A London home where gray is just a backdrop

When it comes to decorating I’m pretty brave and impulsive, I think it should be fun so always worth giving a go, what’s the worse that can happen?! For example Davie had to work the first weekend after we’d moved in, having left a magnolia home in the morning, he came back to a dark grey one, luckily he loved it as much as I did! The walls are painted in Dark Lead emulsion, Little Greene Paint Co. The armchair is from Ikea.
After spending nearly 10 years working for magazines (most recently for Living Etc.), homeowner Milly Goodwin left the magazine world to set up shop as a freelance interior stylist and interior design consultant. She met her interiors photographer husband, David Cleveland on a Laura Ashley shoot 8 years ago. Currently, it’s just the two of them in this two-bedroom Victorian flat in London but all that is about to change as Milly is six months pregnant. When the couple moved into this home six years ago, it was their first time they had owned their own home and they both felt set free, in terms of decorating. Milly had always fantasized about living in a clean minimalistic space, she says that, in reality, she loves her things too much. She loves collecting and being surrounded by objects that hold memories and tell stories – she is usually attracted to pieces that have eclectic color and pattern. She had been collecting things for many years before moving into this space so a lot of editing was necessary to pull everything together. She often starts with just a single piece and works out from there. The couple’s home has also ended up being an extension of her day job; as a stylist, she is constantly thinking of how to reinvent a space or an object. Thanks Milly and David! And an extra thank you to David Cleveland for the lovely photographs! -Amy

Image above: When it comes to decorating I’m pretty brave and impulsive, I think it should be fun so always worth giving a go, what’s the worse that can happen?! For example Davie had to work the first weekend after we’d moved in, having left a magnolia home in the morning, he came back to a dark grey one, luckily he loved it as much as I did! The walls are painted in Dark Lead emulsion, Little Greene Paint Co. The armchair is from Ikea.

Fluff marshmallow spread appeals to neither of our taste buds but its graphic, pop art esque packaging does. Davie shot these as a personal project and I sneakily got them framed as a present.
Image above: Fluff marshmallow spread appeals to neither of our taste buds but its graphic, pop art esque packaging does. Davie shot these as a personal project and I sneakily got them framed as a present. The abstract floral Mulberry print that I made up into a cushion was the starting point for the whole room; I fell in love with it at a Liberty fabric sale. I recovered a plain lampshade in Liberty’s Tana Lawn dressmakers fabric, it’s the best stuff for the job as offers optimum opacity; most interiors fabrics would be too thick. Bird tapestry cushion, The Rug Company.

DesignSponge/London Sneak Peek

See more photos of Milly’s London home after the jump!

Sadly not an original '50s number but this sideboard was a shrewd find from the flagship Paperchase store in London, from time-to-time they stock some brilliant pieces of furniture up on the first floor. Its also home to some of my favourite holiday memories; the two elephants came back with us from Kerala, India – we watched an incredibly talented guy carve these in his workshop from a single piece of marble.
Image above: Sadly not an original ’50s number but this sideboard was a shrewd find from the flagship Paperchase store in London, from time-to-time they stock some brilliant pieces of furniture up on the first floor. Its also home to some of my favourite holiday memories; the two elephants came back with us from Kerala, India – we watched an incredibly talented guy carve these in his workshop from a single piece of marble. We have a bit of a soft spot for New York as we got engaged in Central Park and Davie’s best friend, Ben lives there so it suits me perfectly that it’s also a bit of a stylists haven for ‘props’ (AKA an inexhaustible excuse for yet more stuff!) On our most recent trip I picked up these rolls of ticket stubs and the vintage Chinese firework boxes.  The Moroccan floor cushions are a brilliant hiding place for our spare duvets and pillows that come out when people stay over.

My parents brought back the pair of antique puppets from a trip to Rajasthan and gave them to me, a very excited 6 year old at the time, and I have treasured them every since although I think Davie finds them a bit creepy lurking in the bookcase.
Image above: My parents brought back the pair of antique puppets from a trip to Rajasthan and gave them to me, a very excited 6 year old at the time, and I have treasured them every since although I think Davie finds them a bit creepy lurking in the bookcase.

Falling in love on almost an hourly basis is a bit of an occupational hazard when you’re as immersed in the design and furnishings world as I am so editing has become a key skill. Whilst I’ll admit to having several trunks filled with fabrics in the loft this ladder allows me to display some of my favourites; fabrics are an endless supply of inspiration and an invaluable colour resource.
Image above: Falling in love on almost an hourly basis is a bit of an occupational hazard when you’re as immersed in the design and furnishings world as I am so editing has become a key skill. Whilst I’ll admit to having several trunks filled with fabrics in the loft this ladder allows me to display some of my favourites; fabrics are an endless supply of inspiration and an invaluable colour resource.

