Design is incredibly personal and I believe that a home should reflect the people who live there.
The interior designer Simone Suss doesn’t do things by halves. When she and her husband Rob, a financier, bought a dilapidated 1930s house in north London eight years ago, they decided to demolish it and rebuild a modern, four-storey property in its place. Planning approval was quickly secured, but the work was delayed and took three long years.
It was worth the wait. The finished house has a sleek, white-walled interior bursting with pops of colour. The wooden flooring was inspired by the Saatchi Gallery and there is some impressive contemporary art on show, but the creations of Izzy, 10, Charlie, eight, and Oliver, six, take pride of place. Above all, this is a family home, with a basement playroom and cinema that is perfect for weekend lounging.
Demolishing the house was a brave decision, ‘The house that originally stood here was literally the ugliest in the neighbourhood! Fortunately, the local conservation committee agreed with us, so we were given approval to knock it down and start again. What really attracted me was the plot itself, which is great. The garden is west facing, so offers beautiful light. What drew me in was that it offered space for a basement filled with natural light, so we rebuilt the house from scratch to realise my vision.
How would you describe your decorating style? ‘I don’t believe in sticking to rules. Some people say you can’t mix genres, but I do, frequently combining modern and historical elements in an interesting way. I like to incorporate playful elements – whether it’s art or a piece of furniture – and unusual textiles.’
You’ve used strong pops of colour throughout the house. What do you think they bring? ‘Colour can affect how people feel and add interest to a space. For example, a bedroom in cool blues and greys is very calming. I especially love dark blue and have incorporated it into many interiors, including our movie room. Inky colours have become a new neutral, but you can use them in unexpected ways. We often do whole rooms in dark blue – ceilings, woodwork, everything.’
Do you have a favourite room in the house? ‘I never get bored of our marble bathroom. I went to hundreds of marble yards while I was heavily pregnant with Oliver, looking for the perfect pieces. It became a bit of an obsession. I also love our kitchen, with its colourful Livia Marin mural. It really is the heart of our home and where we spend most of our time.’
How do visitors react to the interior? ‘I’m sure it’s not to everyone’s taste, but I’ve had plenty of positive feedback – design is incredibly personal and I believe a home should reflect the people who live there. Above all, it’s a home for my family and I made sure to factor in plenty of space to enjoy together.’
Your tips for using art in a home? ‘Again, art is very personal, so go with your gut. If you fall in love with something, or a piece has sentimental value, then why not make it a central part of your home? Put it somewhere prominent so that you can enjoy it every day. We often design entire schemes around a client’s favourite piece of art.’
What is your favourite design piece? ‘Goodness, there are so many. The pink table by Yves Klein in the living room is something I never tire of look-ing at. I love a good Chesterfield couch – updated in a fresh fabric – and I keep returning to Anglepoise lights. They’re a modern classic.’
How was decorating your own home different to working with clients? ‘I found it much more difficult – and emotional. I’m aware of all of the different finishes and alternatives, and I’m always searching for perfection. Rob and I had a few heated debates. Fortunately, there’s always a point where my family makes me step back and appreciate things.’