walk feel of the stripped back wooden ceiling to create a beachy theme for the children’s room. Keeping with the aqua and coral colours of the Bahamas she painted palm trees and a few details to capture the flavour of the region. The colour scheme is deliberately unisex as their son and daughter share this room.
There used to be a small bedroom and large bathroom next to each. They redrew the space to reduce the bathroom and create a much larger bedroom to allow plenty of room for the children to play. You can see the fabulously stripey turquise scheme of the new bathroom in the images below.
The house was a probate sale and they were offered the opportunity to keep any of the furniture. They chose two pieces, the mid-century side-board in the kitchen and another which Anna painted and put in her office to store her paints and samples. Look in the gallery below to see the ceiling rose Anna has now painted to create an original decorative detail in this room. A clever original idea.
The stripped back ceiling is a key decorative element running throughout the house, here shown in the master bedroom. The walls are bare plaster, usually quickly covered by the decorators, the natural colour is actually quite beautiful.
Floor to ceiling windows were incorporated into both the master bedroom and bathroom to allow maximum light. Decoration coming from the choice of Terrazo for the walls and carefully crafted joinery. Again, there are more images in the gallery below.
Anna Proctor: Colour Consulatncy & Mural Design
John Proctor: Proctor & Shaw Architects