Fabrics from top to bottom.
Vintage Fleur Suzani, Madeline Weinrib
Green stripe dressmakers fabric, Flea Market find.
Waikiki fabric, Bennison Fabrics
Vintage sari fabric
Wilde Carnation silk, Osborne & Little
Baronessa linen, Mairo

The Eero Saarinen dining table and Gervsoni ‘grey’ chairs were an incredibly generous wedding gift from our friends and family. The porcelain teapot pendant lights are from Original BTC.  The curtains are a bit of a work in progress as I made them in a rush when we first moved in, I should have made them full length but not having made curtains before this attempt I was ill-equipped for the amount of fabric involved so, when I get around to it I think I will edge them in a contrasting fabric to finish them off.
Image above: The Eero Saarinen dining table and Gervsoni ‘grey’ chairs were an incredibly generous wedding gift from our friends and family. The porcelain teapot pendant lights are from Original BTC.  The curtains are a bit of a work in progress as I made them in a rush when we first moved in, I should have made them full length but not having made curtains before this attempt I was ill-equipped for the amount of fabric involved so, when I get around to it I think I will edge them in a contrasting fabric to finish them off.

7milly

The wall of photos, framed simply in Ikea frames is constantly growing and changing; being married to a photographer means we’re never in short supply of pictures to put up.  We used some vintage hungarian linen grain sacks as our stair runner, sourced from Beyond France, six years on it is looking a bit tired but as it was under £200 to buy (we fitted it ourselves) it’s wasn’t such a bad purchase. The walls are painted in ‘Whiting’ matt emulsion, Little Greene Paint Co.
Image above: The wall of photos, framed simply in Ikea frames is constantly growing and changing; being married to a photographer means we’re never in short supply of pictures to put up.  We used some vintage hungarian linen grain sacks as our stair runner, sourced from Beyond France, six years on it is looking a bit tired but as it was under £200 to buy (we fitted it ourselves) it’s wasn’t such a bad purchase. The walls are painted in ‘Whiting’ matt emulsion, Little Greene Paint Co.

Design Sponge/London Sneak Peek

10milly
Image above: Originally, I rather optimistically recycled the chalkboard calender wall sticker from a shoot I was working on not sure how practical it would be, only being a month but it is actually the most useful thing in my office. I keep an electronic diary for longer-term arrangements but this allows me to plan and see my diary much more clearly on a day-to-day basis. Available from Rockett St George.

Visitors often think the walls are black but the colour actually has a faint blue/green tone that gives it a more warmth to live with. ‘Black Blue’ estate emulsion, Farrow & Ball

These days our bathroom is the room that has suffered the most from my urge to decorate; the small, manageable proportions always call to me on a quiet, wet day. As I always have a bit of spare paint or wallpaper kicking about it has had five makeovers since we moved in, although the current one is a favourite so I think it might be staying, for now.
Image above: I developed my gung-ho attitude towards decorating from a young age; aged 9, my lovely (and perhaps naive) parents allowed me to redecorate my bedroom, the only condition was that I had to do all the work myself, fine by me! So, horse mad at the time I set about transforming my bedroom into a stable; I ripped up the carpet and replaced it with AstroTurf fake grass, put in a straw bail desk and chair and painted the walls a chalky white but my Dad did stop me short of cutting the solid oak door in half (to convert into a stable door!). I was rather chuffed with my handywork and the rest, as they say is history.

These days our bathroom is the room that has suffered the most from my urge to decorate; the small, manageable proportions always call to me on a quiet, wet day. As I always have a bit of spare paint or wallpaper kicking about it has had five makeovers since we moved in, although the current one is a favourite so I think it might be staying, for now.

We revived a grubby mirror we found in the street with sugar soap and painted the edge in ‘orange glow’ fluorescent paint from specialist paint company Rendona. The walls are covered in ‘Richmond Park’ wallpaper, Zoffany. The bath surround is made with reclaimed scaffolding boards that we had originally used as tabletops at our wedding a year earlier and the screening curtain is made from a rescued coffee bean sack from a supplier at Borough Market, London.

12milly
Image above: Another great post-shoot purchase; I had covered the Ikea chest of drawers in thick grey felt with my trusty upholstery gun, it was such painstaking work I couldn’t bare to let it go in the skip afterwards so I took it home, replaced the handles and protected it with some ScotchGuard waterproof spray.  We bought this fluoro electrical flex and the fittings from Urban Cottage Industries, a fantastic resource for industrial style lighting and wired them all together for our bedside lights. The walls are painted in Salt Lake III chalky emulsion, Francesca’s Paints Ltd.

Design Sponge/London Sneak Peek

Design Sponge/London Sneak Peek

Design Sponge/London Sneak Peek

Roo

Oh wow. This is gorgeous. Great colour choices and really well thought out schemes.

