When Lucy Barlow first approached this west London house, it was suffering from white box syndrome. "It was a dreadful refurbishment, not particularly house-like at all." The former pub and gallery had been residential for ten years, but it was far from being the fun, young, classic English house Lucy's clients, a young food writer at the top of her game and her husband and business partner, was looking for. The budget was strict, and time was limited, so with a remit that could only extend to cosmetic changes, Lucy and her brother Max set to work.
The siblings set up their eponymous business, in 2013, after both had worked separately in the interior design industry for some years. Lucy had been working under , while Max had been a designer for . Now the pair have honed a sleek, glossy style marked by splashes of colour, sharp lines, and modern accents. This house certainly reflects that approach. It's packed with covetable and of-the-moment designs: Beetle chairs cluster around the dining table; 's "Scrolling Fern Frond" pattern ripples around a guest bedroom; wallpaper dramatises a tiny bathroom.
The entrance to the house very much sets the tone. The clients were committed to white walls in most of the house, and white walls accordingly greet you here, but the trademark Barlow colour and pattern still makes its mark. A neon pink sign bearing the name of the house is mounted on an antiqued-glass mirror, while an eye-catching marble-effect fabric appears on lampshades and blinds. Dark grey trim on the windows and skirting boards also keep the space from feeling minimalist.
The earlier refurbishment of the house included some features which had to be worked around, since very little structural work was possible. Over-enthusiastic use of white Corian on the kitchen island has been countered by spray-painting it to resemble brass; the same finish has been applied to the handrail on the staircase. More white Corian cupboards in the hallway had their doors removed and were lacquered in royal blue to create a jewel-box-like effect. Ripping out the bathrooms and re-tiling them in playful colours - more deep blue and pale pink herringbone - was a source of some satisfaction.
The house includes plenty of features that make it perfect for a young couple with a thriving lifestyle business. Downstairs is a cinema room with banquette seating and a bar tiled in vivid green, while a courtyard garden is filled with plants and paved in a stylish black and white pattern. The work of up-and-coming designers also reflects the youthful feel of the house, from Beata Heuman's "Marbleized" fabric on the curtain trims in the living room, to 's scallop lampshade in the guest bedroom.
Barlow & Barlow's work on this house is also full of ideas that can be absorbed into any interior, whatever the budget. Sweet scallop wall lights like the ones in a guest bathroom can be bought for just £80 at , and the blue-and-white porcelain sink is an ingenious way to escape from the traditional constraints of the vanity. Upstairs, the gentle pink of 's "Setting Plaster" is the perfect soothing colour for a bedroom. The whole house is an object lesson in what you can do with purely cosmetic changes, a tight time-frame and a strict budget.