interior designInteriorssneak peeks

sneak peek: polly alexandre’s london home

by anne

Polly Alexandre is a wedding photographer based between London, England and Ibiza who shoots in film and is always striving to capture natural light to create beautiful and emotional works. Her London home will always hold a special place in her heart, as it’s the first home she ever bought and the place where both she and her partner started their businesses. Renovating and decorating the Victorian home was a 7-year project when resources — time and money — allowed (they got really creative, as no pieces in the home cost more than £500). Polly’s love of good light and clean spaces with nice details translates from her professional work to a philosophy that governs everything she creates. It’s the perfect place to welcome clients, but at then end of the day, she can close the door and feel at home. Ironically, working on this sneak peek submission was a catalyst for Polly and her partner to re-evaluate the way they live, and they decided to put this home on the market (sorry, it just sold) for their next adventure. In the meantime, stay tuned for a sneak peek of Polly’s Ibiza place coming soon. Thanks, Polly! Anne

Image above: I love the black floors — they really make an impact and are inadvertently very practical (not usually my forte!). I love the cornicing and curved wall in this room, and I bought the vintage chandelier at auction to complement the period detailing. The paint in this main living space is White Mulberry by Fired Earth, with the same colour on all walls and woodwork. The original wooden floorboards were sanded and stained with Rustins Wood Stain in Ebony. The division with the folding doors was put in by me and made from some secondhand donated doors, which we got a carpenter to cut in half. The cushions on the Ikea sofa are from Zoffany fabric bought from an eBay seller in London who uses beautiful, high-end fabrics for her cushions. The chandelier is vintage, and I bought it at a local auction house. The black trunk is an old luggage case I picked up at a local charity shop.

Image above: This is my bedroom. The walls are painted in Clunch no. 2009 Estate Emulsion by Farrow & Ball. Each summer, I buy myself a nice piece for my home, and the French vintage armoire was my 2009 purchase. I love it for its ability to conjure up another world . . . hanging on it is one of my vintage dresses, an eBay find. I sometimes use it in photoshoots. It also hides all my possessions; as a creative person, I do seem to amass stuff, but I don’t like to see the clutter! I really love this painting called Guiding Light by Jemma Grundon. I love the colour palette, the drama and the sense of being immersed in the landscape. It provokes lots of thoughts and calms and settles me.

The rest of Polly’s home tour continues after the jump…

Image above: The entrance hall. Original plasterwork cornicing from 1900. The chandelier actually belonged to another photographer who was selling all his old props. It was great fun contemplating whether I could incorporate a Hawaiian backdrop into my home or a retro cocktail bar, but in the end, I settled on this fun chandelier.

Image above: I put in the sliding glass doors to the garden to bring light to the kitchen/diner and to connect the indoors with the outdoors. The table and two of the chairs are from Habitat, and the other two were found on the street, and I carried them home, repainted them white and changed the fabric on the seats.

Image above: The lampshade is from Ikea. The photographs were done on the Norfolk coast and were part of my MA project.

Image above: The spare bedroom has a raw, untreated original wooden floor. I love the look and feel of it, but it marks easily, so it wouldn’t work in the areas of the house we use the most. I bought the chair at a garage sale for £2 when I was at university. It’s followed me from home to home, and Basil, my cat, loves it, too.

Image above: The framed photograph was taken by me at one of my client’s weddings during her first dance. I use this room to see clients in. I like the contrast of the raw, dirty brick fireplace and the smooth cream-painted wall. I once made a real fire in the fireplace and smoked out the room. Apparently, the chimney is capped. The glass/laminate side table and TV cabinet cubes were prototypes for a project by my architect/furniture designer boyfriend. This was my home before we got together, so I didn’t have the benefit of his input on most of the interior decisions (like the white limestone floor I put in the kitchen — so not practical. It stains if you so much as look at it!).

Image above: I love this almost-iconic picture. I loved it before I owned it; it kept popping up at seaside B&Bs I stayed at. Then I saw it in a charity shop one day for a few pounds and picked up one for myself.

Image above: I love having a garden in the middle of the city. I do, however, mainly enjoy it from the window (the English weather is to blame). Basil, my cat, especially enjoys sitting underneath the bamboo and spends hours there. I’m convinced it talks to him! The brief was to create a low-maintenance garden with greens and purples and Oriental influences.

