Gillian and Richard’s 1970s pad

Words and Styling by Emily Wheeler

Photographs by Ingrid Rasmussen, all rights reserved

Full article below

The 1970s Christian Dior leather sofas were left by the original owner.

The open plan living room is flooded with natural light thanks to the folding glass doors. The blue sofa was given to the couple by a friend who was working on the refurbishment of Babington House.

Gillian sourced all the wallpapers from a specialist retro wallpaper supplier.

The kitchen worktops are the original formica, while the furniture was sourced from vintage shops in East London.

The bar and swimming pool in the basement make the house the ultimate 1970s party pad.


When Gillian Milner and her husband Richard first stepped over the threshold of their huge five bedroom 1970s house in Streatham, Gillian’s immediate reaction was ‘I’ve got to live here, it’s fantastic’. Like many newlyweds starting a family, Gillian and Richard dreamed of living in a huge open plan home but Gillian knew that they would need to be creative in order to get the sort of space they craved. ‘I used to work in advertising and I had worked on a lot of shoots. We’d go to all these amazing houses and I thought it was such a good idea to live in a location because it helps to pay for your home so that’s what I decided I wanted’.

The house was built by a property developer in 1971 and came complete with many of the original fixtures and even original pieces of furniture. Gillian knew straight away that the house would work both as a family home and as a location for film and editorial shoots because it was so completely different to any of the other houses that were being used as locations. It took a little while longer to convince Richard that he wanted to live in a 1970s film set, despite the swimming pool and cocktail bar in the basement and the enormous amount of space that the house offers, but Gillian had a vision for how the house could work for them and she managed to bring him round.

Gillian also knew that she had found a house that was unique and it certainly is a departure from the norm. ‘Lots of people live in beautiful white houses with chandeliers and designer furniture but when we saw this place it was very authentically 1970s, so we knew it would work for us’, she explains. Amazingly, the previous owners had even left the original 1970s Christian Dior leather sofa and chair in the living room, so the house had real authenticity.

The couple moved in six years ago when Gillian was pregnant with their first child, Jack. They set about extensive renovations, transforming the house from a dark and neglected throwback into a light and airy family home, all the while studiously retaining the spirit of the 1970s decor. Gillian’s instinct turned out to be spot on and since they renovated the house, it has featured in publications from Vogue to Grazia as well as several television series and even a pop video, such is the lure of 1970s nostalgia.

The renovations were extensive and the couple found themselves completely rebuilding the back of the house, creating a contemporary space with huge swathes of glass across the entire first and lower floors and tiers of wooden decking in the garden. ‘The back of the house had an overhanging little conservatory and the swimming pool had a huge roof with lots of broken window lights,’ Gillian recalls. The work transformed the space into an open plan living room and kitchen, which functions as an enormous family room with a surprisingly contemporary feel with the swimming pool beneath, which was completely restored. ‘The children love to just run round and round and round the living room’, Gillian laughs, ‘What is so great about the house is the huge amount of space we have.’ Where once there was a dilapidated conservatory roof, there are now huge sliding glass doors that open across the length of the back of the house, leading to a modern outdoor space with lots of contemporary planting. ‘We basically ripped out the back of the house and completely rebuilt it. We had the pool retiled and built the garden and the roof deck at the back of the house to utilise the space as much as possible,’ says Gillian.

The swimming pool in the basement is what gives this home a real sense of retro glamour and feels more like being on the set of a Hollywood movie than in the back yard of a four-storey house in Streatham. Jack, who is now 6, and Lola, aged 4, love to swim every day after school. ‘The children swim nearly every evening and have their friends round a lot,’ Gillian says. ‘It’s a real hub of entertainment and we lounge on the loungers while they’re having a swim. We have lots and lots of grown up parties too where we throw the doors open and party outside.’

Upstairs, the bedrooms are all authentically 1970s in their décor and it feels even more like stepping back in time. There is even an avocado bathroom suite in one of the bathrooms while the other bathroom has the original brown and yellow colour scheme, neither of which have been altered in any way by Gillian and Richard to retain the authenticity of the decor.

