A masterclass in interior design: transforming a run down house into a dream family home and workspace

Interior designer Charlotte Crosland bought a run down conversion in a once undesirable part of Ladbroke Grove, and transformed it into the luxurious home and professional workspace she'd always wanted.
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Charlotte Crosland firmly believes two is always nicer than one. “Pairs are to do with symmetry and balance — it’s a Georgian principle,” she says, studying a pair of curved metal garden benches facing each other in her newly sculpted west London garden, which looks as if it could win at Chelsea Flower Show.

The Yorkstone paved garden, with osmanthus, cherry trees, Japanese anemone, lavender, and white camellias, leads to a boxy design studio featuring Crittall windows across the end of the garden. “Those windows cost an arm and a leg, but I had to have them,” she adds. 

Crosland now runs her successful interior design business from this new studio, and loves walking across the garden to go to work. 

The pairs theme is repeated inside the house, a west London Victorian terrace. From two great lamps in the hall to bold glass lamp bases in the family room, this home is both smart and comfy.


A brave move paid off 
Crosland’s home and studio show off ideas she has been developing since setting up her practice in 2000. 

Gracious lines dominate and Crosland sets much store by using good-quality fabric such as linen,  hard-wearing floor coverings like lino or wood, and premium paints — 80 per cent of what she uses is Farrow & Ball.

She is also keen on elegant storage, which she designs herself, with attractive knobs and hinges. Her interiors are never bland, but they are not brash, either.

Having studied interior design at Chelsea College of Arts, Crosland worked for an architect for two years to gain structural knowledge and then joined an interior design firm. 

At 29, she went solo, working from her flat in Clapham, which she then did up and sold. “I bought, refurbished and sold houses once a year, so picked up teams of builders, knowledge, and clients,” says Crosland, who has three grown-up children — Billy, 23, Edie, 20, and 17-year-old Max — with husband Michael Wood.

Before their youngest was born, the couple spotted a run-down house in the then no-go part of Ladbroke Grove. It was meanly divided into 10 flats. 

“The area was horrible,  Rachman-esque,” says Crosland, referring to the notorious Notting Hill slum landlord. “Nothing like it is now.”
Crosland does things in pairs, from two great lamps in the hall to bold glass lamp bases in the family room, this home is both smart and comfy

Boutique styling
It took just six months to tear down the partitions, add balconies or terraces, and open up right into the roof to create, at the top, one huge high room with a generous en suite bathroom.

This serene space away from family activity below is for parents only. The glamorous bath designed by Crosland has an iroko surround with a radiator built stylishly into the side. It’s like a boutique hotel, complete with a rug by her sister, textile designer Neisha Crosland, whose amazing silver wallpaper features in another bathroom, with her prints in the family TV room downstairs.

Once the couple had completed their changes to the house — including, years later, knocking through into the flat next door to make a kitchen of epic proportions, Crosland could concentrate on work.

When the children no longer needed a big garden to play in, she decided it was time to build her dream studio. You would think it would be easy to install a box at the end of a garden, but a gigantic protected oak tree meant laying 23ft-deep foundations to stop the tree toppling over. That’s higher than a double-decker bus. Huge amounts of soil had to be moved — about 100 skips — as part of the process. Crosland raised the ground-level of the office to help, stepping the garden up to it.

“I didn’t want it to look too office-y,” she explains, and she has succeeded. The deeply coffered ceiling has six window lights. There’s also task lighting, wall lighting to soften things, and pendants that just look good over the central steel work tables. 

To help give a homely atmosphere, the floor is made of Herringbone oak, a modern take on parquet. 

The walls are painted in Farrow & Ball Elephant’s Breath, a soft, warm neutral, and there’s a fabulous copper sink with reclaimed French taps that the builder balked at. Reflecting that colour, all the files are sizzling orange. 

Looking out on to the garden through wide-open glass doors, this fresh, colourful place is an ideal environment to design in, inspired by lime green parakeets flitting among the young trees.

Get the look
Interior design: Charlotte Crosland at www.charlottecrosland.com

Wallpaper: Hollywood Grape metallic wallpaper by Neisha Crosland at www.neishacrosland.com

Rugs: made by Veedon Fleece at www.veedonfleece.com

Paint: Farrow & Ball colours include Pointing, Elephant's Breath and Hague Blue at farrow-ball.com

Taps: from Aston Matthews at www.astonmatthews.co.uk

Bedroom drawings: Magnolia series in bedroom by Jonathan Delafield Cook at www.jonathandelafieldcook.co.uk

Lamps and some furniture: from Julian Chichester (020 7622 2928) or visit www.julianchichester.com

Colourful sisal stair carpet: from Sinclair Till at www.sinclairtill.co.uk

Linen curtains: Roger Oates at www.rogeroates.com

Black and brown linoleum in kitchen: Sinclair Till, as before

Garden design: Sean Walter at www.theplantspecialist.co.uk

Bespoke slatted garden trellis: from Trevor Hinkley at www.trevorhinkley.co.uk

Garden benches: Studio Forge at www.studioforge.co.uk

Orange folders in the studio: from Leitz at www.leitz.com

Bronze wall lights: Holloways of Ludlow at www.hollowaysofludlow.com

Bronze cupboard knobs: Chloe Alberry at www.cloealberry.com

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