Joanna Plant’s west London house has been moulded by two decades of family life

When Joanna Plant and her husband Nick upsized into a semi-detached 1920s house in Acton Town, they were embarking on a decades-long journey to shape and adapt their comfortable family home
Joanna Plants west London house moulded by 20 years of family life
Owen Gale

The wallpaper is a now-discontinued vintage pattern by Laura Ashley, which Joanna collected roll by roll from Ebay. The fabric of the curtain and the headcloth is ‘Chinese Paper’ by Bennison. The quilt is vintage from Katharine Pole, as is the chest of drawers, from Myriad Antiques. On top of it is a lamp with a scalloped shade by Matilda Goad.

Owen Gale

Joanna’s favourite room in her home is her utility room, but perhaps the most ambitious in the house is her own bedroom. This haven of peace and quiet is wallpapered in a stunning Laura Ashley chintz matched to similar but ever so slightly different ‘Chinese Paper’ hanging fabric from Bennison, which she trimmed in red to better define its edges (as the Laura Ashley chintz is discontinued, Joanna had to amass the wallpaper roll by roll whenever she came across it on eBay). At the top of the house along with a small en suite bathroom, it feels like a cocoon of floral calm, accessed by a steep staircase papered in the same pattern that only increases the sensation. “I definitely have a strong leaning towards red,” she says. “Diana Vreeland said it’s ‘the great clarifier’; I always hold on to that quote.” Red runs throughout the house elsewhere in the magnolias by the door, in the hanging curtains in the utility room cut from a vintage French mattress cover, in the cushions laid out on the garden furniture.

It is a house, then, that incrementally builds up a picture of its residents of two decades, and one which rewards close attention. “The way that we’ve lived in it has changed over the years,” Joanna reflects. “With such small children, and then bigger children, and teenage children, and then no children, and now children back again – that’s had a very real impact on what’s been required. It wasn’t ever like we came in with a masterplan.”

Joanna Plant is a member of The List by House & Garden, our essential directory of design professionals. Find her profile here.