This Intensely Color-Blocked London Victorian Will Make You Rethink the Possibilities of an Historic Home

When Studio Rhonda was asked to redesign a Victorian terrace house in North London for a friend, “the brief was to go crazy, a celebration of life moving forward,” notes Rhonda Drakeford, director of the studio. With a trusting client, Drakeford completely pulled it off while pushing the limits of what you can do with color. Thick stripes and blocks of saturated primary colors harmonize with earthier tones of terracotta and chalks — over 30 shades of paint, in all. Drakeford kept the period details of the residence but glossed over them, in some cases literally: ignoring moldings and architraves, the dictates of corners and where walls meet ceilings. Instead, she used color and geometric shapes to delineate the space. What results is a playful sense of immersion.

The home is now filled throughout with custom touches, like the dining table designed by Studio Rhonda with concrete Split Shift tiles from Drakeford’s online concept shop Darkroom in collaboration with Bert & May. The studio painted pre-existing subway tiles on a bathroom wall and ceiling light fixtures and used square tiles in Quarry Red from Fired Earth to surface bathroom vanities with poured concrete sinks. It’s a balance between going bold and recognizing what makes an interior feel like home. A beloved royal blue velvet sofa already in the living room wasn’t going anywhere and helped determine the matching blue walls of that area. The large polka dot storage cabinet Studio Rhonda designed was inspired by the Polish Boleslawiec pottery the homeowner collects. And while color creates a striking first impression, the details that are thoughtfully carried through make it all cohesive: an armchair in the living area is upholstered in Split Shift fabric, echoing the tiles in the dining table, as well as a curtain in the primary bedroom, which is on the top floor loft. Up there, as things get airier, the color palette grows softer, a more neutral base for the illumination that filters in through skylights. Check out some of our favorite moments from the space below.