Style Surgery – Clayton Residence

Forgive the lack of Style Surgery of late attempting one each week was rather ambitious I hate to admit!  I have all these big ideas and then the practical stuff gets in the way like the day job. Juggling the store, the product design, interior design not to mention a number of outside projects I’m working on oh and the blog, the website and the journal, and teachingits a little crazy! Style Surgery moves to once a month from now on. If you want us to help you out just email Regrettably we can’t respond to individual emails as we get a little inundated.

Enough on my work load  meet Caroline.  She has moved into to a big pad in North London and has the following dilemma:

“There is a big living room, comprised from two rooms knocked through… this is the problem for me.. it feels like a huge long corridor. The room is probably 30 odd foot in length. We have a grand piano (but not much else part form a couple of chairs in the alcoves) in the back room which leads into the kitchen and we sit and watch TV in the front room.So how best to use them? What about the furniture.. why doesn’t it look homely? What else do I need to make it work? I keep trying to pull the sofas in to the room as I know they look rubbish against the wall. In short, what do I do to make this a fabulously stylish, comfy, inviting room for all the family?

Some pics of the room as is:



aaa1Some of my ideas below:

1style-1For the piano room I suggest the following:

2style-1Inspirational image below of the unit I was thinking you guys could build, it would totally cosy up the space:

piano room more inspirational


4style-1A few further inspirational shots of living rooms layered up:


ss7I bang on about this all the time but the more things in a room, the more interesting the vibe. Often times people stop decorating too soon and yet its the details that add the intrigue. Before I go into full preacher mode and bore you all to death I shall sign off and grab some lunch x

12 thoughts on “Style Surgery – Clayton Residence

  1. Abigail, just Brilliant! It is so informative and I’ve learnt so much from this post! Completely agree with you that the more things in a room, the more interesting it is. I am refurbishing my bedroom now, and in the beginning it was so uninviting and empty. Now slowly, it acquires its character thanks to the furniture and decorative pieces I put there. I have a dilemma though with my vanity table – it is too big! I created a beautiful display of jewellery, mirror, boxes, candles in one corner – and it looks great. Now the other side of this table is so empty! I put the vase with flowers there but still! I find it very challenging to create display on a large surfaces – much easier on small coffee or side tables. How to deal with it? Can you give any small tips? Many thanks in advance.

  2. Fab and very well explained! and the fact you mention my recently purchased cherry&grey nest Conran tables and the togo is even better!

  3. Dear Abigail
    I love these images, I remember the 1st one when in Living etc!

    It’s the mirror in the second image that caught my eye, I have a similar frameless mirror above my fireplace in livingroom. Mine I new and was cut to size, stretches from top of mantle to coving, oversized. In this image, the mirror has that aged look, any tips on how to achieve it without removing the mirror(as I stuck it to wall!).


  4. Dear Abigail (and everyone who’s commented on the styling solutions given here for my living room), apologies for not having posted a response to this until now. I actually have contacted Abigail directly so am not as rude as I may appear but the main delay in posting up here is that I have been busy following Abigail’s advice – almost to the letter – because it makes sense and amazingly, my husband liked it all too!

    So where to start… well, we agreed that we needed to create a variety of different levels of height around the room and introduce round surfaces with tables (since the sofa and existing tables are all hard edged). We also liked the idea of adding a soft rug to add texture and consoles – now there’s a word, I love consoles!

    Our new furnishings were mostly done on the cheap – I spotted a round leather-topped table in a charity shop and snapped it up for £15 – it’s now painted matt grey with undercoat paint and looks great next to the sofa. We also bought a beautiful console table from the Criterion Auction house in Islington for just £90 – the intention was to spray it with gloss paint – hot pink –and I have bought a load of spray paint in preparation but my father has pointed out that this beautiful table is Queen Anne and made almost 200 years ago so I am now feeling as though it would be a travesty to paint it. Anyway, I don’t have to decide until the rain stops and I can safely spray it outside! It looks great against the wall in the alcove, but I am also using it to section of the room – as the photos show so am now looking to buy another. Most of all, it looks great topped off with a stunning Atelier yellow vase we bought, with a bunch of Abigail’s gorgeous flowers.

    Pushing the boat out a bit we have just bought a fabulous soft wool rug from Heals – heavily discounted in their sale from £425 to £290. We initially brought a moss green one home from the store but it looked a bit nauseous and so we exchanged it the next day for mustard which looks beautiful – especially against the limed parquet floor and above all, our new wall colour… more about this now….

    Our biggest decision, and the reason why the make over has taken so long, has been the move to go over to the dark side – as Abigail suggested, I was intrigued by her suggestion of using Zoffany’s Fig Grey but when we painted a small square it looked more purple than grey, which I wasn’t keen on. This then led to buying tens of sample pots of steel greys, wedgewood blues, lights greys etc. We soon realized that that the only way to decide on colour would be to paint a whole wall or two… and the more we painted, the more we liked Fig Grey. It has lost it’s purplish hue, in some lights it even looks light though it is pretty dark. Most of all it has truly done what Abigail said it would, bringing the whole room together and even better, it hides the TV screen (big prominent plasma screens on display being a personal dislike of mine) and is very lovely at night. I can’t quite bring myself to do the ceiling too, I did a patch and it really recessed the beautiful cornicing. Maybe in the future?

    One thing I wanted to say was that having never used Zoffany paints before (being a stickler for Farrow And Ball) we are now converts, it’s a truly fabulous paint to work with and I’m so happy I’ve discovered it at last, The room is big and painting it could have cost a fortune – my husband did it himself between jobs and only used one coat on the walls, two on the woodwork. He found a brilliant supplier in Mill Hill (S&S Home Supplies) who stock all of Zoffany, Farrow and Ball, Designers Guild, Sanderson and Little Green paints.

    Lastly, we love Abigail’s suggestion of introducing some statement chandeliers, we realised that the lights we have in situ, although interesting looking, are largely invisible. When we have more cash we will invest in those and some curtains to give height… and I am going to get my little tub chairs covered in bright coloured velvets to add more colour to the room. Watch this space!

    So thank you Abigail for being a brilliant stylist, your very detailed steer has helped us to make a room that looks stunning and is fabulous to relax in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s