A 450-Square-Foot London Flat Remodeled on a Budget — House Call

Name: Rosalind Frudd, my partner James
Location: Fulham, London, UK
Size: 450 square feet
Years lived in: 9 months, owned

James and I met at university over eight years ago and this is our second flat together in London, so we had a trial run at decorating together and this flat really reflects both of our tastes. Having lived in a studio before, we were very excited to have separate rooms and a bit more space to entertain! The original floor plan had the living room at the front of the house and the bedroom at the back, leading onto the terrace. This didn’t make any sense to us, as we love to throw open the doors and use the terrace as another room, so we swapped them around. James’s family is South African so of course we barbecue a lot, and at the weekends we eat breakfast outside.

The most recent addition is the chandelier over the dining table. We found it in a charity shop, tore out all the wiring and put candles in it. We don’t light it very often but it creates a lovely atmosphere at a dinner party.

(Image credit: Rosalind Frudd)

Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t decorate too quickly. Create a floor plan that works, then a list of furniture to source and note the dimensions, that way when you fall in love with something you know whether it will work in the space.

Try to find things that are completely original and you love, rather than following trends. There’s safety in buying from a mainstream shop, but if you find something at a charity shop or antique market and bring it back to life only you will have that and you’ll treasure it more.

Our previous flat was all white so I really wanted to use color on the walls in the bedroom to create a calming place to relax. I love the blue as it changes color depending on the light; we tried to keep it from being too feminine by pairing it with neutral tones.

The living room is a challenging shape—quite thin and narrow—so we divided it into two areas to create the feel of separate dining and living rooms. We kept the colour palette fairly monochromatic, allowing pieces like the marble tabletop and the antique mirrors to shine.

The table was the first thing we bought, before we’d even exchanged contracts on the flat. It was from an antiques shop in Chiswick and we fell completely in love with it without thinking about how heavy it would be! It ended up taking six months for us to move in so we had to put it into storage and it took four men to lift it into position but it was so worth it—it’s my favorite thing in the flat and is such a talking point. We’ve had dinner parties for eight people; the shape is great because you can put a big bowl in the center and everyone can help themselves.

I’m an interior designer in Chelsea so I see a lot of amazing high-end products, but for our own flat we didn’t have a big budget, so we trawled Gumtree and local charity shops. We’re lucky to live close to Lillie Road, which has some amazing little antiques shops.

I made all the cushions and blinds and re-upholstered the headboard in a beautiful Indian block print fabric from Langton Textiles. I go to quite a few sample sales for work and have a big collection of fabric remnants to play with.

We decorated the bedroom first so that we could move in. We wanted maximum storage for our clothes and shoes so we had these huge wardrobes built—one for each of us.

James likes to keep everything pristine and orderly, whereas my belongings tend to spread all over the room, so having separate wardrobes with plenty of space for each of us to tidy mess away was very important!

Thanks, Rosalind!

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