While the Christian Dior sofas and several G Plan pieces of furniture were already in situ, Gillian has carefully sourced all of the house’s remaining furnishings from specialist vintage shops, from the brightly patterned wallpapers to the 1970s telephone and ornaments. Friends have helped by donating their own retro finds such as the tea caddies that take pride of place in the kitchen, which Gillian said she coveted every time she visited her friends’ home until eventually they gave them to her and the bed spreads, which were given to her by a stylist.

Living in a successful location though means being prepared to make compromises and the family has had to adapt to the constant stream of photographers, models, stylists and film crews. ‘We have to be very organised. Most shoots are during the day while we’re at work and after school, our nanny takes the children back to her house and they do their homework, have tea and a bath and then come home,’ Gillian explains. ‘Actually it’s very easy to work around Lola and Jack – they think it’s really cool to live in a location. Olli Murs sang ‘Lola’ to Lola and I was so pleased because that really brings it alive for them as I spend a lot of time telling them to tidy up!’

Naturally the family spend most of their time in the open plan living room, which is now flooded with natural light thanks to Gillian and Richard’s renovations. ‘The house has such gorgeous light and the sun rises and comes round into the kitchen,’ smiles Gillian. ‘That’s when I know we made the right decision.’

Graham and Anne’s West London flat

Words and Styling by Emily Wheeler

Photography by Ingrid Rasmussen, all rights reserved

Full article below

Graham installed the wood burning stove as part of the renovations, ‘carrying the logs up the stairs is my new fitness regime’, he laughs. The pendant light is by Verner Panton and the chairs are by Robin Day.

Two striking prints by street artist Paul Insect dominate this side of the sitting room. The cushion is by Design House Stockholm.

The sofa is from Conran while the cushion and throw are both from SCP. A Banksy print called ‘Bomb Middle England’ hangs above the sofa.

Graham, Anne and Stella share their home with their two Jack Russell dogs.

Two vases from the Lynby pottery sit alongside a striking lamp on the Danish rosewood sideboard by Arne Vodder from Two Columbia Road.

The film crew sign is a little piece of memorabilia from the family’s previous home in London Fields, which was used as a film set for the film Hot Fuzz. ‘Our sitting room was used as a green room for Cate Blanchett during filming and she came rushing out when she saw Stella, who was a tiny baby, to give her a cuddle’, recalls Graham.

The lights in the kitchen and dining room are by Mutto from Skandium. The table base and chairs are Eames, while a friend custom built the table top for Graham and Anne.

The storage bed is from Greer Beds and the light is the Artichoke light by Louis Poulson, ‘It’s not from the 1960s, it’s from SCP, it just looks aged because we stored it in a cattle shed in Norfolk and it rusted a bit, but we quite liked the rusting because it gives it a vintage look’, says Graham.

‘I designed the bed with Mick and we struggled to get anybody in to build it for sensible money so we decided to build it ourselves. It took a while! We made a bespoke bed to make her a secret play space, a camp space, desk or a home cinema underneath,’ says Graham.

The wall stickers in Stella’s room are from Supernice on Columbia Road.


Finding the right area in London in which to bring up a young family is the holy grail for many new parents. Having lived in some of the hippest areas in London from Notting Hill to London Fields, interior designer Graham Judkins and his partner Anne, who works in finance, wanted to find somewhere a bit quieter to bring up their daughter, five-year-old Stella. Their search took them all over London and even a move to Norfolk and back before they decided that their Maida Vale flat was the perfect place for them to settle down.

‘We had moved from London Fields and a three bedroom town house to a massive five bedroom barn conversion, which was much too big for us. The idea was that lots of friends would come and stay, Stella went to a lovely school and I would concentrate on Stella while running my design company, giving me the ability to control my work-life balance,’ says Graham, who runs the design company Untitled Design Studio, ‘But Anne spent all her time on the motorway and it didn’t work.’

Their new home in Maida Vale, West London, seems to provide the right balance between urban living and family life. ‘There are lovely places to go and lovely things to do but on a Friday night nobody says ‘let’s go to Maida Vale for a drink’, says Graham. ‘It seemed an oasis of calm in a busy city.’

