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Interiorssneak peeks

Sneak Peek: Esther Boulton of Benson & Boulton

by Amy Azzarito


Originally this London home, was composed of seven bedsits. (ed note: Following World War II, bedsits were a way of subdividing larger homes. Occupants would get a single room and share a bathroom). So the first order of business was to strip everything out and return the home to a single family dwelling – one that respected the original home but was light and open. Luckily husband Jeremy Biggin is an architect, who works with reclaimed materials – the kitchen work surface are old chemistry lab counter tops from schools, all the radiators and most of the fireplaces are reclaimed and the kitchen floor is reclaimed and had to be laid block by block. The entire project took a year to complete, and when it was finished, Esther was so weary of making building decisions that she decided to simply paint the entire home white. In the four years, since the family has lived in the home she’s been gradually adding color. Now that the home is mostly done, Esther can focus on her latest passion. Together with friend Belle Benson, Esther started a new company, Benson & Boulton,  to help people get their small business ideas off the ground. They both have ample experience in this area – Belle started her career working with Jonathan Adler and then opened Brooklyn fashion boutiques Bird and Babybird. Esther opened The Duke of Cambridge which was the first Certified Organic Pub in the UK and was a great success. Both women sold their businesses and now through Benson & Boulton are offering people simple and practical ways of turning their ideas into a viable business. Thanks, Esther, Jeremy, Isaac and Keziah! And thanks to Tina Maas for the lovely photographs! –Amy Azzarito

Image above: Our bedroom -The fireplace came from our friends house around the corner, they were redoing their kitchen and didn’t need it anymore. The mirror was from my parents house and was always in the hallway of our childhood home. The blanket on our bed came from The Cloth Shop, they have an incredible collection of antique blankets, materials, old ribbons and buttons as well as new swedish linens which I have used to make curtains in many of the rooms.


Image above: Our bathroom is covered in marble tiles that were reclaimed from a butcher’s shop in Devon and the walls are painted in Tracery II from The little Greene Paint Company. The chair comes also was handed down by the family and the old cushion cover I bought from Christa Davis who along with her own clothing label also sells vintage linens and blankets at her monthly studio sales.  The fireplace in this room was the only original fireplace left in the house.


See more of Esther’s home after the jump!


Image above: We bought the sofa from a junk shop and had it upholstered in an old Romanian cart cloth, which also came from The Cloth Shop. The lamp stand I picked up from a junk shop too. The living room is painted in Pigeon from Farrow and Ball.


Image above: This is the children’s play room and connects to the living room with a set of double doors. The Edwardian dustbin that I picked up from a junk shops is great for all their over sized things like tepees and stilts and flags and things. The old 1950s French map of Britain shows the country divided by agriculture and industry and came from a market in Provence.


Image above: Another view of the children’s playroom. The rocking horse was given to my brother by our grandparents.


Image above: This is a corner of the lower ground floor living room and kitchen space, my daughter spends hours playing here, the doll house was made out of wine boxes by my husband and it has acquired a new floor every birthday. The Edwardian chair came from my grandmothers house and is covered in Kvadrat fabric. The framed photograph was given to us by friends and it shows a mountain in the north of Scotland, an area we visit together every year.


Image above: This is the kitchen, my favorite room – it looks out onto the street at the front and the garden at the back. The kitchen table is the one I sat around as a child, it came from Habitat in the 1960s. On the stove is a great red enamel sauce pan from Labour and Wait -one of my favorite shops.


Image above: This glass cupboard I bought from an auction and painted Pea Green from Farrow and Ball, it is full of my favorite pottery by John Leach. The clock on the wall above the fridge I found in a dustbin in Brooklyn when I was living there and working at MOMA.


Image above: This is my dressing room and the chair was given to me by my parents as a wedding present. I made the curtains and the Swedish linen also comes from The Cloth Shop. The wallpaper is Louise Body.


Image above: It took me many hours to choose this stair carpet, as didn’t want it to completely clash with the hall tiles, it came from Blenheim Carpets.


Image above: This bay is in the living room looks out onto the front of the street which is very quiet and lined with crab apple trees. The house is very quiet for a London street partly because it is a dead end and there is no through traffic. The chair is by a Swedish designer Yngve Ekstrom. There is also a child’s Ercol chair and this is where Isaac does his guitar practice.


Image above: The tiles in the hall are original Victorian tiles and were quite damaged when bought the house. We had to replace some of them.


Image above: This is my old battered bike Bike in hall way which I love. My husband bought it for my birthday.

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