A sophisticated Primrose Hill flat filled with carefully sourced pieces

A well proportioned London flat was the ideal setting for interior designer Emma Grant’s trove of eclectic finds, with each piece shaping her vision for the space.
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‘My starting point for each room tended to be a key piece,’ explains Emma. In her bedroom, it is a small 19th-century portrait of a boy from one of her favourite dealers, The Home Bothy in West Sussex, while in the bathroom it is a mahogany wall cabinet from Norfolk Antique & Reclamation Centre, which gives the small space an anchor. The process of decorating resulted in Emma enrolling on KLC’s Certificate in Residential Interior Design course in 2018, which led to her swapping her fashion career for one in interiors earlier this year. She is currently gearing up to take on her first projects.

What Emma spent on key pieces, she saved in other areas. The kitchen was in perfectly good nick, so she repainted the cabinets, added brass handles, cut down an oppressive black marble splashback and swapped the upper wall cabinets for shelves. ‘I love entertaining and I wanted the kitchen to feel open, with all my glassware and ceramics out,’ she says.

A lantern from Lots Road Auctions hangs above a coffee table from the antique dealer Alice Gomme.

Paul Massey

Almost everything in Emma’s flat – bar the odd rug and bath-room fitting – is an auction purchase, market find or piece of salvage. This is the reason why nothing, remarkably in the age of Instagram, feels instantly recognisable. There is a pretty blue-bordered sink in the bathroom that she scored for just £20 from a west London bathroom gut; an old red Harrods sofa that she bought at auction and had to have hoisted in through the window; and a Dutch serpentine commode from Lantiques.

Growing up in a 15th-century house near Winchester, Emma honed her eye on childhood antiquing missions to Petworth and Arundel with her father. ‘If I’m away for the weekend, I always stop at antique shops on the way,’ she says. Online auction sites, especially The Saleroom, have proved equally fruitful.

The flat has been six years in the making and, when I visit Emma, she is in the process of designing a fabric for her sitting-room windows – ‘a stripe, but not clean cut’ – and planning the installation of two magnificent Delft tile murals in the small shower room. ‘I am really happy with the flat, but I can’t help but think of new ways to fill the space,’ she admits.