For Nikki and Luke, decorating is all about having fun with colour, and it shows: every room in their home is a different shade, from forest green to punchy pink. Creativity was key to the project they took on when they bought their unloved 1960s terrace, and one extension, remodel and redecoration later, they’ve transformed it into a series of bright and inspiring spaces. The couple reveal how Palm Springs and parties influenced their choices, and and who’s in charge of colouring in their home.
The owners: Nikki Griffiths (@tierneyterracelocation),
a communications consultant, her partner Luke Moseley, a songwriter and music producer, and their dogs, Paloma and Pilot.
The property: A three-bedroom 1960s ex-council terraced house in Streatham Hill, south London.
Project cost: £140,000.
Nikki: 'We lived on the same road as this house and walked past it every day for months while it was on sale, discounting it every time,' says Nikki. 'Eventually we got curious, went to see it and realised it was full of potential. It had good bones and because the back was south-facing, it was really bright, too. We were looking for a project – something we could make our own and add value to. We’re both self-employed, so this is a sort of pension for us as well as a passion project.'
Luke: 'We lived here for a year before we started work, but that was because we couldn’t find the right builder when we moved in. It was a blessing in disguise, actually. We ended up spending a year getting the plans in place and deciding what we wanted to do. The build itself took seven months.'
Nikki: 'The colour came because I’m obsessed with Palm Springs architecture – it’s my dream to do the Palm Springs door tour one day. We took inspiration from 1960s modernism and Americana, and then applied that to south London. We like to keep everything really fun, so bright, colourful interiors are really important.'
Nikki: 'Our architect is a friend of a friend. They’re a husband and wife team, and they were able to really understand and interpret what we needed from our home. We’ve been burned by builders in past projects, so we were fixed on finding the right people. We found ours through a local recommendation and they’ve been brilliant from start to finish – we were lucky. We had to get planning permission for the extension, and also because the changes at the front were quite radical. We were pleasantly surprised by how open the council and our neighbours were to it all. This row of houses is a little run-down, so I think people were pleased that someone had started doing up one of the properties.'
Nikki: 'All the light is at the back, so we wanted to make the most of that with an extension. We have people round for dinner a lot so we wanted to make sure that, in what’s quite a small footprint of a house, we made the most of the space so we could cram as many people in as possible! We moved the kitchen from the front of the house and added a nook at the back of the open-plan space, which is a cosy space just for us.'
Nikki: 'We wanted something really vibrant and happy in the kitchen. We originally looked at a classic pink and green, but…'
Luke: 'Basically, Nikki had seen too many other people using it, so we went off it! It happened with the countertop as well – we went through loads of custom samples with the team to try and get a unique enough pink.'
Nikki: 'The sliding doors were one of our really big expenses, but they make all the difference – the frames are thin and they let in so much light. The windows in the rest of the house are a cheaper option to make some of the money back. We prioritised the kitchen because it’s where we spend most of our time.'
Luke: 'When it comes to design decisions, a lot of it comes from Nikki, for sure. I’d never think to pay that much attention to a room. She always consults me on things she likes, and then my role is to pare her ideas back a little bit so that we don’t end up with a crazy rainbow kaleidoscope in every room.'
Luke: 'Our architects told us not to scrimp on the things we touch every day. We took their advice and never regretted it. We could have bought light switches for a third of the cost, for example, but they’re great quality with a really tactile feel.'
Nikki: 'The thing that did us really well was finding the right builders. They weren’t the cheapest quote but they were trustworthy and easy to work with. At no point did they say, "No, we can’t do that". Never scrimp and save on your builders – you have to work with them for a really long time!'