Back For More: How Todhunter Earle Reinvented A Family Home – Again

By Carole Annett

10 months ago

This family home has seen several evolutions over the years

Having reimagined this London family home several times over many years, Todhunter Earle was invited to return once again after children had flown the nest.

Back For More: How Todhunter Earle Reinvented A Family Home (After The Children Flew The Nest)

Todhunter Earle, bedroom - London house, done up by interior designers

This is the third iteration of the house for the same client,’ explains Kate Earle, one half, along with Emily Todhunter, of their eponymous studio. ‘When we first did it 20 years ago the client had young children. We made some changes when they were teenagers and now that they have grown up and moved out, the house needed to work for my client and her changed lifestyle.’ Occupying a corner of a quiet London street, the house has bedrooms on the lower and ground floors, and reception rooms on the first and second. ‘It’s an upside-down house,’ laughs Kate. A dining room sits above the kitchen and overlooks an informal eating area – a few years ago Todhunter Earle obtained permission for the addition, linking the drawing room to a dining space. ‘It’s a very welcoming space, great for large parties where both floors, and the roof terrace above, are used,’ explains Kate.

Todhunter Earle, bathroom - London house, done up by interior designers

A feminine bathroom to accompany the master bedroom

In its new guise, the client requested a whole house refresh with emphasis on her own bedroom along with the addition of storage space and an overall boost of colour. ‘We turned the playroom into a gym, the second master bathroom into a large dressing room, created a calm and elegant bedroom, and a very feminine bathroom,’ says Kate. Mindful of the need to reuse and recycle, Kate says, ‘We didn’t rip out anything that could be adapted or updated, we painted the stairs and skirtings that had previously been oak, recovered chairs and changed the kitchen worktops but left the cabinetry. As a studio, we are very aware of not being wasteful and repurposing where we can. We buy a lot of antique and vintage furniture, which we mix with contemporary pieces.’ One of the features in the client’s refreshed bedroom is a chest bought 20 years ago from David Gill gallery when Todhunter Earle first designed the house. An example of buy once, buy well, a silver-gilded chest by Garouste & Bonetti adorns the space between two double-height windows. A mirror above reflects hand-painted linen by de Gournay decorating cupboard doors on an opposite wall.

Todhunter Earle - London house, done up by interior designers

A deep leafy green decorates this study

When it came to colour, the client was drawn to hues that appear naturally in the tree-lined streets of surrounding parks and gardens. Guided by this, the studio chose a strong, leafy green to decorate the study, a perfect backdrop to the client’s contemporary art. ‘We wanted a colour that would make her smile while working late at night and early in the mornings,’ explains Kate. Green also features in the refurbished bathroom: ‘Aphrodite marble has a wonderful vibrancy with hints of violet and lots of white. It’s a brave choice but we have only used it on the floor and vanity – it makes a strong statement in an otherwise neutral environment. We used terrazzo in a complementary green in the shower.’ The mirror behind the basin is a medicine cupboard with room for copious bottles along with individually tailored inserts in the marble vanity drawers for the client’s creams and make-up. Polished plaster walls offer a subtle contrast to the extravagant marble, ‘with a hint of mica for luminosity,’ adds Kate.

Todhunter Earle, sitting room - London house, done up by interior designers

A softer, more cosseted, sitting room

When it came to the sitting room, Todhunter Earle wanted to make it feel different to its previous incarnation – softer and more cosseting. They achieved this by opting for an arc-shape sofa by Sedilia, a renowned London-based maker which controls the entire creative process under one roof. ‘We prefer to work with UK-based manufacturers and artisans wherever possible,’ says Kate. Adding a curved sofa and organic, vintage side tables softens the room, creating a comfortable and cosy ambience for drinks in front of the fire. A Luke Irwin rug, Conran coffee table and Christian Liaigre slipper chair (recovered in blue textured leather) complete the scheme. When it came to window dressing, Todhunter Earle opted for an elegant, pared-back feel. ‘I like to hang curtains as high as possible to maximise the feeling of height in a room,’ says Kate. ‘By using eyelets the soft folds can almost touch the ceiling and sheer fabric drapes so beautifully – it doesn’t take up much space in a room where there are lots of windows’. Well considered and beautifully executed, just like the rest of the house. Todhunter Earle can tick this one off – I don’t think they will be returning in a professional capacity for a long time to come.