Sisters Ellie and Anna Stathaki grew up in Greece and separately made their way to London for postgrad studies. Nearly 20 years later, they both found themselves happily, if unexpectedly, still in London and working in overlapping fields: Ellie is the architecture editor at Wallpaper* magazine and Anna is an architecture and interiors photographer.
Not surprisingly, they decided to collaborate on a contemporary design book, and the subject they zeroed in on is something they both love about their adopted home: the many inventive ways people from near and far live in the city’s historic brick houses. “London has rows upon rows of them, and, at first glance, they can look quite similar, but they’re not, especially once you step inside,” they say. House London, newly out from Frances Lincoln, presents a series of case studies that are, explains Ellie, “essentially about diversity, versatility, and imagination.”
Here, we’re presenting a notable example from the book: Cottage Noir, online shop owner Kemide Lawson’s Georgian worker’s cottage in north London, a Grade-II listed structure layered with elements that celebrate her family’s Nigerian and Jamaican heritage. Join us for a tour.
Photographs by Anna Stathaki from House London courtesy of Frances Lincoln Publishers, unless noted.
The living room has fireplaces at either end; Kemi tiled the nonworking one in a random black and white pattern to “lend some energy to the space—I love geometric shapes and the symbolism of them is part of the design landscape of my West African heritage.”
Kemi and her husband were both born in London, spent their childhoods in Lagos, Nigeria, and returned to the UK in their early teens to go to school. “My husband is of Nigerian heritage and I have Jamaican (from my mother) and Nigerian (from my father) heritage.” Photograph by Andrew Urwin, courtesy of The Cornrow.
Kemi herself oversaw the design with help from her mother’s partner, Jonathan Farrer, former owner of Interior Supply at Chelsea Design Centre. “Jonathan was an expert sounding board for my ideas,” she says. “He advised on suitable fabrics and colors while literally and metaphorically holding my hand as I made some pretty bold decisions.” For the installation, Kemi hired a contractor who oversaw a team of specialists.
More Required Reading:
- Remodelista: The Low-Impact Home
- Stylist Hilary Robertson’s Nomad At Home
- Remodelista in Maine
- Gesa Hansen’s The French Art of Countryfication
You need to login or register to view and manage your bookmarks.
Have a Question or Comment About This Post?Join the conversation