Interiors: My London Home Tour, Part 1: Living Room

May 14, 2018
Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room



It seems almost inconceivable that someone who travels as much as I do - in 2017 I clocked up 14 countries and 34 cities, and despite my efforts to slow down in 2018 I might quite possibly surpass last year’s record - would have a home that isn’t just a jumble of luggage in the corner of a hotel room. Yet the opposite is true. Despite constantly being on the road I have in fact two permanent residences; one in Malaysia and one in the UK. My modest 2-bedroom apartment in Nine Elms, London; is by far my favourite. While my flat is what some might call “cozy”, what it lacks for in size it more than makes up for by being a microcosm of everything that I love - in other words: How much junk can I fill a small flat with? The answer is: quite a fair bit.

It has taken me more than half a year to find the time to decorate my London flat (the property completed last Summer, but almost immediately I took off for my Balkans road trip and then I had return to Malaysia for 6 months to take care of some personal matters) but I have finally finished furnishing and decorating my home. Interiors are of course a constant work in progress as one refines one’s taste, adding and removing objects and elements as one goes along. For now, my home reflects my personal style at this point in my life. It has also finally reached a point where my home feels less like a pit-stop in between travel destinations, and more like a haven that I simply don’t want to leave.

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

Decorating and furnishing my living room was not without its challenges. First of all, there’s no getting away from the fact that the apartments themselves are modern. Build from scratch on what was once literally "industrial wasteland", the only thing historical about the apartment are the Art Deco light switches taken from the next-door Battersea Power Station - the crux of the development I live in, and the only other historical landmark in the immediate vicinity. 

While living in a new build has its advantages, it can prove tricky to decorate if your taste, like mine, veers towards the traditional. I reconciled a modern living space with my preference for classical styles by unabashedly mixing and matching eras, finishes, and shapes - resulting in an eclectic look that has been described as “New Traditional”. 

Case in point: a plump Chesterfield sofa jostles for attention among antiques (including a steamer trunk and books that have been in the family for generations) while more contemporary furnishings such as lucite ghost chairs look cohesive to both the modern and traditional style thanks to its classic King Louis shape.

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

When it came to art, I didn’t want to go down the route of simply hanging something on the wall for the sake of it. Too many people put up prints and posters they don’t care for simply to fill the void, which I completely understand - it can take a while for the perfect piece to find you. But I’d be damned if I leave my walls naked or worse, hang one of those ghastly “celebrity portraits done in the style of Banksy” one seems to find on every stall in every market. If I have to put a canvas up on my wall that’s not a painting, it has to at least be a pleasingly symmetrical photo of a grand staircase in a Viennese palace.

The other big challenge that presented itself when decorating my living room was size: both too little of it and too much, if you can believe it. The latter, for example: the cowhide rug that was the perfect size for my previous, smaller living room now looks comically undersized, so I’m searching for a perfectly-faded sage green Oriental rug to layer under the cowhide. (I’ve already found it, it lives in my mother’s house and I’m still trying to convince her to let me have it). Likewise, the previous curtains I owned which once draped gracefully in a “pool” now barely touched my new home’s floors - because apparently it’s next-to-impossible to find ready-made curtains that are more then 3 metres in length. 

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

The more common size issue one encounters with urban apartments is the lack of space. As I did with my previous living room, I created a reflective wall using large wall mirrors and also added mirrored cabinets which double as storage for my shoes, handbags, and accessories*. The result - mirrors and mirrored furniture running across the length of the wall opposite the sofa - creates the illusion of more depth and also reflects the light coming in from the adjacent winter garden, making for an airier space.

I had a soft, pleasing shade of taupe specially mixed for my walls. I left the ceiling to its original shade of brilliant white, which I like to think creates the illusion of a skylight. In reality, even on the gloomiest of days the bright ceiling really does reflect some light, and the subtle contrast between the taupe walls and the white ceilings does help to elevate the energy in the room.

*It does help, tremendously, that only my capsule wardrobe is kept in London. I never have more than 20 pairs of shoes nor 10 handbags in my flat - everything else that I’m not currently wearing or is off-season gets sent back to my family home, to the rooms that I fondly call “the archives”.
Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room


• Winston Chesterfield sofa in grey soft wool

Flavien footstool, WAYFAIR

• Cushion covers, H&M HOME 
(grey, beige, and blue - similar here and here)

Tiles throw, JOHN LEWIS

Louis Ghost chairs, KARTELL

Stone stool, KARTELL

• Small gold trays, H&M HOME (similar here and here)


• Cabinets (PAX frame and VIKEDAL mirrored doors), IKEA. Jazzed up with gold foil trim and Honolulu Palm wallpaper (UK and US) from GRAHAM & BROWN

• Console table, IKEA. Jazzed up with gold paint, gold leaf, and marble vinyl paper.

Baies, Figuire, Roses scented candles;



• Malachite candlestick holders, gold tiger cub skull, Liberty-print upholstered foot stool, and bell jar; sourced from various antique markets. 
The blue steamer trunk once belonged to my great-grandfather.

Cowhide rug, ONE KINGS LANE 
(similar here and here)


• All my houseplants are from 

Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room


Interiors: Part 1 of my London Apartment Home Tour - Living Room

I try to keep to a monochromatic palette with my furnishings; sticking to shades of grey for the larger pieces (sofa, footstool) with accents of blue (cushions, blankets), gold (trays, plant pots, table frames), and touches of green (tropical print wallpaper, palm trees, and orchid plants). It is essential that I adhere to a colour palette, if not for the aesthetic than to prevent a compact space from feeling overly busy. For this, transparent furniture is the clear choice: lucite stool and Ghost chairs from Kartell look less cluttered than heavier pieces of furniture. On a clear evening, the setting sun brings the transparent furniture to life, illuminating the prismatic facets of the stool and casting shadows that look like line drawings.

It has been a long time coming, but my vision and fantasy has finally come true: to come home from a long day, slip into my Pusheen the cat house slippers, light a scented candle (my fragrance du jour is the Jasmine flower loveliness that is Cire Trudon’s Madurai, which evokes memories from my recent trip to Jaipur), put up my feet on a footstool and peruse a book or admire the fresh-cut flowers of the week while waiting for the kettle to boil. I’m pleased to say that this cozy feeling has also extended to the rest of my home, now that I’ve finally finished decorating my entire London apartment.

More home tours to come, watch this space...

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