SUZIE - AT HOME
Suzie is an upholsterer and decoupage artist. She lives in a gorgeous flat in Tulse Hill, South London. When we asked her how she would define her style Suzie said - 'stuff found in skips’. She was joking, but actually does have lots of amazing things she's found abandoned, and brought back to life. She has a brilliant eye for seeing the potential in unloved furniture and her flat is full of her interesting finds. We had lots of fun exploring Suzie’s home and hearing the stories behind her style.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED HERE?
WHAT FIRST ATTRACTED YOU TO THE FLAT?
Initially, its age. I like the sturdy architecture of an Edwardian property. The communal hall has an original etched coloured glass ceiling, high sash windows and a mahogany winding staircase.
WHAT STATE WAS THE FLAT IN WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT?
It had been tenanted for a few years and had sat on the market vacant for over a year . No one else seemed to see its potential. The bathroom had been 'nineties DIY-ed’ with a mishmash of coloured tiles which were three layers deep in some places. It had lino on the floor and a very grim grey bathroom suite. The kitchen had fallen foul of the same DIY disaster with ill fitting lino plastic coated MDF worktops. The bedroom and drawing room had been dealt a cruel hand with some fairly aggressive wallpaper and were in need of new plaster.
WHAT WORK DID YOU DO TO THE FLAT BEFORE YOU MOVED IN?
I’ve changed everything, except the picture rails and the floor boards. The day I picked up my keys from the estate agents, I walked in and prised the plasterboard off the bedroom walls right back to the original lathe and plaster. In the drawing room I did the same for the exposed brick wall. I worked tirelessly for four months before it was habitable again. I came before work and after work and every spare minute I had. I picked up the bath from Ebay. Its the lion in the flat. He has paws, not claws. I spent time trawling ebay, junk shops and scrap yards to find the two cast iron fireplaces. The one in the bedroom had layers and layers of gloss paint that I stripped one sunny weekend in my parents garden. I have a good character for this sort of thing, I'm thrifty and am willing to put in the effort. I stripped back all the floors and painted them. The kitchen is bespoke. I wanted a different feel to this room. It was the last room completed and I wanted to inject some colour. I love these amber and white vinyl floor tiles with the oak cupboards. The white marble is a lovely thing to own.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM HOME?
I'm not sure I have a dream home. I'd have a few smaller places. I'd love to have a London townhouse with wisteria growing on the front because I am very happy in London. I'd have a small flat in Lisbon. Lisbon is just my cup of tea. Its a place where old stuff and edgy design live bravely together. Of course, I’d have a lofty New York apartment with views and I might like to have a tiny remote cabin by the sea to escape.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR INTERIOR STYLE?
I see the beauty and importance of reviving old stuff. I would not say that I necessarily had a plan for the finished look of these rooms. They just sort of happened but I do like to be sympathetic to the period of the building.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD?
Tulse Hill is in zone 2. Its very small and rather cute with a charm of its own. It is a regeneration area, which is a good thing because the area has been a little neglected for some years. It’s neighboured by Herne Hill, West Norwood and Dulwich.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE IN LONDON?
It changes all the time. I love the Chelsea Physic Gardens for a sunny afternoon and I love to be by the river. Carlysle’s house is just down the road and a real a treasure. The Tank Rooms at The Tate Modern are chilling and powerful.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
Tell us about it/ them? I wouldn't say I’m a collector. I like little things that might otherwise be forgotten or lost. There are a few printers blocks and a number of glass bottles and chipped medicine jars. I go through fazes.
WHAT ARE YOU FAVOURITE PLACES TO SPEND TIME IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD?
There's a little deli round the corner, Beamish and McGlue. Its been there for years and it is a lovely place to pick up some luxury treats or sit and enjoy the homemade cake. Brockwell Park, just round the corner, has a walled garden with benches for thinking.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT LONDON?
I love that London is enchanting. I can see amazing things and appreciate its grandeur or, I can spend time in local areas with vibrant farmers markets and industrious makers and sellers. I am a sociable person. Swanky rooftop bars or lively pubs around the corner, that's what London is to me.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST TREASURED POSSESSION?
A hand painted Victorian demi screen. I bought it in an antiques market to mark something very special in my life.