Text Robyn Alexander
Production Sven Alberding
Photography Elsa Young

Interior designer Kim Stephen’s terraced home in Barnes, London, combines her signature flair for colour with a clever use of its relatively compact spaces.

As it is situated in a row of brick terraced homes that were originally built as workers’ housing, the facade of this house is almost identical to those on either side of it. Step inside the front door, however, and the uniquely colourful style that interior designer Kim Stephen has brought to her own abode rapidly becomes evident.

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Originally built as a worker’s cottage, the house is one of a row of terraced homes with neighbours on both sides. Homeowner and interior designer Kim Stephen’s home office is situated in the room with the bay window. Says Kim, ‘I use my bike all the time in summer. Sometimes I don’t use the car for weeks – I do everything around Barnes on my bike and if I go into central London, I use public transport.’

‘I am naturally drawn to colour… and I’ve certainly got a very wide range of colours in this house,’ says Kim. She’s not exaggerating – from the bright blue and green ikat wallpaper in the guest cloakroom to the bright pinks and yellows in the open-plan dining, kitchen and living space, a plethora of vibrant shades meets the eye all over the house.

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‘Yellow is probably the colour that I use most,’ says Kim, ‘but always in small quantities (accessories, a cushion) and I always make sure that it sits closely to something black and white.’ The abstract artwork in the hallway of the house was purchased from Cécile & Boyd (cecileandboyds.com) in Cape Town, and the rattan bench was picked up at a junk store in London, ‘as was the handbag on it, which is a play on an Hermès Birkin,’ says Kim. ‘It’s canvas, with a Birkin design painted onto it.’
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The cooker and extraction hood were in situ when the Stephens bought the house, while the black and white Sorrento splash-back tiles are from Fired Earth (firedearth.com) and were installed during Kim’s update. The green vase is from Cécile & Boyd (cecileandboyds.com) in Cape Town and the blue casserole is Le Creuset (lecreuset.com).

Asked where her affinity for colour comes from, Kim simply says, ‘Colour makes me feel happy and brings interiors to life. My use of it feels intuitive – I’m just drawn to it when given a choice.’ As her mother owns an interiors textiles showroom, she grew up being exposed to a huge array of interior fabrics, ‘and I think I just found the colourful ones more exciting and interesting,’ says Kim.

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The Crittal-style glass doors and windows had been installed during the previous renovation of the house. The couch and chunky side tables are Cécile & Boyd (cecileandboyds.com) pieces, and the former is upholstered in a now-discontinued fabric from Mavromac (mavromacandthegatehouse.co.za). The square scatter cushions are covered in Arty fabric by Pierre Frey (pierrefrey.com) and the rectangular one is a beach scene on a cushion by Alexandre M-S (alexander-ms.hautefort.com). The Slim Aarons photographic print on the wall above the couch is entitled ‘Poolside Gossip’.

As anyone who has tried to put together a decor scheme using a range of bright shades knows, it’s not easy to get this sort of look right. Kim says that to make colour work in interiors, ‘it’s always important to temper with neutrals and texture’, and adds that here she made sure both of these elements were effectively used.

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Kim planted the star jasmine in the garden; its position just beyond the glass Crittal-style doors means that its scent wafts into the house when it is flowering. The white outdoor rattan couch is from Sika Design (sika-design.com) in Denmark and the yellow and black patterned throw partially covering its upholstery (in Dove White) is made from Fujin fabric in Jaune by Pierre Frey (pierrefrey.com). The cushions are (from left) from Designers Guild (designersguild.com); from West Elm (westelm.co.uk); and made up using Jim Thompson Sampan Stripe in Pebble; and Jim Thompson Tunis in Daisy (jimthompsonfabrics.com). The white side table is from Block & Chisel (blockandchisel.co.za) in Cape Town, and the grey planter is from Habitat (habitat.co.uk). The outdoor rug is from Swedish rug maker Pappelina (pappelina.com).
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In the main bedroom, the walls are painted in Cornforth White by Farrow & Ball (farrow-ball.com); the mirrors alongside the headboard are from Block & Chisel (blockandchisel.co.za); and the curved headboard itself is upholstered in The Wave fabric in Mineral by Linwood (linwoodfabric.com). The bedside pedestals are Terrace Side Tables from West Elm (westelm.co.uk), and the Gioalos table lamps are from OKA (oka.com). The scatter cushions with the yellow stripes are made up in Marina in Pastis by Lelievre (lelievreparis.com) and the pale blue scatter cushions in a plain linen bought by Kim from a local shop in Barnes. The yellow and blue throws are both from H&M Home (hm.com), and the bed linen is from South African bedding and linen makers Granny Goose (grannygoose.com). The bench at the foot of the bed is upholstered in a fabric from Mavromac (mavromacandthegatehouse.co.za). The artworks were found on Etsy (etsy.com) and placed in simple white frames.
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In the bathroom, all the sanitary ware and taps are by Lefroy Brooks (uk.lefroybrooks.com), and the patterned shower curtain is from Jonathan Adler (jonathanadler.com).

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In Anna’s bedroom, the desk is from La Redoute (laredoute.co.uk), with a chair that Kim found in an old junk shop in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The rug was bought ‘years ago’ from The White Company (thewhitecompany.com), as was the yellow velvet fabric used to upholster the headboard, which was sourced at fabric store Bbellamy & Bbellamy (https://www.facebook.com/bellamyandbbellamy/) in Muizenberg, Cape Town. The bed linen is from Zara Home (zarahome.com), with a selection of scatter cushions collected by Kim over time – everything from Designers Guild (designersguild.com), to ‘something I picked up in India, [and] something from a Christmas fair here in the UK’.
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Jamie’s bed is situated directly beneath one of the skylights, which means that in summer when the skylight can be left open, he ‘feels like he is outdoors and under the stars’. Says Kim, ‘Jamie has definitely got a designer’s eye and gets quite involved. We also needed to make the space practical, so he has a double desk set up – one for online gaming and one for homework. His bed sits in front of the chimney breast, which meets the angle of the ceiling at the top, so I designed a custom headboard [to fit the space].’ The light is the Game Wall Lamp from House Doctor (housedoctor.com), and the skateboard is from Palace (palaceskateboards.com). The green figure is a Bearbrick (bearbrick.com) of Leonardo from the Ninja Turtles, which is hugely oversized and hence quite rare and collectable.
www.kimstephen.com