interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: kevin dean

by anne

artist/designer kevin dean and his graphic designer wife zirrinia  live in a victorian house on the south coast of england in southsea, a 15 min walk from the beach and an hour & 30 min by train to london. the house receives a lot of wear and tear due to the fact they both work from home and have three growing boys. the house needed a lot of work when they first moved in, and they’ve done most of the renovation themselves.  most of the furniture is junk shop finds, which have been stripped back and painted, or made by kevin’s father, a retired cabinet maker. and, despite the fact that kevin is a surface pattern designer, there are lots of plain surfaces, with splashes of color, texture and friends’ artwork on the walls.  enjoy the full post below, and click here for additional images. {thanks, kevin!}anne

[above: We were really lucky that the previous owners had already started to grow the ubiquitous roses around the door before we moved here. We recently uncovered the original Victorian tiles, which were hidden under concrete slabs.]

This is our studio, the rolls on the shelf are wallpaper samples, the rolls in the un-used fireplace are Kevin’s original drawings. The wallpaper on the chimney breast is one of Kevin’s latest designs – ‘Blanchefluer’. We are fortunate to have the original floor boards in lots of the rooms. Kevin’s untidy desk was bought from a second hand store in Camden, London.

The much used fireplace in our front room is surrounded by a wide range of novels, art and gardening books. The round mirror from Heals above the fireplace actually has a brass frame, Zirrinia suddenly took against it and painted it white.

We knocked the kitchen and dining room into one large room, we’ve used a palette of white, grey and blue to give a feel of the seaside. The prints on the wall are by a friend, Katayoun Pasban Dowlatshahi . Kevin’s father made the kitchen table and dresser to our specification!

CLICK HERE for the rest of Kevin’s sneak peek after the jump!

The French bed, we bought from some friends – its so big it wouldn’t fit into the cottage they were about to buy. Work intrudes into the bedroom, a plans chest has  been installed in the bay window.

On the dresser in Kitchen -dinning room: We bought the large ceramic tile in Pollensa, Mallorca a few years ago, its by an artist called Marie-Noelle Ginard. The alphabet tea plates and the rose cup & saucer are designed by Kevin. Some years ago he lived with the Kelabit tribe in Borneo, making paintings of the people and the much threatened rainforest. The containers are made from bamboo and would have contained poisoned darts, the coloured wooden cup is from a similar journey to Venezuela.

Why should only girls have dolls houses? They boys have had theirs for years, it was made to fit the old fireplace by Kevin’s father, this summer we plan to redecorate the dolls house walls with miniature samples of Kevin’s wallpaper collection – one of the boys ideas. The print is from an exhibition Kevin took part in at the Royal College of Art, London, its by Sara Fanelli.

Old houses in England aren’t renowned for having a great deal of storage, little rows of shoes like this appear all over the house!

Gardens in our town tend to be small, but we’ve filled ours with lots of big semi-tropical plants in order to lose the boundaries. Zirrinia is from South America and although its never quite as hot, at least the vegetation reminds her of her childhood! The tree house (its on stilts in truth) is made from a converted shed, the boys used to play it it, now its used to store firewood.

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  • It’s all lovely! I’d gladly take tea in that garden while I sat with a smile on my face after stumbling upon the image of that doll house in the old fireplace niche. And, yes… LOVE the wallpaper! Oh! And the S-E-A plates! :)

  • I LOVE the garden space, I could just imagine having tea and some french macarons while reading a marvelous book out there. The home is simple, with a warmth of love and creativity emitting through the photos!

  • I’m sure your boys wouldn’t like to hear it, but it’s so sweet that they have a dollhouse. And it makes perfect sense that they can play design with their dad. That’s what dollhouses are for, after all: decorating. I also love the treehouse. If I lived there I’d claim it as my own space. Thanks for this!

  • I love that this tour has a bit of messy in it! I love the tours you have on your blog, but they are all so pristine…it makes me feel like my house needs to look like that always. But we all have that one room/space/table that NEVER is clean (like the office in this tour) and I LOVE that other people live like I do! Thanks for inserting some reality into my day!

  • The wallpaper around the fireplace is gorgeous!! I love the tree house and doll house, so many personal items in this home makes it truly lovely.

  • i love this house, it’s adorable. love the garden too. does anyone recognize the plants that are in it? and how do you get a bananaplant to survive outside in england? i live in the netherlands and they always seem to die on me…!

  • what a gorgeous home – so fresh yet welcoming – please invite me round for tea! also I am in love with the green roses wallpaper – I have to have some – where can I get it?

  • Love it! Love it! Love it! Beautiful restful, airy house – just the kind of home to come home and relax after a long day at work. My favorite is the wallpaper around the fireplace, it fits in nicely with the house, and the garden is just sanctuary! I live in London, and now I want to move!

  • Many thanks for all the kind comments.
    To answer a couple of questions;

    The banana plant lives in our bathroom during the winter. I cut it back to the 2 central leaves and haul it up 3 flights of stairs, it’s hard work as the root ball has got very big over the past 4 yrs! It gets re potted every spring.

    You can buy the yellow/green wallpaper directly from me, along with the alphabet plates (SEA).

    Thanks again Kevin Dean

  • I love this house. It actually looks like a proper, lived-in and loved family home. I look at house magazines and despair- especially at ones that supposedly have children but there’s no evidence of the kids anywhere! It’s so Stepford! This is a real home and something we can all aspire to. LOVE the wallpaper- gorgeous.

  • Love this home – and the wallpaper is beautiful. And I agree with Jessica above – well-lived and well-loved. Completely inspiring. Thank you.


  • A breath of fresh air – on the South coast – with a real coastal feel. All crisp, white and airy – with gorgeous objects adding splashes of colour and interest – cool with hints of ‘hotter stuff”. A home of designers with heart and soul! And, of course, the piece de resistance would have to be that GORGEOUS wall paper on the chimney breast – to die for! But really, just love it all! xx

  • browsing design sponge, in anticipation of our imminent move to a lovely victorian house in Southsea, and here I find another. Love the garden especially

  • such a beautiful home, I love how the hall leads into the dining area, straight to the heart of any home, and with that much light coming in …. gorgeous!