Katie Shillingford home tour

Back in the Spring, film photographer Katharine Peachey and I visited the East London home of one of my oldest friends, Katie Shillingford, who lives with her music producer husband, Alex Dromgoole, and two year old daughter, Mila. Katie and I went to school together and then she went on to study at Central Saint Martins and Camberwell College of Arts. At this point, it was very clear that she was headed for an incredibly successful career in the fashion world, which now seems like an understatement. The current Fashion Director at Another magazine and the contributing Senior Fashion Editor at Dazed and Confused magazine: Katie’s fashion stylist skills are just extraordinary.

As a teenager and student, I always admired Katie’s ability to turn her bedroom into an eclectic and super cool interior, bursting at the seams with clothes, curios, pictures, photos, ornaments and furniture. Today, however, Katie and Alex have pared their style right back; almost an antidote to the crazy, hectic schedules they both manage. In Katie’s own words: “Over time my taste has refined, life has got really hectic and full, and so I don’t want to surround myself with all that stuff.”

Since Katharine shot their home, the couple have bought and moved to a huge barn project in the countryside, so when we visited they were getting ready to move, and they don’t feel that they ever really “finished off” their home, after doing an extensive renovation of the period property: “Mila arrived, our jobs took over and we never got round to styling it in the way that we had planned. I haven’t even put any pictures up since I hung the first one incorrectly,” jokes Alex.

Now that they are moving on, Katie still likes the idea of keeping the beautiful blank canvas that they did create in their London home: “I like to have a clear canvas so I can add the things that I love. The inside of a home naturally evolves and that’s why we kept it white so we could add to it over time.” The couple chose grey as a “neutral highlight” to emphasise the wonderful period features throughout their home because that was the colour Katie loved during that particular fashion season. Her own beautiful wedding dress designed by Gareth Pugh, which is currently exhibited in the V&A’s Wedding Dresses show, was pale grey.

When we sit down together to talk about their home – on the sofa I remember so well from Katie’s parents’ home – it is very clear that the couple take an equal part in the decision making process: “Katie panics about the decisions and I make the decisions,” states Alex. “But Alex has to agree with me,” Katie quickly interjects. Sounds familiar to me. They reel off a list of their favourite interiors shops that they frequent: Past Caring, Chase and Sorrenson, Fandango, SCP, as well as trawling eBay and searching for 1930’s Art Deco or mid-century furniture. So much in their home has a memory attached, which reflects Katie’s work as a stylist; every shoot begins with a story: “I like things for what they are or for what they have meant to us.”

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

The colour grey is a neutral highlight throughout the house as that was Katie’s favourite colour that season. It brings cohesion to the whole home, perfect for the couple’s lovely pieces to shine.  The space is simply furnished with furniture that has a story to it, which reflects Katie’s work as a very successful fashion stylist.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

The sofa on the left was in Katie’s family home and they had it recovered: “I have so many memories of home, sitting on this sofa, watching TV, being with friends or family.”

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

The newspaper cutting on the mantelpiece was a wedding present: “I wanted to get married by the time I was 30 so we married on July 29th and I turned 30 the next day. Diana and Charles married on the same date.” In the fireplace sits a present from Katie’s best friend and British designer, Gareth Pugh. Before Mila’s birth, a baby shower was planned, which never actually happened as she arrived a bit early. However, Gareth made this nappy cake for Katie (underneath the dress is a stack of nappies). It’s perhaps a bit more extravagant than your average nappy cake as the dress, made by Gareth, is a replica of one of his designs from that season’s dress collection.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

The gorgeous lamp is from one of the couple’s favourite shops, Past Caring. Sitting next to it is their wedding picture – Katie’s wedding dress, designed by Gareth Pugh, is now showing in the V&A.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

The desk was a good eBay find as it fits perfectly in this alcove. They usually search for Art Deco or mid-century furniture on eBay.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

Alex’s favourite piece in the house is this kitchen bench made out of scaffold planks. They completely reconfigured these rooms to make one large kitchen and sitting room when they did the renovation works.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

Another reason the couple furnished their home so simply is that they quickly realised when they had Mila, that nothing was safe from her little hands: “The bedside table was cleared of anything the moment she was old enough to grab stuff.” They bought the bedspread in Laos, where they went on their honeymoon.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

Katie and Alex both said that they like to change their furniture to meet their current needs. They reupholstered this beautiful piece of family furniture that sits under their bedroom window.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

When they began the renovation works, Alex was so pleased when they ripped out the ensuite, that was previously in the corner of their bedroom, as they exposed this brick on the back wall.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

When I ask Katie what she thinks makes a beautiful interior, she very quickly responds that it’s all about the details like the taps, radiators, light switches: “Taps were a really big thing for us.” These taps are from Lefroy Brooks.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

“We were worried about having a bath in the bedroom but it has worked out really well and I love it.  It’s also great with a baby as there is so much space to bathe her,” Katie explains.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

The pretty pink chair in the bedroom was Alex’s grandmother’s, which he painted to help restore it.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

Mila’s lovely nursery.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

Mid-century furniture works perfectly to create a stylish, child-friendly space.

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

London home of Katie Shillingford, Fashion Editor Dazed and Confused magazine | Apartment Apothecary

Katie on their roof terrace.

A special thank you to Katharine for these beautiful medium format film photographs – be sure to check out more of her beautiful interiors shoots. Thank you to Katie and Alex, too, for a lovely Sunday morning spent with them. As they move on and away from this, their first family home, they want to take with them what they have learnt from this project and the inspiration that came from the fifteenth century farmhouse in France, where Alex proposed to Katie. I can not wait to see the results.

Katy x

 

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5 Comments

  1. em 16th September 2014 / 10:50 am

    Wow, these shots are just stunning. Love them and the house is gorgeous too. x

  2. Sarah 16th September 2014 / 11:18 am

    I love the grey that runs through the house and picks out the period features. Some gorgeous furniture too – very simple and beautiful.

  3. Helene 16th September 2014 / 12:33 pm

    Oh wow! How sleek and stylish and amazing photos, it’s all so understated, which I love. Very inspiring x

  4. Emma Harris 16th September 2014 / 8:14 pm

    It’s lovely, so serene, and I have serious desk envy! Hope they let you shoot the barn sometime xx

  5. Sarah~Lou 29th September 2014 / 10:39 am

    Such a beautiful home! I love the kitchen and all the little detail shots x

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