SMALL BUT MIGHTY: For maximum impact in a compact maisonette, interior designer Emma Ainscough mixed high street with vintage and boldness with balance to create a super-stylish haven
- Interior designer Emma Ainscough explains how to push boundaries of design
- UK-based Emma has redesigned two-bed Victorian maisonette in Fulham
- She explains how she mixed modern and bold prints with fresh classic styles
I wanted to push the boundaries of design in a small space,’ says interior designer Emma of her two-bed Victorian maisonette in Fulham, West London.
‘The rooms in Victorian properties can be quite compact and narrow, so I needed to create a look that would be both cosy and fresh.’ She also needed to be clever. For example, in the hallway, where she opted for the statement jungle-print wallpaper, she says: ‘I decided to paper only the top half of the wall [the bottom half is painted] as I wanted it to look energetic but not overpowering.’
She took the same measured approach with the memorable headboard fabric in the main bedroom, which, although it covers just a small surface area, anchors the space. ‘You can be bold in a small space – as long as you strike the right balance,’ she explains.
Luckily for Emma, the maisonette didn’t require any structural changes when she bought it. ‘The bones were already there, which allowed me to live in the space for a few years while gradually deciding what needed doing.’
The corner sofa by camerich.co.uk stretches the full width of the living room. The bespoke shelves were designed by Emma and feature an ever-evolving display of vintage finds
When she started making changes, the kitchen was the first thing to go. ‘It was falling apart,’ says Emma. ‘The cabinets were so old I felt a door might fall off whenever I opened it.’ After deciding that a Shaker style suited the space best, Emma designed the kitchen from scratch and hired a carpenter to build it. She painted the base cabinets a soft sage green. ‘Green is my neutral,’ she says. ‘It’s the backdrop throughout my home and ties each room together.’
More joinery designed by Emma can be found in the living room with the wall-engulfing shelving unit. It’s painted the same colour as the kitchen base cabinets, though the shade subtly changes throughout the day with the shifts in light. The rest of the room is painted in light-reflecting Slate II by paintandpaperlibrary.com, which also emphasises its high ceilings.
Emma’s choices of rich textures add to the property’s welcoming vibe. The white Lazytime sofa by camerich.co.uk is akin to a giant cloud, with inviting oversized cushions, which she reupholstered using gingham check cushion covers that she snapped up in a Zara Home sale. Other cushions include those from katytakla.com, which are made from end-of-roll fabrics. ‘It’s important to me for a project to be liveable and to last,’ says Emma. ‘I’m influenced by trends but not dominated by them. I’m drawn to a mixture of high-street pieces mixed with vintage touches.’
Interior designer Emma Ainscough (pictured) explains how to push boundaries of design. UK-based Emma has redesigned two-bed Victorian maisonette in Fulham
Buying the maisonette came at an ideal time for Emma, who was then cutting her teeth at interior design company Studio Ashby. ‘I needed the courage to go out on my own as an independent designer – and overhauling the look of the flat gave me the final push.’
The corner sofa by camerich.co.uk stretches the full width of the living room. The bespoke shelves were designed by Emma and feature an ever-evolving display of vintage finds – the glass fish are the latest additions, £20 from an antiques market. The table is by annaunwin.com and the throw from arket.com.
The kitchen was the first room Emma revamped, opting for a Shaker-style look and, to add an affordable touch of texture
The kitchen’s sage tones, in Chappell Green (farrow-ball.com, from £52 for 2.5 litres), reflect light around the space. They also pop against the contrasting cream cabinets, painted in Slate I (from £27 for 750ml, paintandpaperlibrary.com).
The kitchen was the first room Emma revamped, opting for a Shaker-style look and, to add an affordable touch of texture, tongue-and-groove wall panelling, painted in Slate I (as before) to match the wall cabinets.
Emma papered just the top half of the hallway with Lioness & Palms wallpaper (£156 per 10m roll, commonroom.co)
Emma papered just the top half of the hallway with Lioness & Palms wallpaper (£156 per 10m roll, commonroom.co). She painted the bottom in Turtle (from £23.35 for 900ml, eico.co.uk).
The bedside table is an antique, which Emma bought via Instagram. The headboard is a bespoke piece
The headboard is a bespoke piece that Emma had made by Bennison as an eye-catching finishing touch to an otherwise calm space. The bedside table is an antique she bought via Instagram.
Emma’s gallery wall features pieces collected over the years, ranging from African photography taken by her dad
The artwork at the top of the stairs is simply framed sheets of wrapping paper from petershamnurseries.com. The basket is from a past studioashby.com collection.
Emma’s gallery wall features pieces collected over the years, ranging from African photography taken by her dad to colourful prints from The Tate Museum Shop (shop.tate.org.uk).
SHOP THE LOOK…
DIY cheat: A new-look kitchen
No renovation required – just paint the cabinets! Nicole Gray shows you how
You will need: all-purpose cleaner, screwdriver, dust sheets, masking tape, sandpaper, primer, roller/paintbrush, paint of your choice.
- Give the kitchen cabinets you intend to paint a thorough clean using an all-purpose cleaner.
- Carefully remove any handles or knobs using a screwdriver if required.
- Protect any surfaces you don’t want paint on (such as walls and worktops) with dust sheets and secure in place with masking tape.
- To prepare your cupboards for painting, lightly sand them (gloss cupboards will need a fine grit sandpaper), then apply a suitable primer.
- Begin painting. Use a specialist multipurpose paint designed for wood, melamine and MDF on laminate cupboards. Eggshell or interior wood paint will work well on wooden and already painted doors.
- To ensure even and thorough coverage, use a roller, and for any hard-to-reach nooks, a small paintbrush.
- Once completely dry, remove any masking tape and reattach the handles.