When Emma Pocock, a designer, and her husband, Ben Clarkson, found this London property, formerly inhabited by students and untouched since the 1980s, she realised she’d have to think outside the box. Her approach has been one of creating clean lines – think white-painted floorboards and simple plantation shutters – and introducing flashes of inspiration with patterns or texture. “I wanted to try to maximise interest in everyroom,”she says.
A distressed cabinet brings the old-rustic feel to the room.
The kitchen-diner is a good example. Extending it was the obvious solution to gain space and light, but Emma, cofounder of interior design company Turner Pocock,was determined to create a slightly industrial feel, using metal-framed doors of the sort she had often seen in Belgian interiors.“It was hard to find someone who could make these for me, particularly as I wanted the doors to fold back 180degrees,” she says.
The serene monochromatic scheme is punctuated with a vibrant piece of neon art and lime green cushions on the chairs; outside, a large scale palm-leaf fabric on the cushion seats draws the eye to the perimeter of the court yard garden.
Emma made the most of the outdoor space by designing built-in planters and seating, carrying through the textured marble floor of the kitchen so that it feels like an extension of the interior. The white walls, accentuated with greenery and the bold, leafy fabric, evoke sunnier climes. Colour plays an important role throughout the house, and Emma’s combinations sometimes come out of left field. In the living room, a red geometric rug and striped red curtains rub shoulders with a sofa upholstery in another glorious leafy print.
The light and inviting kitchen
The second sofa is covered in teal blue velvet and flanked with bright yellow lamps. These different patterns and colours shouldn’t work together, and yet they do–beautifully. “I often start with one fabric featuring a couple of colours, in this case the leaf print, and then feed off it with the other pieces. I was determined to introduce some red, and then I thought the yellow lamps would really pop against the grey walls,” explains Emma. “If things are too matchy-matchy, a scheme can quickly look very grown-up – I didn’t want the house to look too ‘put-together’.”
Five years ago, Emma teamed up with her friend Bunny Turner to form Turner Pocock. “Bunny and I share very similar tastes,” says Emma. “I was constantly bouncing ideas off her when I was creating the schemes for the house.” Budget constraints also helped Emma hone her ideas. “It was definitely a question of working out where to spend and where to save,” she admits, citing the example of theen-suite bathroom, wheres he spent a small fortune on beautiful hand painted And a lusiantiles for the shower area, but economised by using plain white rubber tiles for the floor. Decorated in a soothing combination of blue and white, the bathroom and the interlinking master bedroom were inspired by one of Emma’s favourite hotels, JK Place in Capri, Italy.
“I find blue and white incredibly calming, although you need to pick the blue carefully,”she says. What’s so clever about this home is that Emma has ignored the fact that it’s situated in somewhat grey London and has drawn on ideas that span both European and American influences. As a result, there’s a sense of exuberance to the project that belies both its location and its limited footprint. She set herself the task of challenging the constraints of the classic Victorian terrace, and on this test she has certainly passed–with flying colours.