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A Collected Sanctuary in Notting Hill That’s All About Comfort

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Design Lover’s Sanctuary in Notting Hill | Design*Sponge

Old architecture, historic surroundings and the buzz of a large city combined with a villagey feel are just some of the things that make so many people fall in love with London. One of these people is Heather Kane, who has called the city her home for the last two and a half years.

Heather, the Managing Director of a software company, grew up in California and lived all over the US before moving across the pond. London has quickly topped her list of favorite places, partly thanks to the vibrant city life and the easily accessible countryside — in essence, London offers her the best of both worlds. When Heather first arrived in London, she moved into a converted warehouse loft in Clerkenwell, one of the city’s centrally located neighborhoods. Although the apartment was a great find, the area eventually started feeling too quiet on the weekends. Heather wanted to live in an area with lots of energy, where she could also embrace the cozy village feel that is so characteristic of London. She set her heart on Notting Hill, the charming neighborhood in West London that captivates visitors with its beautiful architecture, quirky backstreets and pretty neighborhood gardens. She soon found the ideal rental — a classic Victorian terrace home that immediately felt like the perfect fit. The apartment’s old-time charm, abundance of natural light and amazing view of a medieval church across the street were too good to pass.

Heather’s three bedroom apartment was built in the 1840s and stretches over three floors, which is not uncommon in these types of period homes. “It’s a lot of stairs!” Heather says, “but it’s been opened up and made very functional for the way we live today.” The kitchen, dining and living areas are all located on one floor, while the bedroom suites can be found on the upper floors.

When Heather moved to Notting Hill from her Clerkenwell home, she faced the challenge of making her old furniture work in a new space. Having bought most of the furniture to decorate an industrial style loft, finding the right place for each piece was definitely a challenge and took its time. For Heather, it’s all about finding those special must-have pieces, and coming up with creative ways to make them all work together in any space. “I love interior design and it’s always fun to decorate new places. I’ve also done a few more professional jobs, but I mostly work for myself — and I’m the worst client,” Heather shares.

Now that Heather is all settled in, things couldn’t look or feel more welcoming. Heather’s style can’t be defined with just one word — collected, comfortable, elegant and eclectic are just a few adjectives that describe her inviting home. The beautiful mix of styles has developed thanks to Heather’s constantly evolving taste. Each new home looks a bit different than the one before, while always reflecting her personality and eye for detail.

Heather leads a busy life and loves to travel, which means that she is sometimes away from home for long periods of time. Returning to a personal sanctuary is one of the things she appreciates the most. “My flat is one of my favourite places to be and getting to come home to that feeling every night is special. I think that’s the most important thing about a home,” she says. “It’s about having a space that feels like you and a space that everyone feels good being in.” These pictures by Kjrsten Madsen, captured on classic film, show a beautiful glimpse into Heather’s London home, a sanctuary for both the eye and the mind. Sofia

Photography by Kjrsten Madsen

Image above: “That sofa and the wall it sits on has given me more frustration than any spot in the last ten years! But we’ve made our peace,” Heather shares. Despite wrestling with the living area for months, Heather has created a space that is serene, beautifully layered and a tasteful mix of old and new. The green sofa was custom-made with Designers Guild velvet fabric. 

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Light is a top priority for Heather, and this home has a lot of it. Heather placed a giant mirror in the corner of the living room to bounce the light from the large windows. The nesting tables are from Swoon Editions.

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The living room is the perfect space for hanging out with friends and having a laugh.

A Collected Sanctuary in Notting Hill That’s All About Comfort | Design*Sponge
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Several small coffee and end tables create an eclectic look in Heather’s living room. Danish vintage leather chairs anchor the space.

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The beautiful view of a medieval church across the street.

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“I’m a bit of a mad collector. The shelves on this wall are a place to keep all of the Ethiopian crosses I’ve amassed, and other various bits from travels,” Heather shares.