Alex

Gorgeous grey cloud blanket! Would you mind sharing the source? Thank you.

Smid

Love your office! I am so excited about this calendar. I considered painting this onto my office wall with a stencil but i love this idea in the interim.

Beautiful bath room!

Rose Duggan

Hey thanks so much for featuring a home with carpet. Unfortunately, my apartment has carpet and all the hardwood floors were giving me an inferiority complex.

Shanan @ The Symmetric

I love all the colours and unexpected touches in this home… can’t decide which I like more — the ‘Fluff’ photograph or the upholstered chest of drawers. Both brilliant in their own ways. Thank you for sharing!

Annette

adore every little bit of this home, chic, cozy, collected all my fav touches…simply stunning!

Jackie

Beautiful place with such character. I feel just like her, I always dream of having my place minimalist and clutter free, but in reality, I love filling it with things that have chacter and mean something to me. It makes the place original and your own.

Sue

We had our entire home painted in three different shades of gray, with the intention of it only being a backdrop. It’s been two years and we have many blank walls, making it feel a bit institutional. Thanks for sharing this beautiful home and inspiring me to add more whimsy in my home!

Kathleen

Gosh, all so compelling. I love the collection of glass candlesticks. Any notion of where they are from?

Jessica

Such a great backdrop for this eclectic mix of traditional and modern and color and neutral. Lovely.

Lisa Kellenberger

I’m in love with these grays! I also love the botanical wallpaper in your bathroom, it adds a great punch of color. The way you framed that map in the last room is beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration!

Milly

Hi everyone, thank you for all your lovely comments on our home! As much requested the cloud blanket is by Donna Wilson, sourced from Future & Found. http://futureandfound.com/ I’ve seen its not currently stocked but if you get in touch I’m sure they will be able to help.

Chichi Furniture

What a beautiful home. I love the dark grey walls, its an ideal base to contrast with – the ornate white mirror and fire mantel stand out amazingly. The pops of colour throughout add such warmth and style. The French style dressing table works really well against the more modern bed and dressing table – the balance is spot on and everything gels, proving you can mix up styles. Great inspiration :O)

Britney McSweeney

I cannot get over how amazing the grey looks in this house! I wear grey all of the time, so it shouldn’t surprise me, but grey with all of the colors accenting it really just brings me to my happy place. Love it.

gogothrift@etsy.com

I also love the candlesticks (as well as the home). Are they vintage, crystal???? Would love to know the source.

thejoyofcolor

Absolutely Fabulous!!!!!!!!!! love the grey with the colorful contrast and the vintage furniture the mix of old and modern is Brilliant

diana

love the cloud blanket! where did u get it?

whole place is fab!

Domenica

And that awesome magenta rug in front your fireplace? Where’s that from?

Debbie

Being from Massachusetts, where Fluff is made, the photo really speaks to me! Would David be willing to sell a smaller print, maybe A3 size?

Kalaco

What a beautiful feel your home has. I particularly like the candlesticks in the sunlit room but don’t see a reference to them under the photo. Would you share the name of the maker?

Lulu

What is that lovely cherry blossom fabric at the bottom of the stairs?

Rosalind

Oh, gorgeous! David & Milly, very very nice. All sorts of wonderful things. Gorgeous views outside, But stairs, no.

Ruth

A beautiful home! Love the fluoro touches and that so many things ‘mean’ something to you. You are an expert at incorporating bright, vibrant colours into your home, without making it feel garish. I guess that’s why you’re a pro ;-)

Kathleen

Stephanie, thanks for directing me to the candlesticks at cb2. They would be a fine substitute.

LEA

Lovely home! This might be off topic, but the gold and black necklace on the mirror, where is it from?

danyell

Oh my goodness, your home is so beautiful and calming! I love it! Where did you get the cute, paper-cut box city-scapes on your bookshelves with the puppet pair?

Maya

I love everything in these pictures! I just wondered how did you self-install the stair runner please? We’re just about to do the same, and I’m collecting as much advice as poss!

Doris

Why doesn’t the “Recently at Design Sponge” calender listing work any more?

katie

Your house is fabulous, the colours are perfect and your style is oozing from every room. The bright colours on the little ladder are enchanting and I could do with a bit of your editing prowess! I would love a copy of the Fluff poster too, it would be the best present for a pal of mine, let me know if it is possible. Thanks for sharing your home and all the best with your baby x

Rita Marie

That vanity is lovely. So much sentimentality! This is a well travelled home. Love it!

Kim S.

Bathroom is great!
Really the best non trending room in the house..

Other than the hall, it’s the room -that ten years- won’t shout out as having been done in 2013/2014

Tammy

Wondering if there is any way to purchase reprints of the Fluff photo? I love it!

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