Real home: an open-plan extended terrace with a relaxed Australian touch

Lily and Col Pickard's Victorian home is the perfect canvas for Aussie-style laid-back living

Lily Pickard house: kitchen with dark kitchen units
(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies ©Future)

Making decisions on your feet isn’t usually the best way forward when it comes to buying a house, but for Lily and Col, five minutes in their south London home was all they needed to know it was right for them. They won the property after it went to closed bids, then set about toddler-proofing it for their son, Ethan, and dog Ned. 

A year later, they were ready to transform the property into the open-plan home you see today – one that’s infused with the couple’s love of vintage pieces, as well as Lily’s very Australian tendency towards laid-back living and chill-out spaces. 

Stepping into the kitchen space, Lily’s eye for interior design is clear to see, but it’s the details that creep into eyeline – a framed print here, a patterned tile there – that make the space so interesting.

Find more real home transformations on our dedicated page and practical advice on extending a house in our expert guide. Then read on to find out how Lily achieved her laid-back home...

Lily Pickard house: rear extension with black wooden cladding

Glazing, Schueco. Table, Homebase. Chairs, Kartell. For decking, try B&Q

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies ©Future)
Project notes

The owners Lily Pickard, a PR and interior stylist (fox92.com), lives with husband Col, a marketing director, their son Ethan, seven, and dog Ned

The property A four-bedroom Victorian terraced house in south London

Project cost £130,000

'The house had a very traditional Victorian terrace layout, with a narrow hallway and a galley kitchen separate to the rest of the house. The previous owners had knocked through the living and dining room and it was all done up with beautiful beige carpets and walls. But we had Ethan, then a toddler, in tow, as well as Ned – and beige, when you have a toddler and a dog, isn’t ideal! We took the carpets up and repainted the walls to childproof the place a little bit. 

Lily Pickard house: kitchen island with dark wooden painted units and bright green industrial metal bar stools

Bench seat cushion, Mustard Vintage, covered in fabric by House of Hackney. Ceiling lights, Graham & Green. For similar stools, try Cult Furniture

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies ©Future)

‘We lived in the space for a year before we started thinking about extending. We looked at building out to make the kitchen bigger and more connected, and when we met with the architect, Patrick, he recommended doing the loft space as well to add another bedroom. He’s great at maximising space, and he worked out a neat way to get an extra bathroom up there, too.’

Lily Pickard house: kitchen with dark wooden painted units

Shelf brackets and cupboard handles, Ebay

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies ©Future)

‘We have lots of friends over so we wanted an open-plan space. We always end up congregating in the kitchen and it needed to be accessible. I’m used to living
in one big space – it’s a very Australian way of living. We extended into the side return, which gave us an extra two metres of width. I thought, “What’s that going to do?” but it’s transformed how we live.

Pickard house: open plan dining room into living room

Dining set, John Lewis & Partners. Sideboard, vintage G-Plan. Rug, Ikea. Ceiling light, Rockett St George. Calendar, Stendig. Black chairs, Next Home. Tiles, Terrazzo Tiles. Flowers, Bloom & Wild

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies © Future)

‘Patrick came up with the idea of digging down to give extra ceiling height in the kitchen – plus Col is really tall, so it’s practical too. It also zones the space. We didn’t realise what a difference a split-level layout would be until we tried it – if it was all on the same level, it wouldn’t look anywhere near as interesting. It doesn’t matter where you are, the space still feels connected.'

Lily Pickard house: living room with grey velvet sofa

Chair, Habitat. Sofa, John Lewis & Partners. Original artwork by Christine Percy. Rug, H&M. Coffee table, Valentines Vintage of Whitstable

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies ©Future)

'The old kitchen had lots of drawers and cupboards, but we didn’t want anything on the walls. We had a local cabinet maker called John Duffy create the kitchen for us, and I sourced the leather handles from Ebay. My mum made the window seat cover the morning before she jumped back on a plane to Australia.'

Lily Pickard house: dark blue painted staircase with yellow stair runner

Stairs painted in Hague Blue, Farrow & Ball. Hartley & Tissier stair runner, Lordship Flooring

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies ©Future)
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(Image credit: Future)

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‘We have lots of friends over so we wanted an open-plan space. We always end up congregating in the kitchen and it needed to be accessible. I’m used to living in one big space – it’s a very Australian way of living. We extended into the side return, which gave us an extra two metres of width. I thought, “What’s that going to do?” but it’s transformed how we live.

‘Patrick came up with the idea of digging down to give extra ceiling height in the kitchen – plus Col is really tall, so it’s practical too. It also zones the space. We didn’t realise what a difference a split-level layout would be until we tried it – if it was all on the same level, it wouldn’t look anywhere near as interesting. It doesn’t matter where you are, the space still feels connected.'

'We decided to live here during the build because we’re idiots. The builders were fantastic – they had kids of their own so they worked out a way for us to live in the house with as little disruption as possible. They did the loft space first and knocked through to the staircase at the last moment, so it was very self-contained. We had a makeshift kitchen in the dining room for most of the work, which took nine months in all.'

'I’ve always loved interiors and collecting vintage pieces, so my style is about incorporating vintage with relaxed living. We were in Australia over Christmas last year and I never realised how much that influenced me – all the natural timber, glass and open-plan layouts. We don’t care about taking your shoes off or putting a coaster down – we’re much more chilled out. 

‘We have a few interesting pieces and we source a lot on our travels. It makes for ridiculous logistics when it comes to lugging them back home! We shop in independent stores as much as we can, and I love visiting local markets. I also have a soft spot for Rockett St George.'

Lily Pickard house: loft bedroom with white walls, pink throw

Bed, Get Laid Beds. Bedside shelves, Urban Outfitters. Black and white cushion, Ikea. Multicolour patterned cushion, West Elm

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies ©Future)

'The loft was going to be our room, but the council rejected our plans for a double dormer, and because of Col’s height, it wasn’t practical for us to be up here all the time. And as we lost the dormer, we didn’t have any cupboard space, either, so we decided to use this as the guest bedroom. We were going to have bedside tables, but to save space we settled on shelves.'

Lily Pickard house: en suite shower room with monochrome striped tile floor and metro tile walls

Floor tiles, Fired Earth. Metro tiles, Topps Tiles. Ceiling painted in Atlantic Blue, Dulux

(Image credit: Malcolm Menzies ©Future)

'The en suite is small so we decided to go bold with pattern and colour. The fixtures are made from copper piping and garden taps. I showed the builder some taps we liked and he said he’d create some for us from raw materials.'

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