sneak peek: holly wales + stephen smith

Illustrator Holly Wales and artist Stephen Smith of NeasdenControlCentre moved into this converted live/work space that was once a print finisher’s factory in October 2011. They fell in love with the home’s south-facing windows, which allow them to watch the sunrise and sunset and see planes taking off and landing across London. The apartment also has a glass roof on one side where they can watch pigeons walking overhead. The couple had a collection of objects, pictures, books, records and equipment that the large, loft-life space finally allowed them to display. Their studio space is on the upstairs mezzanine, and between their teaching gigs, they often end up working at random times during the day, making for a short, convenient walk from the office to the living room. Thanks, Holly & Stephen! — Amy Azzarito

Image above: Because the factory had to house lots of heavy machinery when it was built in the 1950s, it has solid concrete floors and high ceilings, and the interiors of each space have been adapted with mezzanine areas to define separate rooms. We’ve built a bedroom wall by hanging all of our clothes together — it’s really nice when the sun creeps through the gaps in the morning! The vintage 1960s wallpaper was found in Greenwich, London. The mobile is from the Museum of Modern Art in Los Angeles.

Image above: Our collection of original artwork hangs above the bookshelves. (Holly’s motel print series is available in her shop, and Stephen’s drawings are from his show at MU in 2010.)

Holly & Stephen’s London home continues after the jump…

Image above: Action Brings Good Fortune screenprint, Holly’s seagull drawings and a collage piece from our friend Michael Swaney. The vintage lamp is from Stephen’s family.

Image above: Our Ikea kitchen unit and storage cabinets are accented by Dulux yellow paint and a Marimekko teatowel. The pink flamingo is on long-term loan from Telegramme.

Image above: The red plastic school chairs are from a vintage collection found on eBay. The vintage vase is from POP! Boutique in Covent Garden, and the Denby coffee pot is from a street market in Hackney. Chair fabric by friends at Patternity.

Image above: A collection of postcards and pictures from around the world, collected or sent to us, including a woolen camel on a string from Kazakhstan and some nice finds from art school graduate shows.

Image above: A piece of Stephen’s work from his show at the Baltic Contemporary Art Gallery and part of our camera collection — a defunct Kodak instamatic and a fun plastic panoramic camera from the ’80s.

Image above: One day we hope to build a fully functional model railway, which will circumnavigate the entire house, delivering chocolates and pencils to us at work. This is the very first carriage we acquired — an oil tanker.

Image above: A collection of Stephen’s signs, found in Cumbria, Kent, Spain and Germany.

  1. Kathryn Dart says:

    This is awesome. So unique and colorful! It encourages me to be more daring. Thanks for sharing!

  2. EB-B says:

    Wow – this kind of light in London is hard to imagine! I’m living here too, but somehow it feels like a different place! Love your flat!

  3. Gina says:

    A lovely, lively, dreamy place to call home! Do you happen to know the color of the Dulux yellow paint in the kitchen? I think it’s just the color to perk up a dreary space in our house in Portland, Oregon, as the light is probably similar to the light in London.

  4. CarleyGeorged says:

    bright and refreshing, it mixes well with this monday! Please clue me in where the throw on the bed is from, it screams “soft sweden”; i love it.

  5. April says:

    I love all the personality of this space! It’s just oozing fun, discovery, and adventure! I also very much love that mountainscape behind the bed. I can imagine dreaming so many peaceful, imaginative dreams with those inspiring visions! This is just delightful and so bright. Thanks for sharing!

  6. A great dose of cheer for a cold Monday morning. As much as I can appreciate minimalism, I enjoyed this happy, busy, beautiful, colourful, organized chaos. Must be an illustrator thing (I relate) and the idea of hanging clothes for a sun filtering wall is pretty cool! :)

  7. Irene says:

    I love this flat.

  8. eva says:

    whoa, awesome place you have! The little cupboard with the postcards is great, I found myself thinking: this is what you can do if you don’t want pics of your loved ones and all the places you visited all over the place. Great solution :D

  9. Sarah says:

    love the low bookshelves and art!

  10. max says:

    I love this throughout, but the bedroom is awesomeness!

  11. ethanollie says:

    that bright open space looks so great to be in. i can feel the warm sun

  12. Cindy says:

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned the Mona Lisa with the googly eyes?!

  13. Love the kitchen and dining area. And the wall of windows…fantastic!

  14. Rinna says:

    oh I miss London so much! Even having a washer in my kitchen lol! Awesome home

  15. Vanessa says:

    love how the library neighbours the dining table! great gallery wall too.

  16. Pip says:

    I’ve been a huge fan of Stephen Smith’s work and NCC for years! Awesome! So lovely to get a glimpse into this space. Beautiful light, and all the prints and artwork add amazing colour, without feeling too busy or overcrowded. Very comfortable, cozy and inspiring space.:)

  17. Frances says:

    I agree with the comment above – I find it really hard to imagine this light in London, I honestly thought I was looking at somewhere on the other side of the world. They’ve done a great job with the space: I love all their eccentric bits that they’ve managed to make work together. The wallpaper behind the bed is amazing!

  18. Lori says:

    Wondering how the pictures were hung on the cement block walls. I’d love to do this in my basement, however my walls are solid concrete.

  19. That big wall of loft windows is absolutely fabulous!! Why don’t they make more homes with amazing natural light like that? I think everyone would be so much happier!

  20. Sarah says:

    How funny, it seems so familiar, think i lived in that studio too. Is it on the canal, off Kingsland Road?

  21. Sarah says:

    Just saw it’s the place i was thinking of. Have a wonderful time in there! It holds fond memories! Lol, Sarah

  22. The yellow wall and grey stairs are such a great design element. I

  23. I love this – the perfect combination of designed and casual. And those huge factory windows are amazing!

  24. kebon says:

    Patternity may well have sourced that chair fabric but it’s vintage Collier Campbell I think!

  25. joe says:

    The pieces where great !

  26. Kat says:

    Hey Hollpoll, I love your space, it’s so beautiful and light and airy – I so miss London warehouse living… Very happy you still have my screen-print! Actually, I love that whole wall, with the book shelves, art and what not.

  27. B says:

    where did you find the display case for the postcard collection?

  28. losaunmasbajitos says:

    I love them!!

    Thanks for sharing!!


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