Many of the homes featured on my blog have been designed on budgets that most of us can only fantasise about. The interiors equivalents of Ferraris or Aston Martins. So just occasionally I thought we should take a spin in a Mini or Ford Fiesta. Being restricted financially and spatially, needn’t mean a corresponding lack of creativity. Far from it. I have friends whose homes exhibit personality and passion that far exceed the contents of their wallet.
Architects Dagmar and Chris Binstead live with their daughter in a small 1930s flat, not far from me in Gipsy Hill. In common with many of us, their home is a work in progress, that has to be fitted around the lives of 2 busy working parents, as well as the usual budgetary constraints. The biggest project undertaken so far, has been installing the bespoke kitchen. ‘Bespoke’ suggests acres of expensive materials, but the Binsteads’ kitchen is no less bespoke for being entirely constructed in plywood, hand finished by themselves. And no less photogenic either.
Elsewhere, simple furnishings are somehow in keeping with the flat’s period, and the thundery grey walls are surprisingly calming. Restraint in some areas, allowed for the burst of blue Bisazza tiles in the bathroom, and most extravagantly of all, a sleek wardrobe from Heals in the bedroom.
Strangely, with the plastic storage above the wardrobe, the whole effect made me think of Tate Modern, with its light glass structure hovering above the mighty brick walls.