At Home With… Pandora Taylor
Interior designer Pandora Taylor speaks to C&TH about transforming her south west London Victorian terrace. Her advice? Don’t be too precious, find your happy colours, and keep a sketchbook by your bed, because your most creative ideas could come at night.
At Home With … Pandora Taylor
The windows were rotten and falling apart and we didn’t have any central heating. Architecturally it was there, and we wanted to keep the bare bones as much as possible. We bought our home, a Victorian terraced house at the start of 2019, and it was a refurb for nine months, and then we moved in, and then obviously Covid hit.
It’s not the sort of property I’m used to where everything’s perfect. It’s very rustic around the edges, but I like it like that. When you are an interior designer and when you look for a house, you are looking for a project. We just stumbled across this place and it was absolutely perfect, because it hadn’t been touched in so long. There were so many beautiful original features, we’ve still got the original shutters, bay windows, cornicing and floorboards that it was built with.
My process begins with space planning. I start with loads of iterations, of things like where you’d put the table, the wardrobes, and how that would affect the space. I do that over a couple of weeks. After that, I set parameters for myself, where I look at the type of furniture I’m going to use in that space. From there, my process is mining my sample library. I kick out all the things I love and the things that speak to me, like textures and fabrics and different joinery samples and then there’s this wonderful moment where suddenly it starts telling a story.
I grew up in Georgian and Victorian old properties when I was younger. Without knowing it, I think I’ll always have it as my base knowledge and influence. One thing I love is unusual mid-century pieces of vintage furniture. One of my favourite pieces of the house actually is the dining chairs, which are made of saddle leather. I’m always looking for that balance of something unusual and striking, but ultimately it’s also got to work.
I can’t bear to paint walls white. There’s just so many beautiful colours out there. I think colour speaks to people when they walk into a room. You’re immediately put into a good mood; it elevates how we feel. People are scared to use it but it is happy-making.
Blue is my happy colour. For me, blue is my neutral, blue is my white, for which everything else can go on top. I’ve definitely grown much more into green, there are so many blue-green combinations you can do. So in my living room, there’s this woodland vibe to it, almost mossy. I have a real aversion to what you might call fake, overly strong, saturated colours. All the colours I use have a soft undertone; they aren’t shouting at you.
Home for me is where you are totally autonomous. You have the ability to completely surround yourself with the things you love and create that feeling of joy. Ultimately, your home should be your happy place, and it should only have the things in it that make you happy.
Unexpected furniture pieces dominate each room. In the living room, the main furniture piece is this big mid-century inspired sofa that I designed. And it dominates the room by the way it curves to create this sort of womb like area in the living room. I didn’t want to create an L shape, because I didn’t want it where you just faced the TV, because the kitchen is connected. I wanted it to shape the way you live in the space and the way you’re going to interact with people. Things like the headboards in the bedrooms are dominating too; they are the focal point of the room as they are quite unusual.
The bubble headboard came to me in a dream. During the day, when I’m at a screen and I find it hard to be totally creative. I think most of my creativity comes when I’m surrounded by fabrics, and it’s like a canvas. So at night, you get into bed and your brain has basically been thinking about all these things in the background, and it’s only when everything else is quiet and you’ve got no other stimuli. Suddenly I find images come to me fully formed. So I now have to have a sketchbook, I don’t have the light on, I just sketch in the dark as it’s just scribbling out what’s in your head rather than trying to create a precise drawing.
See more of Pandora’s interiors at pandorataylor.co.uk
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