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Vintage demijohn bottles, old books and pieces of art adorn the open shelves. “Goldie hog, on the [..] middle shelf, is one of my favourites. I bought her in a souk in Morocco and she is ridiculously heavy,” Heather explains.

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“Books, barnacles, old rugs…totally me.” — Heather

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The dining area, in between the living room and the kitchen, is the center of the living space. “I actually sit at the table, which is a first in any of my homes,” Heather says.

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The dining area features a recessed niche, which houses Heather’s bar — “always an important spot.” The vintage dining table is from Sunbury Antique Market, the chairs are by Rockett St. George.

A Collected Sanctuary in Notting Hill That’s All About Comfort | Design*Sponge
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Heather is a big foodie, but cooking is not her thing. “As a place for diet coke, this kitchen is pretty nice,” Heather wittily explains. 

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A big bread bowl filled with kitchen linens.

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The master bedroom is all about comfort, and the room where Heather spends most of her time at home. “I love the fireplace and lots of my favorite pieces ended up in here.”

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Contrasting walls, antique pieces and modern silhouettes add a flair of eclectic elegance to the master bedroom.

A Collected Sanctuary in Notting Hill That’s All About Comfort | Design*Sponge
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The fireplace mantel is decorated with art and prized possessions.

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“The never ending calendar is one of my prized possessions. I won it in a bet from a good friend in high school. It’s been with me ever since (I’ll never tell what that bet was!)”

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Heather in her bedroom. “I’m such a sleeper. A comfy mattress, nice sheets and lots of pillows… a number one priority for me.”

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The black Moroccan rug next to the bed was an eBay find. “This rug is insanely soft. Sometimes I just rub my feet around on it — especially if I’ve been on them all day long,” Heather says. The juju hat above the bed is highlighted by the contrasting wall color.

A Collected Sanctuary in Notting Hill That’s All About Comfort | Design*Sponge
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Old leather suitcases and a chest serve as bedside tables. Fresh flowers by the bed is one of Heather’s favorite indulgences.

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The guest room is located on the top floor of Heather’s Victorian terrace home. “With all of the skylights, it has the most amazing light, […] you can crawl out those windows and look at the London rooftops.”

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The guest bedroom has a light color scheme, and serves as a relaxing retreat for Heather’s guests.

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The floor plan of Heather’s 1,400 sq ft London home.

Source List

Living Room
Sofa: Custom-made with Designers Guild velvet fabric
Danish leather vintage chairs: Andrew Nebbett Antiques
Mondrian end tables: Swoon Editions
Vintage rug: eBay
Leather poufs: John Lewis
Floor lamp: Graham and Green
Green jugs: Sunbury Antiques Market
Queen Victoria pub sign: Sunbury Antiques Market
Throw pillows: Etsy
Oscar side table: Graham and Green

Dining Room
Vintage table: Sunbury Antique Market
Chairs: Rockett St George
Vintage floor lamp: Sunbury Antique Market
Beni Ouarain rug: eBay
Paintings: various markets

Kitchen
Brass tree pot: Sunbury Antiques Market
Lemon tree: Plants4Presents
Wooden bread trencher: Sunbury Antiques Market
Silver vase: Marche aux Puces in Paris
Rug: Etsy

Bedroom
Leather chair: John Lewis
Concrete stool: Cox and Cox
Hayworth bed: Blue Sun Tree, slipcovered
Linen bedding: Soak and Sleep
Grey chunky knit blanket: John Lewis
Side tables: Sunbury Antiques Market
Vintage medical cabinet: Sunbury Antiques Market
Antique gold mirror: Hunt Antique Mirrors
Juju hat: Graham and Green
Moroccan pouf: Morocco market
Red fan: Amazon
Black Moroccan rug: eBay
Sheepskin rug: John Lewis
Vintage leather suitcases: Sunbury Antiques Market
Old wooden bench: Sunbury Antiques Market

Guest Bedroom
Artwork: Kristi Kohut

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