Case study

Eclectic Whimsical Home

Location - Greenwich, London

We transformed a blank canvas space that was once an old sweet shop, complete with stripey blue blinds and shop front storage shelves, into a warm and inviting family home. The client’s brief was ‘whimsical and eclectic, with a touch of Japandi. Luckily for us, the clients had a beautiful collection of art work, accessories and existing pieces of furniture we could work with that helped to influence and steer the overall design scheme. We project managed the whole design from concept to completion, and you can read all about the process below.

The budget for this project, which included designing the kitchen, living room, dining room, hallway and bathroom (as well as e-design packages two rooms),  was between £50-80k and the total spend was just under £65k. 

There were many elements required to be changed or updated in the property, but we focused on finding lower-cost solutions to ensure we kept within the budget. For example, the kitchen was in need of a refresh, but was actually in good shape! So we resprayed the existing cabinets, added a tiled splash-back with open shelving, and fitted new handles. The results were amazing, truly giving the appearance of a brand new kitchen.

The budget included but was not limited to the following – 

  • All labour costs & materials inc. handyman jobs & waste collections
  • Re-plastering and painting – walls and woodwork
  • Stripped & stained flooring across downstairs
  • Added a runner to hallway staircase & carper in 2 further rooms
  • Kitchen refresh – sprayed cabinets, new splashback, shelving, lighting
  • Joinery either side of fireplace and the bespoke dining area 
  • Rip-out and installation of new bathroom
  • Furniture, accessories, plants and lighting in all rooms

One of the main focuses of this project was to add storage for Melissa and Nino, and their young children. We decided to fill the existing hole in the chimney breast, and add two storage cabinets and shelving on either side. This created a focal point in the living room and provided somewhere to display and style the clients’ amazing selection of eclectic accessories. 

To save space around the dining table and provide plenty of space for the large family to enjoy time together, we designed a banquette seat to the side of the lengthy kitchen counter, with lift up storage for toys included. The bespoke two toned cushion seat ties in the living room and kitchen and provides a comfortable spot to enjoy facing out to the garden.

We first met with Melisso in the property and she talked us through the families desires for the spaces we were hired to design. We then met with contractors who quoted up for the jobs required and sanity checked the ideas to ensure they are realistic and feasible with the budget and type of property.

Initially the client wanted to have her office space in what is now the ‘sun-room’ dining area, but when we saw the room in person, it was full of sunlight and led out to the garden, and we could imagine the family enjoying the space together all summer long with the doors open. We convinced the clients to change this room to a second dining area, with a mirror to reflect the natural light and soft linen curtains to add a softness and relaxed feel to the room.

The Design Stages

After the site visit and formalities are complete with the client, we always undergo a series of ‘design stages’. This makes the process collaborative and fun, allowing the client to ‘sign off’ decisions along the way. First up we started with a layout for each room, which can be revised if necessary. In the kitchen and living area, we proposed different ideas to provide extra  storage and allow for enough space for the whole family to spend time together. Upstairs in the family bathroom, we suggested keeping a similar layout to avoid higher labour costs, but updating the tiles and fixtures to something less clinical and more modern. 


We then put our design ideas down for each room into what we call a ‘design concept’. This includes the suggested colour scheme, metals and woods, as well as the key furniture and lighting pieces.

Once the concept is approved we final the design with ‘visuals’ to help the clients see the space as a whole. Once signed off, we start planning the renovation works and general project management. 

Once the designs were signed off, we ordered all of the products to our warehouse team. It’s here we have internal spreadsheets and complex logistical processes to ensure items are arriving on time, undamaged and as expected etc. Our warehouse team will notify us if anything is not as it seems and we’ll work behind the scenes to chase orders, organise returns and make sure everything is stored safely until it’s ready to be installed by the lead designer on this project.

As this occurs, work typically begins on site and demolition & renovation begins! Through the construction process, we’ll make regular visits (usually 1 or 2 every fortnight) to ensure things are being completed to a good standard and as we have planned through the design process. Naturally as pipes are exposed and floors are lifted up, some decisions might need pivoting or tweaking but we’ll always ensure the end result is as close to was originally planned as possible, as we’re used to working on our toes!

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Once the trades are finished with their work and the Topology team are happy with everything, we prepare for an ‘install day’. This includes a delivery of all of the products ordered to our warehouse, electricians fitting new lighting, hanging specialists putting up curtains, artwork, mirrors etc, handymen building and Topology managing the full process, ensuring everything is in line with the agreed plans. Install days are always a little crazy, but it’s the most exciting part of our job – watching our designs come to life – as well as seeing the reaction from our clients when their new space is revealed.


We found it to be a very positive experience for a couple reasons. Firstly, the team could adjust quickly to feedback and send us an updated concept very quickly. Their platform allowed good two way collaboration so we were also able to upload photos of furniture or art that we wanted to incorporate into the design, and we could then see those pieces in the new design  concepts. Secondly, I found the process to be very transparent because we could see what stage the project was at, a real time view of our budget and current spend, and itemised shopping lists so we could purchase items at our own pace.

I would highly recommend it—I never imagined that we would use an interior decorator because we don’t have the time to commit to big projects and like to stick to a budget.  I always thought we could fix up our houses ourselves back in the US, but inevitably we would finish just as we were ready to move again and we were never completely satisfied with the outcome because we don’t have that skill set.

If you’re interested in Topology’s on-site service, please do get in touch! For on-site services like this, we typically have a waiting list of around 1-3 months, and for e-design it’s usually quicker, around 1-2 weeks.