ISSUE 77  |  Summerhouse

Designer Visit: Rough, Rustic, and Refined with Twig Hutchinson

June 17, 2013 9:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

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A few years ago, we spotted and fell for UK interior stylist Twig Hutchinson’s summerhouse at the back of her London garden. So we were interested when she emailed us recently about some changes she’s made to her early Victorian house at the front of her garden.

As an interior and prop stylist, Hutchinson’s design skills are highly sought after by a client list that reads like the interior cognoscenti of the London design world; Homes & Gardens, Marie Claire Maison, Toast, Wedgewood, and Fired Earth, to name just a few. With regard to her own house, she has combined a small dining room and separate kitchen into one room, refurbished her bathroom, and made a few tweaks to the summerhouse, improving its usability for photo shoots. “I’m very fortunate in that I have been able to see some amazing houses as part of my work,” she says. “It means I am constantly inspired to try new things.”

Photography by Rahel Weiss

Above: “I am definitely influenced by my love of France,” Hutchinson says. “Particularly in the way they use old doors and shutters to make cupboards.” The use of curtains in the lower cabinets is a typical detail in French country kitchens (Twig uses Striped Navy Ticking from Ian Mankin).  While Hutchinson’s kitchen cabinets are from Habitat, she customized them by painting them with Oak Apple from Fired Earth and by changing the handles to reclaimed sash window handles she sourced at Sunbury Antiques market.

Above: Apple crates hang on the wall and are used as storage, while a dresser has been made from antique shutters. “My motto is ‘It’s all in the mix’,” she says. “So I like to add the unexpected to break things up a bit. I particularly love the Concrete Pendant Lights above the kitchen table and I like to use harder, more masculine industrial pieces, to add an edge.” 

Above: A tall cupboard has been painted with chalkboard paint (the washing machine and the boiler are hidden behind its doors).

Above: Hutchinson adds an antique larder cabinet into the mix.

Above: Hutchinson used Sanderson Grey on the walls and Oak Apple (both from Fired Earth) on the woodwork and trim. 

Above: “I wanted the kitchen to be an eclectic mix; not a streamlined space,” Hutchinson says. “I like the mix of ‘pretty and soft’ with harder surfaces such as the stainless steel range, cooker, and fridge.”

Above: “I wanted the bathroom to be really beautiful and not just functional so I chose a deep lilac/gray color for the walls,” Twig says. “I guess I wanted it to be a bit like a sitting room, where you would want to spend lots of time.” The bathtub is an original French bathtub from the 1920s, sourced from Water Monopoly. The linen cupboard is made from old French doors. 

Above: The bathroom sink unit is made from a cupboard found at an antiques market; Twig inserted a sink and reclaimed kitchen tap.

Above: “We use the summerhouse as an office, photo studio, and guest room; but it’s particularly fabulous for children’s birthday parties and big dinner parties,” Hutchinson says. N.B.: See House Call: Lorn Road Summer House in London for more. 

Above: A few of Twig’s favorite props, including her most prized possession, an old wallpapered door she found in the basement of an antiques shop. 

Above: Hutchinson installed Shaker pegs around the room for the easy hanging of props and backdrops like this artist’s canvas which she painted herself. 

Above: Examples of Twig’s photo styling.

Above: While the summerhouse was installed by The Garden House, Hutchinson customized it with bespoke windows, flooring, doors, and panelled walls. 

Above: Take a tour of Hutchinson’s summerhouse with the stylist herself.

N.B.: Looking for extra space? See 51 images of Garden Sheds in our Gallery of rooms and spaces.