Image above: Basil on his favourite chair.

Image above: I love the pastel colours you see London houses painted in, and I chose a pale blue for my home. It looks especially lovely when the flowers are in season in the window boxes. I discovered geraniums are very easy to care for and require almost no attention!

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  • Luv, luv, luv your home. The clean, serene lines speak to my Japanese heritage and I luv the play of light!

  • I love this home! It’s full of pops of color right where it belongs and decorated with such a great sense of style. It’s a little slice of heaven.

  • I love it all except for that orange Ikea couch. I have the same one and it has become the bane of my existence.

  • Love this because I pride myself in making my home full of things that are affordable and lovable.

  • I loved Polly’s house when I went to meet her there for our wedding consultation and what a treat to have a peak at the rest of it. From the moment she opened the door you could feel the calm and sense an artist living inside.

  • I have a question about the couch..I think I’m also getting that sectional, but in the grey “linen” look fabric. Online it shows the chrome feet or the wooden feet, but yours looks different (at the bottom of the chaise it makes a towel rod shape instead of 2 feet).
    Is that just a seasonal change at Ikea? or because I’m in Canada? Anyone know?

  • @Dominique The couch pictured is the Ikea Tylosand. I think it has been discontinued (at least in the US).

  • the super light blue exterior is absolutely beautiful! i would like to live in a house that has that very color on every wall. really gorgeous.

  • Dominique I think you’re probably looking at the Karlstad which come with wooden feet or the chrome ones. The orange couch no longer exists in Canada. The Karlstad is an awesome couch for its price! Enjoy.

    Oh yeah, and great peak.

  • I came back to view this home for the second time. I couldn’t stop thinking about the armoire and painting in the bedroom, oh and the photography is gorgeous. Everything is perfectly placed, not over-done and ignites curiosity. One of my fave sneak peeks!

  • Can anyone please tell me the name of the painting and the artist who painted it originally?

  • Yes, please let us know the artist who did the painting of the girl in the black hat, it’s stunning.

  • Cute house! LOVE the Jenna Grundon painting!!!! Only problem is, they stole my cat. . .come home Georgie, you don’t want to live in England, you’ll miss the CA sun too much. Seriously, Basil looks just like my little lady. Too cute >^..^<

  • I am in love with the Jemma Grundon painting! I found her online, but don’t see any place to ask about pricing or shipping to the states. How did you find yours?

  • Thanks everyone for your lovely comments! I don’t know who did the painting of the lady in the black hat but surely someone will….I remember someone telling me once…..You can buy Jemma Grundon’s work through this gallery based in London who will ship to the US: http://degreeart.co.uk/ Speak to Isobel.

  • The print is by (Sir) Gerald Kelly; that particular print is Saw Ohn Nyun.
    He did several images of Burmese girls.

    I know because my grandfather had one, and it was lost when he died. It took me 10 years of random eBay searches to discover the artist and print name, but happily now have one of my own.

    Good luck!

  • Gorgeous! I found some old trunks in the attic of the house I just bought, and was planning on using one as a coffee table. I love the juxstaposition of the victorian style, antique trunk and modern orange sectional. I also plan to paint my floors black. Very inspiring, as usual!

  • Oh dear! I’m madly on love with that dress and the armoire plus the pink chandelier. Include the home as well. The pastel homes in London too. What a place; super. Yay to Farrow & Ball paint. If only I could get them locally again…
    now I want to see your photography. Love your taste/decor. Thanks.

  • I have been lucky enough to visit Polly’s home [strictly for a client meet, not to snoop, promise!] and it’s every bit as sharp and well designed that you see here, but with such an elegant feel…even in the heart of Hackney! Amazing how she’s made a charity shop picture look extremely valuable. Beautiful, just like her photography.

  • Love your home; love the creativity and beautiful light; most of all, though, I love BASIL >^^<

  • So inspired by the fact that nothing cost more than £500. Just goes to show you can create a wonderful interior without spending a fortune. Also useful in a design decision I’m making – our living room (currently painted with Clunch – same as Polly’s bedroom), needs repainting, and I can’t decide whether to redo it in the same colour or change it to white! Really helpful to see the colour in such a beautiful home…

  • I am in love with this home that you have renovated for so long, it looks incredible! The exterior and everything is perfect! I am planning my trip to some place close and I would love to drive by and see the exterior in person. What is the address?