Lonika Chande brings cheerful colour and much-needed practicality to a family house in Stoke Newington

A growing family called in the interior designer to rejig the layout and aesthetic of their early Victorian house, and the result is packed with charm

A lot of family life happens in the bathroom, which just so happens to be Lonika’s favourite room in the house. “Whenever you go into a house at the start of a project, you get a feeling from the rooms and I had it from the bathroom,” she details. “It had so much potential.” The potential was being wasted by a bad colour choice and an awkward stud wall that broke it into two sad spaces. It was the room they worked hardest on, reconfiguring it completely to create a large, luxurious space that “feels not just like a bathroom, but a room you want to spend time in.” Ultimately though, it had to work for the family. A built-in bath with lots of ledge around it provides a home for bath toys and can fit all the children in, “and it’s much easier to haul them in and out of than a freestanding option,” Lonika concedes. She didn’t want too many tiles in the room, but the encaustic tiles surrounding the bath provide protection against inevitable splashing, as does the Swedish rag rug that doubles as a bathmat.

The house was already filled with useful pieces, which Lonika and her team took care to refresh and repurpose, rather than starting from scratch. The gloss pink linen cupboard and blue vanity were already in place, and the husband had some hand-me-down antiques from his parents “in places that simply weren’t working for them,” as Lonika explains. She and her team overhauled them, reupholstered them and put them in places that the couple hadn’t considered. One such piece is the jaunty orange striped sofa in the shared children's bedroom, which provides “a place for them to read, but also to launch themselves off at bedtime,” Lonika laughs. In the sitting room, a wingback chair that was previously upholstered in leather is now covered in a Soane woven stripe, adding further colour and texture to the room. Practicality is also at the fore here, with the seat cushion made up in a plain fabric to accommodate the family dog, who sits in the window so he can watch the comings and goings of the street.

The antique sofa in the children's bedroom was the client’s own, and Lonika had it reupholstered in T'hree Lines' by Virginia White Collection, adding a green foliage scatter cushion by Svenskt Tenn.

Milo Brown

While the children and the dog have certainly benefited from the renovation, one of its main driving factors was to provide a workspace for the husband, an author who works from home. In order to work on his novels he needed a quiet space away from the noise of family life, and somewhere with space for him to lie down and read. The top of the house is now his domain during the day, with his own study next door to the children’s bedroom, complete with custom red-painted bookshelves and a bespoke daybed that doubles as a sofa bed when the couple have guests. It is a highly appealing room, which encapsulates the aesthetic of the entire project: neutral walls offset by bold colour in the artwork, joinery, fabrics and furniture, which are a smart mix of antiques and new pieces.

“They were a really lovely family to work with, and it was a super enjoyable project for us,” concludes Lonika. “They both have a really good eye and trusted us to run with the scheme – in fact, they didn’t really take anything out of our initial design”.