Turning design into a labour of love

Passionate builder Hayley Dawes was back on site transforming her home the day after giving birth, she tells Joanna Simmons
When Hayley Dawes was planning work on her west London house, she wanted a family space with a design element. “It needed to feel like home,” she says. Hayley, a property developer, and partner David Indo, a founding partner of a marketing and media consultancy, have two boys, Jake, two, and one-year-old Mylo, and another baby due this August.

Hayley Dawes and her children in the kitchen-diner
Kitchen-diner: “The ground floor was very bitty when we bought the house and that shrank the space,” says Hayley. “I just knocked everything out to create the biggest rectangle I could.”
Get the look: Hayley found the dining table in New York, but look at Loft Living for one in this style. The Charles chairs are from The Dining Chair Company. She says: “I copied the design for the kitchen from an upmarket one.” It was made using MDF, lacquered several times. Sleek, handle-free doors slide across the shelves. Hayley says: “It looks great, but I’m not sure it’s a real cook’s kitchen — you have to lean to reach everything. Luckily, we’re not super-keen cooks.” The kitchen was made by The Parrot Furniture Co. The worktop is Silestone.

Their five-storey Victorian house has an open-plan kitchen-diner and living space on the ground floor, plus lavatory and utility room. The first floor has a living room and entrance hall. Above is the master bedroom, en suite and separate shower room. On the third floor are two children’s rooms, family bathroom and box room. The top floor has two guest bedrooms, a study and a bathroom.

The living area and glass staircase
Living area: this is where the family loves to crash out. Hayley says: “At weekends, the football is always on the TV and friends might drop in.” Touches of colour break up the white space.
Get the look: the sofa and large grey velvet footstool are by B& B Italian at Viaduct. The sideboard and pin rug are from Jimmie martin & McCoy. The artwork of goblets made of sweet wrappers is by Joanne Tinker from the Woolff gallery.

It took a lot of planning to turn a traditional layout into a design for modern living, but the clever thinking and light creativity begins at the front door with a hallway lined with huge mirrors that draw you to the back of the house, which opens into an impressive light-filled atrium looking into the spacious kitchen diner. To the left, imposing Moroccan doors open on to a secluded living room, and everywhere there is glass, from the tall, original windows to the panels that flank the atrium and stairs.

“So often in these types of houses, life is lived on the ground floor with a lot of unused space above,” says Hayley. So, working with Lorenzo Grifantini of DOSArchitects, the atrium idea was born. “It meant we lost a room on the first floor,” says Hayley, “but it was worth it to gain so much light.”

Master bedroom and child's bedroom
Bedroom: Hayley says: “I’m not a big sleeper, so I wanted a big bed and a calm feel. The room has very little colour, unlike downstairs, so I can switch off and relax.”
Get the look: the bedside unit and lamp are from Louise Bradley. Hayley designed the headboard and had it covered with crushed velvet. The photograph of Brigitte Bardot is by Terry O’Neill from the Rook & Raven gallery.
Jake’s room: Hayley is as keen on the bright colours as the children. She says the exciting juxtapositions lift her mood.
Get the look: the wigwam is from Win Green. For a similar chair, see the Eero Aarnio Ball chair, available at Design Shop UK. This is the Dot carpet rug by Scholten & Baijings for Hay. The floor cushion is from Bobo Kids.

Now, the open-plan ground floor, once dark and gloomy, is everyone’s favourite hang-out. Here, Jake can ride his push-along car and Mylo can crawl happily through pools of sunlight, while at weekends, friends pile in for long, lazy lunches. In addition to its architecture, design impact comes in the unusual, often playful pieces that pepper the rooms. Hayley says: “I didn’t want a home that was all co-ordinated. It’s nice to bring colour in, especially when you have children.” So on the ground floor a pink rug, a Jimmie Martin sideboard splashed with graffiti and an artwork made out of sweet wrappers punctuate the space.

The staircase and Hayley Dawes in the bubble chair
Staircase: “The top two floors are very family friendly,” says Hayley. “I wanted to make them really colourful.” So she painted the stairs in bright floor paints.
Get the look: the Mickey Mouse painting is from Bobo Kids. Get a selection of bright floor paints at Little Greene.
At the garden end of the kitchen-diner, Hayley replaced an old-fashioned conservatory with a simple rectangular space, adding a glass roof and doors. Originally intended as a play area for Jake, the couple’s ball chair now hangs here, creating a peaceful spot where they can relax and enjoy the view.
Get the look: For a similar ball chair, see the Bubble chair by Eero Aarnio at Patrick Brillet. Get the vintage flat-weave rug at WovenGround and Marilyn Monroe print at popartuk.com

“I love the colour on the console and its edgy feel, but then I like the wooden table next to it,” says Hayley. “This room was white originally. Slowly but surely, it looks like a rainbow. Seeing all those colours brings a smile to my face.”

Livingetc: July 2012
Transforming the house took 15 months with Hayley overseeing every detail. “I was on site morning, noon and night including the day after Mylo was born,” she says. You could say it was a labour of love. “I enjoyed the process, particularly the last four months when it all came together — so bright and breezy.”

* Contact DOSArchitects on 020 7253 8222, or at dosarchitects.com

Photographs: Paul Massey
Styling: Mary Weaver

* The full version of this article appears in the July issue of Livingetc out now

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