Having decided that Maida Vale was where they would like to live, Graham and Anne found that the best homes were being snapped up before they could make an offer. ‘Places sell really fast and we’d looked at a few flats then we saw this place before it came on the market,’ Graham recalls, ‘We put in an offer straight away so we were the only people to view it.’

Graham, who founded his design studio with his friend Mick Birch after working at several prestigious interior design companies, was happy to take on the extensive renovations the flat needed as it gave him the opportunity to redesign the layout and bring the space up to his own exacting standards. ‘It was in a really bad state. The floor was two inches higher on one side than the other and there were structural issues, but there’s always a solution and it gave us the opportunity to reconfigure the apartment with the emphasis on living space,’ says Graham. He set about laying a limed oak engineered floor and put in underfloor heating throughout while redesigning the layout with the emphasis on increasing the amount of communal living space. ‘Our idea was to keep the bedrooms small because we just sleep in there. The design of Stella’s room takes advantage of the high ceilings and she has plenty of space to play and the sliding panel between our room and Stella’s keeps her close and makes the best use of the space’, he states. ‘We wanted to open up the space and create somewhere you live, not just somewhere you exist’.

Because the flat is in an Edwardian mansion block in a conservation area the couple were limited in the amount of structural changes they could make, but were keen to introduce a contemporary look to the space. Graham achieved this through the introduction of clean lines and exceptional attention to detail such as the lack of skirting boards and using a minimal palette of materials throughout. ‘All designers and architects hate skirting boards and they’ll spend a fortune avoiding using them. There were no skirting boards or architrave and the whole flat needed to be taken apart and put back together so that is what we did’, he says.

The flat now flows seamlessly from one room to another following the lines of the limed oak flooring and punctuated only by a sliding wall that separates Graham and Anne’s bedroom from Stella’s. These modern details sit comfortably with the period feel of the flat and have created a clean, airy and comfortable space for the young family to live in.

Of course, the heart of any family home is the kitchen and this room is situated in the centre of the flat, overlooking neighbouring gardens. Graham designed the kitchen himself and had it hand built to ensure it met his exacting standards. The beautiful kitchen cabinet doors are made from plywood panels from Tintab, which have been fitted to carcasses bought on the high street, ‘Our builder is a wonderful craftsman and the only builder I’ve ever used. He’s happy to take on challenges and built the whole place with extreme precision’, Graham says. This attention to detail is evident in the way that the lines of the kitchen cabinet doors line up with the grouting in the tiled floor, signaling that great care and attention has been paid to every element of the design. ‘The plywood is pretending to be solid wood but you can’t really get wood that wide so we’ve taken a natural material and engineered it to find an honest solution to show that it is man made and has its own beauty’, says Graham, who also designed the bespoke shelving and kitchen storage.

Once the renovations were complete, the couple set about moving their impressive collection of mid century design classics and highly collectible graffiti art into their new home. Years of scouring up and coming East London design stores and obsessively bidding on furniture on eBay have resulted in Graham and Anne building up an enviable collection of twentieth century design classics such as the Robin Day chairs in the sitting room, bought for a song on eBay, and the Arne Vodder sideboard purchased from the couple’s favourite shop, Two Columbia Road. The huge collection of graffiti art by artists such as Banksy, Eine and Paul Insect sit comfortably alongside the contemporary furniture and are a reminder of the couple’s roots in the East London design scene. ‘We were exposed to a lot of Banksy’s early work when we lived on Brick Lane and we bought several early prints for practically nothing at a shop called Eat My Handbag Bitch, which has sadly gone now. We’ve got so many, we keep some of them in the loft because we don’t have enough wall space,’ says Graham.

In the couple’s bedroom the artwork next to the bed is by street artist Eine, a friend of the couple’s. ‘It’s based on two redundant bill boards in Hackney Wick that he took over for a few months and he wrote ‘Hell’ there to celebrate life, London and of course, Hackney Wick’, says Graham. This room is simple in its design and decoration and the Artichoke light by Louis Poulson dominates the space. ‘It’s not an original from the 1960s, it’s from SCP, it just looks aged because we stored it in a cattle shed in Norfolk and it rusted a bit, but we quite liked the rusting because it gives it a vintage look,’ he laughs.

