I’m uncensored in the way I choose pieces and I’m very instinctive and impulsive. The fabrics dictate to me how I design my dresses and I design my interiors the same way, starting with a material or piece that inspires me.
Kate Halfpenny and James Lee Duffy’s North London mews house is the third mews house that the couple have renovated and they have transformed it into a quirky home full of personality that doubles as both home and studio for them both. Kate, a bridal wear designer and celebrity stylist who started her career working for Vivienne Westwood before launching her own label, and James, an art director and graphic designer, have combined their collection of vintage and antique furniture and collectibles with graphic art and contemporary design to create a cosy and stylish live-work space.
Kate and James bought the house while living at the other end of the street in another mews house that they had also renovated. Kate was looking for another project and wanted a home that could double as a studio as well as somewhere comfortable for her celebrity clients to visit for consultations. The house ticked all the boxes and clients including Kate Moss, Emilia Fox, Erin O’Connor and Daisy Lowe visit Kate at home for fittings. James also works from home and so it was essential that the couple’s new house provided enough space for them both to have studios that would nurture their creativity.
The house needed completely gutting and renovating when the couple moved in. Kate and James removed the cheap laminate floors and pine fittings on the ground floor, and polished the foundation concrete, replacing frosted glass partitions by the front door with antique metal trellis that Kate had shipped from Los Angeles. Kate created mood boards for the kitchen at the rear of the house and installed fresh white units and antique-style tiles and fittings with a range cooker at its heart. The open plan dining and living room is home to a collection of Kate’s bridal designs and is filled with quirky vintage lighting and pictures, comfortable buttoned chesterfield sofas and a large vintage dining table over which hangs a vintage chandelier.
James’s studio is on the top floor, where he works on designs for clients including Nintendo and Coca Cola as well as the cult art-zine he founded, Pavement Licker. James’s space is distinctly masculine and reflects his love of popular culture, graphics and street art. Two vintage metal desks provide plenty of work space while rows of shelving provide space to display his collection of design books, magazines, artworks and collectible toys. James has kept a distinctly utilitarian feel in this room, choosing a refurbished industrial pendant light and vintage desk chairs to complete the look.
The master bedroom and its dramatic black shower room provide a relaxing space for Kate and James to retreat to when they are not working. Kate has decorated with her trademark flair and has used strong dark colours in the bedroom and bathrooms, with layered textiles on the bed and antique armoires providing storage. “I’m uncensored in the way I choose pieces and I’m very instinctive and impulsive,” says Kate. “The fabrics dictate to me how I design my dresses and I design my interiors the same way, starting with a material or piece that inspires me.”