In need of more space for their family of five, plus Mollie the dog, Rachel Bloomfield was thrilled to close the deal on a Victorian semi, located just up the road from their previous property in Hither Green in south-east London, two and a half years ago. Rachel, a television producer, and her husband, Mark Burgin, a building company owner, had done everything they possibly could to their previous terraced home, and it was time for a move with their daughter Ella, 19, and sons Sam, 13, and Bruno, 11.
‘Mark and I are a great combination, as I’ve got all the interiors ideas, and Mark is the practical side, telling me what is actually possible and carrying out a lot of the work himself, so we can keep the costs down, especially in lockdown.
‘Usually I have to wait for a gap between jobs for anything to get done in our own house, but lockdown has given us the chance to finish several projects, including the living room,’ she admits.
Rachel knew that every single room of the dated interior would have to be tackled, one by one, and was especially excited to create a relaxing, grown-up living room with a touch of glam.
‘I had this idea in my mind of Miami pastels, pinks, blues and greens mixed with gold, but I knew Mark would need a little working on to go full-on pink on the walls.’
Mark’s building skills were much needed at the initial stages of the renovation. He removed the 1970s-style arches at either end of the room and turned them back into straight alcoves, as well as replastering and building a cupboard underneath the shelves at the garden end of the room. The couple also had to replace some cornicing.
‘Luckily, Mark knows great people like Errol, who’s one of a dying breed of tradesmen, who makes moulds from your existing cornicing to replace sections to match,’ says Rachel. The floor was sound, so the couple toned down the shiny stain with polish and were ready to move onto Rachel’s domain – decorating the space.
With the living room being so much bigger than the one in their previous house, Rachel knew she’d have to buy new furniture. The only thing they brought with them was the grey velvet sofa, bought several years previously but still in good condition.
‘I was set on pink walls, which Mark wasn’t too sure about, but when I suggested painting the woodwork grey, he could see the scheme come together.
Also, it was a way of blending in the grey sofa,’ says Rachel. With the walls previously a deep yellow, it took many coats of undercoat and a colour blocker to get them prepared for her soft pink, but once it was finished, it inspired Rachel to start looking for furniture. She searched online and found some bargains on eBay.
‘I got the sideboard and the pink velvet and gold chair at a great price, as they were unused returns, so that’s a good tip. And the pale blue velvet chair was a great price anyway.’
With the major furniture sorted, Rachel was keen to invest in an authentic radiator. ‘There were two white panel radiators either side of the French doors that had seen better days and stuck out like a sore thumb. Luckily, at the other side of the room, the radiator was a classic design, so we matched it with a similar one.’
Rachel then brought in white marble and gold touches to create her Miami-inspired scheme, with a sleek coffee table and Sputnik-style lights.
Choosing the final bits and pieces to complete the makeover was a joy for Rachel. ‘I love to browse around shops or look online, and I sourced each one of the cushions separately – they’ve all got some interesting detail on them or a different texture,’ she reveals.
A framed quote in pastel colours sits over the sofa, and a picture of a zebra caught Rachel’s eye in a local shop.
She was also able to put her collection of flower vases, ceramic houses and Japanese wooden dolls on show, which she’d picked up over the years and had been tucked away in boxes.
‘It’s so lovely having everything out on display. There’s deliberately no television in here, so it really is a room for relaxing.’
Words Stephanie Smith. Photos by David Giles.
This is a digital version of a feature that originally appeared in Your Home magazine. For more inspirational home ideas, why not subscribe today?