Interiorssneak peeks

sneak peek: cassandra ellis & ed prichard

by Amy Azzarito

Cassandra Ellis and Ed Prichard have only lived in this Victorian home in South East London for nine months, but it’s been nine months of hard work. Underneath years of grime and countless layers of paint were original fireplaces, floorboards, banisters and cornices, and Cassandra was determined to uncover it all. Wherever possible, she did most of the work herself so that she could devote her budget to restoring some of the original detailing that had been lost, such as the radiators, doors and hardware. In the midst of the renovation, Cassandra brought home a chocolate lab puppy, Mr. Darcy, and put the finishing touches on a book that highlights her work as a quilt maker and designer. Whew! In addition to the two dogs, there’s even more action on the weekends when Ed’s children, Frankie and Oscar, are in residence. Thanks Cassandra and Ed! — Amy A.

Image above: Frankie’s bedroom was the first room that I did, as I was a little worried Frankie might be disturbed by the original state of her bedroom. Five solid days of stripping wallpaper, but now it’s beautiful, and she sleeps like the dead in there, so it’s as relaxing as we wanted it to be. Her quilt is a mixture of kimono and Liberty print silk. The French wrought-iron bed was bought from eBay and still retains its original faux bois paint finish. The basket is handmade from the Philippines, and the bird painting is by a New Zealand artist. The doorknobs throughout the house were made by a special Victorian doorknob maker. They are just as they would have been originally, and it feels just fantastic to turn a proper doorknob. (Paint throughout the house is mostly from the Little Greene Paint Company, as they have the most beautiful neutrals, and their paints are full of pigment. In Frankie’s room, Bone China Blue Pale on the walls. All the woodwork in the house is Little Grey Slaked Lime, and any painted floor is French Grey mid.)

Image above: I bought this Belgium wardrobe from a dealer on the South Coast and painted it Off Black by Farrow and Ball. It’s big but not quite big enough! I had radiators made for all the rooms from old Victorian casts but left them with the black undercoat they came in. They are lovely and matte, although a little trickier to dust. (Walls in Little Greene — French Grey.)

The rest of Cassandra and Ed’s sneak peek continues after the jump . . .

Image above: Restoring the hallway seemed to be a never-ending job. It was yellow with filthy blue carpet. Layers and layers of paint had to be stripped before the walls could be repainted and because there was lead paint, it was all done by hand — my hands. I wanted the floorboards in the house to stay looking old, so I hand-sanded and waxed these as well. The chandelier was a gift from my mother and has great sentimental value to our whole family. (Walls in Little Greene — Pale French Grey.)

Image above: A collection of some of my favorite things on the library mantle. The painting is from New Zealand — the view is of the harbor where our family used to own a bach (beachhouse), and the jug is by New Zealand potter Bob Steiner.

Image above: The library is my favorite room in the house, as it’s just an incredibly calm room full of precious things. The Chesterfield sofa was an eBay find that I recovered in slate velvet. The 1930s chairs are $NZ10 bargains my mother found for me — she is the great chair hunter. She had them restored and recovered by a local artisan, and they traveled with me to London. The trunk is Ed’s boarding school trunk, and the NZ kite (basket) on the wall is made from copper. The cushions and lampshades are of my own making.

Image above: In the living room — another Chesterfield, with one of my quilts, also found on eBay. I had it restored and covered in artist’s linen.

Image above: Oscar’s room is at the back of the house and gets lots of lovely light. Both kids picked their room colors, and he very tastefully chose Skimming Stone from Farrow and Ball. The rug is very old and falling apart but has beautiful colours. The bed was found in a field and required a lot of elbow grease. It’s painted in Charleston Grey from Farrow and Ball. The quilt is very simple and made from an old Japanese sampling bolt. The house is on a very slight lean, so the doggie doorstop from Anthropologie ensures Oscar has a little control over his privacy.

Image above: There are 8 guitars and counting in the house. Both Ed and Oscar are great guitarists. The picture is from a children’s book Ed made for the kids when they were small.

Image above: Our dining area in the kitchen — we decided to turn what would have been the dining room into the library. The table was a £30 find from a hideous store in Brighton. Some of the chairs are Eames and some are very old and precious chairs that used to belong to my sister. We’ve painted all the doors in the house Farrow and Ball Off Black, which I just love — it makes them into punctuation points. Black is also my favourite colour — it must be my Kiwi roots. The walls are Little Greene Slaked Lime. In the distance is my lovely studio.

Image above: Our Lily, or Le Ping, as we like to call her. Happy, willful and hilarious — the perfect dog.

Image above: Furious planting when we arrived means we have a super garden. It’s a lucky thing to have in London, and we spend a lot of time outside. Picking my own salad and flowers makes me incredibly happy. I am also very fond of my 1978 Raleigh three speed.

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  • What a beautiful London home!! Makes me want to spend a bit more time making mine more cozy. I love all the patchwork quilts and the wrought-iron beds! Lovely.

