A millionaire working mum's super-efficient Notting Hill house
Cosmetics queen Maria Hatzistefanis and her family are thrilled with the decision they made two years ago to move from Chelsea to Notting Hill Gate. “I always loved the vibe of this area, with Holland Park nearby where I can go running every day, and all the lovely restaurants along Portobello Road and Westbourne Grove,” she says.
The 43-year-old Greek entrepreneur set up her cosmetics company Rodial after working in corporate finance for Salomon Brothers for three years. She founded Rodial in 1999 with barely £20,000 and this year hopes the turnover will hit £15 million.
Hatzistefanis and husband, Stratis, who is Rodial’s chief finance officer, had the entire double-fronted five-bedroom property redecorated, and converted the garage into a utility room.
The open-plan living area on the first floor has been zoned into areas for relaxing, dining, watching television and having “face to face” chats. When it was updated it was repainted in — not quite but almost — 50 shades of grey with matching simple colour schemes in grey, black and silver.
“We used the whole palette of Sanderson’s Early Dawn, lime-washed the floors and added custom-made modular sofas, but saved by buying chairs on eBay and re-upholstering them in a grey flannel from Designers Guild, and by buying side tables from Lots Road Auctions and Carew Jones in Chelsea.”
Next to the dining area is a compact galley kitchen. Hatzistefanis says she’s too busy to cook and her two sons, aged eight and 10, eat meals prepared by the nanny downstairs, in their own separate kitchen and living space.
On the same lower floor, Hatzistefanis has also created a lobby with faux zebra-upholstered chairs and a leather table. “It’s a chill-out area where you can sit down in the morning and look at your appointments. I wanted it to feel like a hotel lobby.” Opposite, beneath the stairs is hidden storage — a cupboard for the boys’ shoes and scooters — and a small home office.
Hatzistefanis is candid about the amount of time she is able to spend with her sons, due to the demands of running a company. “During the week I don’t see them that much. It’s a choice I have made. To succeed in business I don’t know that you can have a balance. You have to make a decision.”
Everything she and her husband have, including the house — which John D Wood valued at £5.6 million two years ago and which the couple have spent a further £130,000 on — is a result of their hard work, including buying and selling other properties in the past. “We’ve both been working since we were 18 and had zero family money. And, honestly, I’ve done so many moves I’m done for a long time. I’d like to stay here.”
Pictures by John Lawrence