A House Tour With Our Designer Danielle

Today, we’re shining the spotlight and giving you a house tour of our longest standing designer, Danielle. Originally from Wales, Danielle lives in London with her partner Simon and cat Dora. Together, they live in a spacious 3 bed apartment in Brockley. The previous owners and their family had lived in the house for over 60 years, and let’s just say it needed a little updating… Luckily, Danielle had the vision! So, despite an extremely long and stressful buying process (nearly a year) they made it and completed on their second home together. Scroll on down to find out about her renovations process and explore some of the ‘before’ shots.

Danielle’s passion for interior design all started with a love affair with none other than ‘Changing Rooms’. However, we can safely say the transformations she does for Topology and within her own home are far from some of the nightmares created on the show! Here, she’s moved walls to make the kitchen bigger, and ripped down ceilings to make the upper floors feel more spacious and light.  We think Danielle’s renovation journey is nothing less than a triumph. So without further ado, enjoy this house tour, interview and soak up some inspiring interior design…

Portrait by Theo McInnes & Interior Photos by Richard Kiely

1 – What made you buy this property and what works did you undergo? 
We had planned to move but after spending lockdown in a 1 bedroom flat with only a tiny balcony, our itch to get more space ramped up considerably.  As soon as we were able to view houses we did, and actually had offers accepted on two other properties which fell through before this one. In hindsight I’m glad they did!  We knew we wanted a house we could renovate and the size, location and potential of this one ticked all the boxes for us.  It was a prolonged buying process (close to a year) so we were very ready to get our hands on it as soon as we were able to. 
We moved out again whilst the works were taking place, stripping it right back to the bare bones and bricks, knocked down walls and pulled down ceilings – a big job but all worth while in the end! 

“I’m also glad we made the kitchen work better for us.  I pushed the wall back between the kitchen and the bathroom (stealing some space from the bathroom) which meant we had more space for an additional run of units and the shelving which I love. “

2 – How did you begin the design process & onboarding of trades? 

I’d drawn up all our designs before we’d even got the keys for the house (upside of it taking so long). But I also knew I wanted to live in the space first before committing to any of the plans.  We also had to get sign off to do the work first which took around 3 months.  I had a few contractors to quote for us and in the end took a risk and used contractors that we’d not worked with before – rather than using our usual Topology contacts. I felt it would be a good chance to try someone new on my own project rather than a clients!  

3 – What was the most challenging part of the renovation process & did you manage to keep costs under control? 
The most challenging part was managing the renovation myself, whilst not living in or near the property. This meant all my evenings and long weekends were spent planning & ordering. Plus, having to visit the house to check on progress before and after work. I envy my clients where we manage it for you (see our on-site service here).  Lots of visits to check on progress were done in the dark (sometimes just from the torch on my phone!) as we re-wired the whole property and there were often only a handful of site lights. The other main challenge was managing my partner. Simon is the hardest of all clients to please!  He didn’t visit the house once during the 6 month renovation as it really isn’t his thing, so there was a lot of trust to get it right. Luckily he now loves it too.   I managed every penny very tightly, and did stay in budget.  I made sure we had a big buffer incase anything unexpected cropped up, which we luckily didn’t need to use much of. We also saved in a few areas by doing things like keeping and painting all the old doors the same colour and adding the same hardware – the doors are pretty much all different in style, definitely not traditional but I like how they add a bit of personality.  
4- What’s your favourite room and spot in the house? 
I love our living room.  It gets such lovely sunlight in the afternoons, so feels light and airy in summer. Equally, it feels so cosy in winter with our gas fire. I also still really love the huge floating shelves – makes such a statement and it’s nice to be able to change it up all the time. They’re also one of my cat, Dora’s, favourite places to sit! I’m also glad we made the kitchen work better for us.  I pushed the wall back between the kitchen and the bathroom (stealing some space from the bathroom) which meant we had more space for an additional run of units and the shelving which I love. 
3 – If you could change one thing now in hindsight what would it be? 

I’d have put wall lights / extra lighting in the hallway – I hate having the ‘big’ lights on in general and it always bugs me that I don’t have any softer lighting out there. I’d also have replaced all of the skirting boards and door architraves. I wish I’d stripped them all off and put new to give a more crisp finish.  Both were areas that I decided to scale back on to keep in budget, but given we didn’t go over at all, I feel like I should have pushed the boat out here. 

5 -Your top 3 furniture pieces? 
I love our sofa & the armchair (both Arlo & Jacob), the living room shelves (if that counts!) and our kitchen stools (Cult).
5 – Your paint colours used? 

Kitchen- F&B – Slipper Satin

Bathroom – Little Greene – Olive Colour
Living Room – Beige 01 Lick
Skirting boards & doors throughout – Rustoleum Chalky Finish Floor Paint- Natural Charcoal (Black) – super hard wearing – barely any scuffs 2 years later.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this house tour series and learning more about our designer Danielle & her beautiful home in Brockley. Tune in next time for our founder Athina’s house tour…

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