When you are an interior designer that works mostly in minimal, monochromatic spaces, but your personal style is a bolder, more pattern-friendly aesthetic, you get the home of Ellie Horwell Roche. “At home, I never really have decorating goals — I like to make it up as I go along,” Ellie admits. “I love mixing vintage with modern, and often buy pieces without knowing exactly where they will go. They always find a home, or something will change in the house, and they suddenly make sense. I love art, and believe that it should be for everyone, not just the super rich. I buy a lot of modern art prints, and street art editions. London is great for finding people doing exciting things, and I love to support that.”
Based in the Hampstead Heath neighborhood in North West London, Ellie shares the home with her husband Simon, their two young children, and two kittens. When they found their home, they knew it was the location they wanted, but it seemed they had their work cut out for them. “We have always lived in London and have tried out quite a few different areas,” Ellie shares. “When we decided that we wanted to buy our ‘forever house,’ we knew we wanted somewhere that was a happy place for the kids to grow up. Hampstead Heath is a huge wild green park, which is amazing for kids to play in and explore. You hardly ever end up in the same bit twice. It’s like living in the countryside, but moments from central London. There is a real village atmosphere here, it’s not like being in the big city, and we love that mix. When we saw the house, it was in the perfect location on the perfect road, but it was in a terrible state, very rundown and full of junk… we couldn’t even get in some of the rooms! It took a lot of time (and all of our money) to refurbish it, but we could see the potential, and as the spaces revealed themselves we really fell in love with it.”
Built in the 1900s, the home covers around 2,000 square feet, spaced out over three floors, giving the Roche family seemingly extra room, yet bringing them close together at the same time. Even though this is her “dream” home, Ellie has had to let go of some of her design dreams in their home. “The lovely bespoke kitchen that I had designed and specified had to go, so we got one from IKEA instead. We said we would save up and change it in a year, but actually, we love the one we have! It’s been sturdy, looks great, and everyone loves it, so it’s staying.”
Even though Ellie’s home is full of beautiful design and one-of-a-kind vintage finds, she’s able to look past that and focus on her children and giving them a cozy place to just be kids. “My kids love creating, doing art, making things… there’s always glue and paint and scissors everywhere, and I have the two kittens, so I can’t be too precious about the house,” she says. The result of this accommodation for her family’s creations and Ellie’s own design sensibility is a colorful, striking home. Enjoy! —Erin
Photography by Earl Smith
Image above: A peek into the spare bedroom, full of pattern and whimsy.