Richard and Antony are particularly close, having grown up together and then co-founded their kitchenware brand, Joseph Joseph. They now live a dozen or so houses apart on the same street in Wandsworth, south London.
Since they founded Joseph Joseph in 2003, the company — best known for innovative and colourful kitchen products, from waste separating bins to dish drainers — has grown fast. Their collection is sold in Selfridges and John Lewis, and in more than 100 countries. Their Southwark design studio employs 40, with a similar number working in satellite offices in Paris and New York. The brothers grew up in Birmingham, where their mother works as an architect and their father is a designermaker. Richard studied industrial design at Loughborough University and worked for Dyson, while Antony went to Central Saint Martins, studying product design. Their father, Michael, gave them £10,000-worth of glass chopping boards made by his own factory and told the twins any profit they made selling them could help them start a business of their own.
Now up and running, the sleek Joseph Joseph kitchen bin called Totem, in which different kinds of home rubbish can be separated for recycling, has become a best seller. The brothers draw inspiration not just from the world of industrial design but also from architecture, art and interiors.
They use their own products at home, testing them daily, and share an interest in mid-century and modern furniture.
Both brothers settled in Wandsworth and it was Antony who first came across a house in a Victorian street that had been converted into bedsits and was ripe for reinvention as a family home. But the project looked a little too daunting for him and his wife, Amelia, as they were expecting their first child. So it was Richard who took it on with the help of his girlfriend, Hannah Jefferson, a lawyer, and their architect Daniel Adeshile.
Richard ended up rebuilding the entire house with the exception of the façade to the street. Most dramatic of all is the kitchen and doubleheight dining space at the back of the building, where 20ft-high glass doors slide back to link with the rear garden.
"The only company that could make them that high with the thin frames was in Portugal. There was this big hole at the back of the house for three months waiting for the windows to arrive, and then we had to close the road and crane them in. It was a bit of a nightmare."
Antony and Amelia — who worked in the fashion accessories department for Patrick Cox and Alexander McQueen — ended up buying a similar terrace house just along the street, shared with their children Isla, five, and Arthur, three. They lived there for a year, then with help from the same architect, the back of the house came off and was replaced with a large kitchen extension that has the feel of an urban loft, again with a strong sense of connection to the garden.
"Richard and I both like mid-century modern pieces that work well with the backdrop we have, but my house does feel a bit more lived-in — it is very much a family house," says Antony. "The biggest problem was finding a pillar to support the new extension. We must have looked at 300 salvage pillars before we found the right one."
Read the full version of this article in the March issue of House & Garden, on sale from Friday.