  • So nice to see Cassandra’s London home posted here..! I can see the lovely person that she is reflected in every corner of the house.

    I love your space, Cassandra, and I am inspired by all the love that has gone into making it a home.


  • This is such a beautiful home! I love seeing when the layers are pulled back and a house gets to be how it is meant to be. Perfect.

    The touches throughout captivate me: the color in the quilts, the tufted sofas… everything in the library. The whole space is very well done. It makes me want to get my own little house and strip back the layers even more.

  • I love this! And love the introduction to Little Green Paint Company. I can’t wait to start painting and love the simplicity of the backdrop with the bright accents. Might just have to buy a quilt while i am at it! :-)

  • Your rustic wood floors are gorgeous and your quilts…so beautiful (heading to your ebay store to take a peek right after I write this). Reminds me of the quilt my Japanese grandmother made for me when I was born, which I still have today, althought it’s a bit tattered. I love your white space, offset by rustic wood, metal and the occasional black matte in the mantal and wardrobe.

  • Fantastic – enjoyed every photo and was in awe of how much she did herself. Feeling slightly inadequate! ; )

  • What a wonderful house – you can really see all the hard work that’s gone into it. Made even more interesting by the fact that my Victorian house has almost exactly the same layout – and we’re in the process of turning what should be the dining room into a library. I’d like to say great minds think alike – but I couldn’t claim anything like the design talent that Cassandra has shown in her inspirational home!

  • It’s wonderful homes like this that might convince me to stay in London instead of moving out!

  • I totally appreciate what Cassandra has done here I live in a three storey house & the work involved is immense but Cassandra has achieved and made it all worth while here. Beautiful garden as well & love the bike!

  • I would love to be able to have a house here with that sort of potential! And the rooms are so big! (for London) I am super jealous.. everything is beautiful!

  • I admire the restraint shown here. Not austere but minimal to where the surfaces and details of the structure really shine. I especially like the hallway. The wood floors, walls and trim are gorgeous, and the chandelier takes center stage.

  • so 45 minutes later I emerge from this sneak peak….after browsing her quilt site with all of her inspirations and just dreaming about all of her luscious stacks of textiles that she must have, I must now return to my reality. thank you

  • Love this home and how you write. As for the wardrobe, they are never large enough. This one is so pretty, it is the style I want. I like Farrow & Ball paint very much. off Black is gorgeous. Please explain how black is part of your kiwi roots, I’m trying to get the connection.
    On your note of the day where it says to pet the dog: I’d love to; what a sweetie.
    Roomy place, fireplaces so pretty, a garden, and a super adorable doggy. London…life is good. Cheers!

  • I love your old floor boards and the fabulous library!!! THAT is one of my still unfullfilled dreams…. a whole room filled with bottom to top shelves and all my books at hand!
    I know about old floors; I have just (about) been able to stand up again after having dealt with woodworms happily munching my floor away under the Turkish kelim…. it looked like in a sawmill and the buggers have eaten a ‘motorway’ along the boards!
    beautiful pause for me – looking at your pixies – you are not only very talented but also very lucky to be able to live in this glorious place in London…. I thought it was somewhere in the middle of nowhere with all that greenery! :)

  • everything is perfect here…all the right tones and notes. farrow and ball colours, velvet chesterfield, the garden outside, pops of colour on the quilts. an eclectic sensibility that makes me homesick for london….

  • Seems like most rooms have a way of bringing the outdoors in! I love this aspect
    of your home. And that is just the start of what I love about it! :)

  • Such a beautiful, beautiful home: the love shines through in the pictures!
    (I am a huge fan of Little Greene paint – after months of deliberation, I painted our living/dining in their Pearl Colour, and it’s exactly the pale green/grey I had hoped for. I’m planning their paint for the kitchen, too, now, and the hall.)

  • Love this house, so many great touches and a great mix of modern touches with classic items and amazing floors.

  • Lovely decoration! Very cosy! beauty is present everywhere! I loved the bedroom where the painting with the two black birds are!!!!!! How can I get in touch with the artist?

  • OOh, I like this one! Love the quilts…I collect beautiful quilts myself so I was excited to see casandras collection :) I actually love pretty much everything about this home, it gorgeous, lots of spirit xx

  • Gorgeous! What is the paint color on the walls in the library please?! So beautiful.

  • Hi, I love your Belgium wardrobe. I’ve been looking for something similar. Where did you get it from?? Thanks. Jon

  • Hi – can I possibly ask in the kitchen is it little green slaked lime mid or deep? Thanks looks gorgeous

  • Beautiful. Simply stunning but so comfortable. You have achieved the near impossible! Do you mind please sharing the slate velvet fabric you used for the sofa and possibly another pic! I have been deliberating over velvet and the shade of grey/blue but I think I have found it! Many thanks

  • Hi lovely home! Just wondered what colour the walls are in the library? Thanks kate