At Home with

Bathed in Light: An Eames-inspired home

Words by LUCY SIDDALL. Photography by Dave Watts.

Interior Designer Camilla Kelly on creating a light, bright and textured
home made from natural materials and bespoke details.

Over an efficient six-month period, Kelly (The Mint List) reimagined an Edwardian property in northwest London from an “overgrown” and “dark” house into an expansive, light-filled space perfect for family life. Here, the Condo talks to the studio founder about the renovation and the design-led influences behind the rebuild.

The Condo: What was the initial brief for the project?

Camilla Kelly: The owners focused a lot on adding natural light to the building, as the old iteration of the house was quite dark. We wanted to create a feeling of escapism and to open the home using clever features and adjustments, specifically with the windows. One of the owners is from New Zealand, so creating a feeling of expansion was important. The final result is both architecturally impressive and has a beautiful feel when you step through the door.

The owner's art collection played a focal role in the renovation; creating spaces for their pieces to sit effortlessly was essential.

TC: What inspired the renovation?

CK: There was a strong mid-century focus, specifically the work and aesthetic of Charles and Ray Eames. The owners wanted big, soaring windows and organic textures. They often referred to The Eames House and its lovely, big, open-plan living area drenched in light but insisted on contemporary elements and finishes.

TC: What structural changes did you make to the property?

CK: Downstairs, there was a lot of focus on natural light and reimagining the way it came into the house, so most structural changes hinged on this. Before the renovation, the garden was overgrown, with many tall trees blocking the light at the rear of the building, so this element of the rebuild was very dramatic. We lowered the trees, letting natural light flood the ground floor and added three-metre-tall glass doors to the back of the property. We pushed back into the garage, absorbed that space into the new kitchen/dining area, and built a second story. Commonly in Edwardian or Victorian houses, the hallway is relatively narrow, so we pushed the space out to the side of the house to create a grand boot room. Maximising space was essential, but we didn’t want anywhere to feel squeezed. With this in mind, we converted the loft into two bedrooms, an office and a bathroom. It was a very clever use of the area, and even with the extra rooms, each part of the house still feels like it has room to breathe. Lastly, we vaulted the ceiling in the primary bedroom to add a real sense of light, air and space.

The "top to bottom" mid-century inspired renovation featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows bathes the space in natural light.

The visually pleasing balance and combination of textures nod to the mid-century aesthetic of Charles and Ray Eames.

TC: Can you talk us through the beautiful kitchen?

CK: The owners love cooking and entertaining, so the aim of the kitchen was to create a space that truly accommodated this element of their life. They had seen an island we made with architect Duncan Woodburn on another project and wanted to create something similar. The final result is a split-level, set-in island. The concrete top on the higher part has a curve at one end to create a bar feeling, as we wanted guests to gravitate towards this area. The lower part is more of a preparation area with a deep Belfast sink. Everything in the kitchen is custom-made, including the formica-fronted cupboards, which nod to the Eames aesthetic we hoped to create. We made the island from walnut, concrete and reclaimed iroko slab laptops from Retrouvius. The base of the island is glass with antique brass details. The floor downstairs is in huge grids made from long, slim lengths of oak that run unusually into each other at right angles. However, the kitchen is set on concrete and connects with the timber floor in visually interesting but subtle, slim lengths of brass.

TC: What role did colour play in the design?

CK: When you walk around the house, you notice a lot of colour, but we did it in a way that made the space feel open rather than closed. We used Pompeian Ash by Little Greene in the hallway and a few other places. The shade is quite dark, but it comes across as a neutral colour due to the high ceilings and the scale of the house. Upstairs, there’s a beautiful deep blue on the doors, and we used Clayworks, which creates a lovely textured feel for the walls in the bathroom above the reed green tiles. The colour palette throughout the house is tonal and sympathetic, so the effect is one of serenity and calm when viewed alongside the texture and organic materials.

TC: The home has a lovely feeling of old and new. How did you create this juxtaposition?

CK: My background is in antiques, and I like to bring an element of this to all my projects. I look for reclaimed, second-hand, or vintage pieces wherever I can. In this renovation, we used several salvaged doors, including the one for the master bedroom. These elements add context to the house and make it feel like it has been there for a while. Despite being new, they create a sense of history throughout the design.

To learn more about Kelly’s Interior Design Studio, The Mint List, visit their site here.

Colour was used intentionally throughout the re-design to create a natural sense of ease and flow in each room and across the house.

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