This lovely, sunny London home belongs to architecture journalist and design blogger Cate St Hill, who describes herself as an ‘interiors enthusiast, green-fingered plant lover and wandering traveller’. I’ve seen various peeks inside via Cate’s posts over the years and have always admired the wonderful blend of clean lines and vintage character, so I caught up with her to find out how she’s created such a stylish, welcoming space…
Where’s home, and how long have you lived there?
“It’s a south-facing, third-floor flat in a 1930s block between Bloomsbury and King’s Cross. We’re not far from leafy Russell Square and the shops and restaurants of the brutalist concrete Brunswick Centre, so as far as locations go, it’s perfect. I’ve lived here for about eight years, firstly as a student with flatmates (I used the living room as a bedroom to save money!) and for the past two years with my French boyfriend, Olivier.”
How would you describe your style?
“Calm and relaxed. I like light, muted colours, especially white and grey, and I veer towards natural textures – wooden floors, cosy woollen blankets, linen sheets, handmade ceramics. My style’s a little bit Scandi, but I’m too much of a magpie for my home to be completely minimal! I like collecting vintage bits and pieces from my travels, and mixing old and new together; I think that’s what makes a house a home. I’m also a big fan of mid-century design, and over the years I’ve learnt to invest in timeless classics rather than constantly replacing cheaper pieces.”
What work have you carried out?
“When I first moved in, I completely gutted the place and decorated it on the cheap. When Olivier moved in several years later we had another decorating session, transforming three student rooms into a more grown-up master bedroom, a guest room / home office and a lovely living room. I love a bit of DIY and have no qualms about painting walls, filling holes or sanding down surfaces. I’m definitely the handywoman in the house; Olivier’s the tech guy! We also invested in some key pieces of furniture which we will probably have for years to come, including an Eames chair and a mid-century armchair.
“All the spaces have evolved over the years, and it’s gradually started to feel more like home, with little mementoes and piles of magazines. Most recently, I’ve redecorated the guest room and home office again. It was nothing drastic and we had a tight budget, but it’s amazing how a fresh lick of paint (grey, of course!) can transform a space. It’s now light, airy and clutter-free.”
What’s your favourite corner of the flat?
“It’s probably the shelved alcove in the living room. We don’t have a fireplace, so it’s a bit of a focal point where all my design books and favourite possessions are on show. There’s always a chair in front of the shelves, and it’s right next to the French doors to the balcony. I love to sit there with a coffee and the paper on a Sunday as the sun streams in.”
Where do you source pieces for your home?
“For big items of furniture, I love trawling through eBay or going to antiques markets. Ardingly Antiques Fair in West Sussex is brilliant for that sort of thing – it’s absolutely huge and you can find some fantastic bargains (I got an old Fritz Hansen office chair for about £25; I don’t think the seller knew what she was selling!). I love Habitat and Ikea for affordable rugs, lighting and accessories, and H&M Home is great for linen duvet covers and sheets. For more unusual pieces, I love to support independent British retailers such as Tea and Kate, The Future Kept and Workshop Living. I’ve also just started a shop on my blog, so I’ll be treating myself to a few bits from there!”
Finally, what’s your favourite piece?
“My Saarinen-style tulip table. I love its curvaceous shape and retro look. It was a bargain buy from eBay, and it’s a little scratched and scuffed around the edges, but I love it just the way it is.”
Head over to Cate’s blog to see more design inspiration from her home and elsewhere, and to browse her shop.
Photography by Cate St Hill