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Before & After: A Soulless Apartment Gets the ‘More Is More’ Treatment

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Before & After: A Soulless Apartment Gets the ‘More Is More’ Treatment

March 20, 2023

Côte de Folk founder Sophie Rowell moonlights as a campanologist. Let me save you from having to Google the term and tell you now that a campanologist is one who rings church bells. It may seem like an odd side gig for a fashion stylist-turned-interior designer (named a “Rising Star” by House & Garden U.K. last year), but one peek at her projects and it makes sense: Sophie makes homes sing.

Case in point: this apartment in a maisonette in Hackney, London, that Sophie designed for her client, Daniela Nardelli, and her dog, Tulip. “The flat, when she bought it, had actually been ‘done up’ but not to her taste—it was very clinical and lacked soul,” she says (scroll to the bottom to see the “before”). So Sophie set about adding color, pattern, texture, and femininity to the flat. “More is more. My favourite part of the process is coming up with schemes and pattern play.”

Below, Sophie explains how she composed a sweet and cozy first home for her client.

Photography by Kane Hulse, courtesy of Côte de Folk.

sophie&#8\2\17;s favorite part of the project? &#8\2\20;i think the til 12
Above: Sophie’s favorite part of the project? “I think the tiled fireplace and the colour palette in the sitting room,” which was originally a bedroom with white wall-to-wall built-in cabinets. “To reveal the shape of the original room and be able to add all that texture was a real win, whilst still keeping storage on either side but with a much more elegant design.” The pink zellige tiles are from Otto Tiles.
sophie rowell code de folk glenarm road chair crop
Above: “The armchair was an old one I found on Vinterior that I had restored and reupholstered in Studio Atkinson Checkerboard Fabric.” The side table is from Zara Home.
&#8\2\20;i love to watch tv, but i also, as a designer, hate having to acco 14
Above: “I love to watch TV, but I also, as a designer, hate having to accommodate a big black box into such a serene, beautiful scheme,” says Sophie. Her solution: “wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling curtains for (a) the window and balcony door and (b) to hide the ugly TV!”
sophie loves vintage textiles, particularly kantha quilts from india. &#8\2 15
Above: Sophie loves vintage textiles, particularly Kantha quilts from India. “Drape one over the headboard to create a new look with very little expense.” The vintage blue and turquoise quilts here are both from The Potting Shed Folkestone, as is the vase.
about the single curtain panel, pinned up on side: &#8\2\20;we were running 16
Above: About the single curtain panel, pinned up on side: “We were running out of budget and time, so this was an easy, less expensive way to dress the window and was also in keeping with our ‘camping’ feel for the room,” says Sophie who employs the same tactic in her own home. The petite tulip light is vintage.
&#8\2\20;the wallpaper was purely for daniela&#8\2\17;s own joy while s 17
Above: “The wallpaper was purely for Daniela’s own joy while she lives in the apartment, her first home,” says Sophie. It’s from the Chintz Constance collection at Ottoline. The small rattan lamp is from Shiny Things London.
the previous bathroom was sleek and modern. sophie softened it with terracotta  18
Above: The previous bathroom was sleek and modern. Sophie softened it with terracotta-like tiles from Bert & May, more traditional fixtures, and a romantic shower curtain made from vintage fabric with “beautiful embroidery all along the top.”
a charming tableau thanks to an antique wall shelf and vintage finds. the room  19
Above: A charming tableau thanks to an antique wall shelf and vintage finds. The room is lined with subway tiles, a classic that Sophie uses in many of her projects.
the arts and crafts mirror is from soap and salvation; the sconces feature vint 20
Above: The Arts and Crafts mirror is from Soap and Salvation; the sconces feature vintage shades from Sophie’s own collection.

Before

cote de folk hackney apartment before
Above: What’s now a pretty sitting room was once a bare-bones primary bedroom with a wall of built-in storage.
cote de folk hackney apartment before 2
Above: Sophie replaced all the modern fixtures with more traditional elements.

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