Gorgeous Christmas Home Guide

Step inside this beautiful South-West London home owned by ACHICA members Ros and Andrew. The couple live here with their four children, Nina, Billy, Ellen, Kit and Jimmy the Springer Spaniel...
Before moving to their London townhouse in 2008, the family had been living in Wiltshire, in a spacious detached country house. ‘We decided to move to the big smoke as the children were getting older and we’d all had enough of living in a small village,’ explains Ros. ‘We had lived in London prior to moving to Wiltshire and we wanted to get back to the buzz and bright lights of the city. This area seemed a natural choice as it has lots of parks - it feels like we’re living in the country, but gives you easy access into central London.’

For Ros and Andrew, the instant attraction of the house on first viewing was its tall ceilings, large rooms and aspect, with leafy views from the front and back windows. ‘As soon as we saw this place we knew we could call it home,’ says Ros. ‘A family who had four children had been living in it previously and it needed updating, but it was generally in a good state.’

To add a fresh modern feel without compromising the character of the period property, the couple got architect Mike Jones to draw up plans for a new kitchen/dining area extension to the side of the house. This new space features a glass roof, which creates a refreshing feel all year round. ‘This slender new area feels like an extension of the garden and Jimmy our dog obviously loves it as he can always be found sleeping under one of the dining chairs,’ smiles Ros. ‘Andrew loves American style, hence the Andy Warhol prints on the walls and the US-style contemporary red leather, chrome and glass finishes. The red dining chairs and bar stools really lift the walnut units and sleek white worktops and add warmth to the space.’

The kitchen is the most social part of the home, with all four children and dog congregating there regularly thoughout the day. ‘I couldn’t live without an Aga now,’ says Ros. ‘It opens you up to a completely different style of cooking that’s addictive.’ Another practical touch is the frosted glass wall that works as a giant message board and spans the entire length of the kitchen. ‘Andrew saw it in someone’s office and thought it was a great idea,’ says Ros. ‘We can all write on it with wipeable marker pens. It’s a nice touch.’

Building work took around a year to complete, during which the family lived in rented accommodation. ‘We had lots of time to plan furnishings over the year,’ says Ros. ‘We wanted to make sure we had a room in the house that was comfy and relaxing, which is why we decided to add carpet to the living room and add warmth in the way of the purple and orange soft furnishings.’

Upstairs, the bathrooms and bedrooms were also updated throughout. Ros and Andrew chose an earthy natural palette of brown and mustard for their master room, with a leaf-print wallpaper and upholstered wooden sleigh bed.

Meanwhile, all four children were given free reign to design their own bedroom. Ellen chose deep pink and black floral Osborne & Little wallpaper with a black four-poster bed...

Nina, on the other hand, went for a cooler pastel green wallpaper, also from Osborne & Little, complemented by a French-style painted bed...

At Christmas the house is a particularly welcoming space. Ros is Chairman of the West London branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Life Line, which brings child victims of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986 to the UK for recuperative breaks. For the past four years, sisters Ira and Yulia from Belarus have spent Christmas with Ros and the family. ‘As Andrew, Nina, Billy, Ellen and Kit would all agree, Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without Ira and Yulia now,’ says Ros. ‘All of us are really looking forward to spending some time together at home this year, going for walks with Jimmy and generally doing fun Christmassy things.’

Words: Emily Peck Photos: Alex Mackenzie

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor