Real Client Stories: Julia’s Home

Everyone, Meet Julia & Alex. This lovely young couple approached Topology back in February to assist with the renovation of their South East London home. Julia & Alex knew right from the off-set what rooms they wanted to do in the house. The kitchen & bathroom were to be left out for now (as there is a bigger plan of an extension & loft conversion down the line) and instead, the current focus was on the dining area, hallway, office, lounge & master bed. To tackle this large project, Julia and Alex knew that having a professional on hand at the click of a button with our e-design service, was the support they needed to get the show on the road. So, to continue on in our client stories series, lets chat to Julia herself and find out a little bit more about the design journey…

What’s the story behind your property?

My husband Alex and I were living in a great two-bed flat we rented in Clapham for a number of years. It was a lovely place to live but the only problem for us, was that it was a rental. We really wanted to make where we were living a home, and a reflection of us and our personalities. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that living within the confines of what your landlord will allow.

We found our house after an EXTREMELY long search. We were looking for a place that could be very versatile, as we had needed our house to be multi-functional. As I work from home, we needed an office I could work in regularly. At the same time, as I am originally from the US, we frequently have family and friends come for visits and needed that office to double as a guest room when needed. I love to do Pilates and my husband uses his Peloton nearly every day, so whilst we wanted a beautiful guest bedroom in the loft to welcome guests, we also needed the loft to also serve as an area where we can work out. We also wanted a house that had retained some of its historic charm, and a layout that would allow for a lot of hosting as we love having friends over. As a result, it took us months and months of open houses and last-minute trips to see houses, before we finally we saw this house in Peckham. We knew right away it was the one!

What’s the most rewarding thing about hiring an interior designer & how did you find the e-design process?

Initially, hiring an interior designer felt like a bit of a luxury. But the longer we spent outlining work we wanted to do in the house, we realised it was going to be a big job and we needed some help. Alex and I work fairly long hours so were worried we wouldn’t have the time to devote to deciding every tiny detail. Additionally, we were concerned that it might drag on for months or years without it really feeling finished. We also really wanted our house to have a cohesive feel to it. I always find that the homes that I enjoy being in the most are those that have a general consistency throughout the house. It helped immensely to have someone offer suggestions for each room that helped complement all the other rooms in the house. I certainly couldn’t have done that on my own.

I genuinely could not recommend the e-design process more highly. Athina answered ALL of my questions thoroughly and quickly – and we had a lot of them! She was also flexible with her vision as I made changes and refined what I liked. I never felt pressured into a certain approach or design choice if that wasn’t our style! Perhaps most importantly, we found this to be an incredibly cost-effective way of doing a renovation and re-design. We had to buy most of our furniture from scratch and working with Topology helped us ensure we had a plan before making any purchases so that we wouldn’t have any regrets, and we could decide at the beginning of our project where we wanted to splurge vs. save.

How would you define your interior aesthetic? 

A blending of a classical, traditional aesthetic mixed with mid-century modern pieces. I also like organic, relaxed touches added in. At the end of the day, we want our place to feel comfortable, warm and welcoming. I really think Topology got to the heart of exactly what we wanted.

What’s your favourite room in the house? 

It feels almost impossible to decide on a favourite as we genuinely love each room so much! But, I think our bedroom takes the top spot. Athina suggested we build in some panelling behind the bed and install some wall lights as well. I like how the bed is luxurious and the paint colour for the walls is calming and soothing. We also added a pop of colour into the design by repainting our cabinets teal – I wasn’t expecting them to fit so well with everything else in the room! However, now I couldn’t imagine them any other colour.

What’s your favourite design element that Topology suggested? Would you have considered it yourself?

Without a doubt, our favourite elements are the paint colours suggested! Namely for the joinery in our living room (powder blue), the ceiling in our office (forest green) and the cabinets in our room (teal). Initially, when we heard the colours, we were worried it would take the focus away from everything else in the room. But once I saw it laid out in the plans, I was shocked to see how well these bold colours actually brought the room together. In fact, without these elements, I think all of the rooms would have felt unfinished. We never would have gone anywhere close to those colours had we been planning these rooms on our own. We would have played it safe and missed out on a huge opportunity to pull the room together. These elements are always the first thing commented on when anyone comes to our house these days, they’re a crowd favourite!


“If I could offer any advice for future clients, it’s to trust in the elements that seem perhaps bolder than you might normally go for. You absolutely won’t regret it!”

Being an older property, what was the biggest challenge you faced when renovating? Did you come across any obstacles?

We really had no idea what we were going to run into with this house, as it was built in 1890. While our survey told us the house was in good condition, we didn’t know what we would find when we started chasing electricity through walls and ripping up carpets! We got incredibly lucky to find original Victorian floorboards when we ripped up the carpets – and in pretty good shape too! Athina helped us understand the pros and cons of wood floors vs. carpet (our original idea), and when we did eventually decide to go with wood floors.  We did have to find a few replacement boards for a few that had seen better days, but it wasn’t difficult and the end result looked absolutely incredible.

See the results of Julia & Alex’s home here

If you’re interested in enquiring about our e-design service, please reach out to us via the form on our website, or via email to contactus@topologyinteriors.com.


For more real client stories, view Isabelle’s renovation here.


All pics by Richard Kiely https://www.richardkiely.co.uk/ 

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