Edwardian home gets a modern revamp

The home of stylist and blogger Joanne Hegarty has that air of calm, normally only found on the set of an interiors shoot. Perhaps that’s not so surprising – Cork woman Joanne is a leading stylist and fashion blogger and knows a thing or two about how to set a scene.

Joanne didn’t always work in the world of fashion and design. She arrived in London 10 years ago after a successful career in Dublin as a social diarist and journalist, but says she was always interested in interiors.

“When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an interior stylist before the journalist bug got hold of me. Growing up, my mother used to pay me 50p to tidy up and rearrange certain rooms in the house – what a bargain!” she laughs.

“I was always dressing up and wearing slightly odd things to school,” says Joanne, who went to Loreto Secondary School in Fermoy,” like safety pins on the back of my Dr Martens boots and two different coloured luminous socks. I thought I was fierce cool. My teachers used to say I had great imagination.”

Now, Joanne lives in Wimbledon in southwest London with husband Ted and her five-year-old son Archie, a mini Yorkie called Fred, and George the cat. “My life has come full circle and I am really glad that now is my time to work in fashion and interiors. I am very grateful for that opportunity at this stage of my life.

“We like the Wimbledon area,” she says, “because it is so family friendly and you feel like you are such a part of the community.”

It was a case of love at first sight when the couple saw the four-bed Edwardian house. “We fell immediately for the property because of all the original Edwardian features which really come alive in the hallway. The stained glass on the hall door and the black-and-white tiles are all original, although there was some work to be done.”

The original decor was all neutral – ‘a bit old fashioned, truth be told’, says Joanne – but the doors had been stripped and the Edwardian cornicing was still in place, so there was plenty of potential.

They put in new windows that were as close as possible a match to the original ones, and they also fitted French doors to the garden. Downstairs, they replaced the draughty floorboards with new whitewashed pine flooring.

“We extended the kitchen and updated the shower rooms and downstairs loo. In fact, looking back, it was absolute chaos the first year. I just got used to having my morning coffee surrounded by builders,” says Joanne.

The kitchen is now fitted with classic cabinets in a galley style with an open-plan dining room and the space feels both cosy and organised, and showcases clever storage ideas.

The cabinets were built from scratch by a local kitchen company and painted in Blue Grey Estate Eggshell by Farrow & Ball. The walnut worktops add a contrast to the pale units and whitewashed pine flooring.

“I also always wanted a Belfast sink – I think it adds a small rustic touch to our southwest city kitchen,” says Joanne.

The refectory dining table was found at auction. “It’s the perfect size for having friends and family over for dinner.

“We had to bid for it in auction, in London, while we were on holidays in the middle of nowhere in France and a very poor reception. It was very stressful but worth the pain.”

Joanne has teamed the table with wicker Lloyd Loom dining chairs which is a nice contrast to the wood. The big bulb pendant was bought on a work trip to Paris from fashion’s favourite design store Merci: “I was so paranoid that it was going to get crushed on the Eurostar!” says Joanne.

In the living room, the first thing that strikes you is the sumptuous velvet sofa, a regular star on her Instagram feed. “This is the dusty pink wipeable velvet Crumpet style from Loaf Home and I love it,” says Joanne. “The painting over the sofa is by artist Michael Paly. We love art and always keep an eye out for something that resonates with our family.”

The house has four bedrooms, with one bedroom for Archie, one master bedroom and two guest rooms, which also double as studio areas for Joanne to photograph some of the outfits and products that feature on her blog and Instagram.

The master bedroom is painted a delicate shade of faded pink (Cinder Rose by Farrow & Ball), while a vintage chest from a local antiques supplier chimes with the other original features such as the cornicing and fireplace. Built-in cupboards and a Berber-style graphic rug from Wayfair, as well as polished wood floors gives the space a contemporary look. The simple chair in the corner is from Cox & Cox.

Archie’s room has similar built-in wardrobes, as well as an original fireplace. Joanne has kept the walls neutral and added sailing boat Decals and a teepee. Both items can easily be updated as Archie grows out of the early school years. The chair is from interiors store Brissi.

“The guest bedrooms have some of the best light in the house,” says Joanne. “They are also all so neat! I move the rail out when we have someone over to stay, but it is great to have an extra space to keep items that need to be photographed or sent back. I do need the space.”

Joanne wanted the house to have a welcoming look that was stylish, but not too precious: “I think your style definitely evolves over time and when you move into your first home, you begin on a learning curve.

“My look is probably rustic with a contemporary edge,” she says of her Wimbledon house. “So to achieve that we added lots of rustic things like the Belfast sink and the [refectory] table, but then kept it up-to-date with various light fittings and minimalist natural furniture.”

What would her advice be to other folk embarking on a renovation? “Add modern updates,” suggests Joanne, “but let the old period features shine. Choose fittings and furnishings that fit in with high ceilings, stained glass, and old chimneys, which are the common features found in Edwardian houses like ours.

“Try and restore these special features if they are looking a bit drab and unloved – replace broken tiles and glass. Pick statement furnishings that go with the high ceilings, don’t over clutter, choose your pieces carefully.”

  • Check out Joanne’s Instagram @thestylistandthewardrobe and blog thestylistandthewardrobe.com

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