Graham and Anne’s room is divided from their daughter Stella’s by a sliding panel that glides seamlessly into the bespoke storage unit in the couple’s bedroom, so that most of the time the two rooms flow into one another enabling the couple to keep a close eye on Stella and creating an intimate space. ‘The sliding panel between our room and Stella’s keeps her close and makes best use of the space, it’s intimate like an annexe off our bedroom’, explains Graham.

It is Graham’s thoughtful design, which remains true to his distinctive aesthetic, that shows that he has really put something of himself into the flat, creating somewhere very special for his family to live in. This really is a space that Graham has created with his family’s needs uppermost in his mind. In fact, the family’s whole move to this flat was about creating the best possible environment for Stella to grow up in. ‘We didn’t want our child brought up by a nanny so we had moved to Norfolk, but Anne spent too much time on the motorway. In our need to escape London and being in Norfolk, we realised we didn’t want to escape London but we needed to rediscover the West of London!’ laughs Graham, and happily it seems that this is a family who may finally have found the place they can call home.

Rory Dobner’s home

I’m a huge fan of Rory Dobner’s illustrations and so it seems are a host of interiors magazines, which have recently featured his home on their glossy pages. Rory’s ‘Intricate Inks’ are fine illustrations depicting anything from letters, as above, to beautiful girls in lingerie, a commission for the Los Angeles Agent Provocateur store and my favourite shop Liberty recently started selling his work in several of the store’s departments so he is definitely one to watch.

I love the mix of antique, vintage and new in the home he shares with his wife Claire and their two children. Their home is warm, inviting and comfortable yet full to the brim with personality and quirky little touches.

Marcelo Lucini’s apartment, Vogue Living

This beautiful apartment in Buenos Aires belongs to product designer Marcelo Lucini and was featured in Australian Vogue Living back in 2009. Marcelo has an inspirational story for any budding creative out there stuck in a nine to five and hating it.

In 2001, after spending 15 years in banking, Marcelo decided to take time out to travel around his native country, Argentina. While travelling, he discovered the beautiful natural materials that Argentina has to offer and the traditional craft skills of the Argentinian people and was inspired to design his first homeware collection. Just three years later, he opened his own boutique in Buenos Aires and his sleek designs were quickly picked up by regional and then the international press. He soon became known for his amazing sense of style and it wasn’t long before his apartment featured in Taschen’s coffee table book, Buenos Aires Style. The pictures above are from a subsequent feature in Australian Vogue Living.

His home is an effortless combination of mid century modern furniture, contemporary art and fabulous antiques – it’s so beautiful I could just move right in. The many shades of purple against the neutral palette of greys and whites lend the space an air of sophistication and keep the look cohesive and elegant. I love the eclectic mix of antiques, artworks and collectables. This man has serious style.

Colour rules

I cheekily borrowed these images from fabulous interiors blog Snoop, which is chock full of inspirational images. This home belongs to an architect called Halewijn who designed this house for himself, his wife and their son in Ledeberg, near Gent in Belgium. I particularly love the black floral wallpaper in the living area, which provides some relief through its vibrant pattern and creates a link between the white dining room and the black kitchen. Continuity is key with a strong look like this and it is important to carry the look throughout each space, whilst providing a different interpretation in each room. Black and white is always dramatic, easy to live with and provides a stunning backdrop to vibrant shots of colour.

Here’s how to achieve a similar look…  Peony tree wallpaper by Sanderson, 1950s loft lamp by The French House, Delta chair by John Lewis, Plank refectory table at SCP

Country cool

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it might be like to leave the big smoke and make a home in the countryside. I imagine myself reading books beside a roaring fire or baking cakes on my Aga, or maybe just pottering around my garden and vegetable patch. Perhaps if I did have a home in the country, it might look a little bit like this… But with more stuff..!

Vintage colour pops!

This home reflects, for me, what good design is all about. The owners have created a comfortable yet stylish home that effortlessly combines vintage and antique finds with good modern design. The end result is a home that reflects their personalities and is warm, colourful, comfortable and chic. Love it.


Photographs via Shootfactory.