Pale and interesting

The first thing I want to ask about the house I am featuring today is: Why is it not mine? No, seriously, why?

This Victorian terraced house is in Brixton, South West London, and it is used for photoshoots and filming. I love so much about this house: the colour palette, the interesting furniture, the period features and the simplicity of it all. If I lived here I would want to inject a bit more personality and, of course, there would be more ‘stuff’. However, what I think the owners have achieved is to show that neutral does not have to be boring, if you follow a few rules…

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

The house has stripped and painted floorboards throughout, which creates a fresh, clean feel. It also means the neutral blue palette used in this room stands out. By painting the chairs a different tone of blue adds a layer of interest and colour. The blue is also picked up in the antique Burleigh platters and the ticking stripe of the armchairs. None of these pieces are ‘matching’ so even though they are the same colour it does not look generic. This is an important rule in my book: don’t ‘match’ but combine pieces from different periods and eras with a similar colour palette. This way your colour scheme can remain neutral, yet it becomes interesting.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

By making the most of all the period features in this home they have retained a lot of character even though they have minimal furniture and belongings.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

They have used a different tone of blue/green in another reception room, which adds interest even though it is still very neutral. Another trick for adding character to such a simple interior is by personalising furniture and not buying generic pieces. For example, this sofa has different coloured seat cushions with a variety of scatter cushions, none matching but all sticking with a subtle colour scheme. They tie in with a customised lamp.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

These colourless antique apothecary bottles stand out in such a simple room and add character as they are unique pieces. A mass produced vase in this room would make no such statement.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

This chair has been chosen carefully; if it were brand new and perfectly upholstered it would look bland against the neutral wall colour.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

This piano and chair strike a contrast against the white, blues and greens. A few statements like this add a focus to a room, which is needed when using such a simple scheme otherwise there is nothing to provoke curiosity.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Painting the wood-work the same colour as the walls creates an unusual effect.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

In this room they have made the lovely bay window and fireplace the focus by keeping everything else neutral. However, the mat and baskets add contrast to the stark white so it does not become too dull. Although, if it were my house, I would definitely want some artwork up on those walls and more personal touches.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Accessories, like the mirror, lamp, jugs and tray, added to this room are all white but they are different shapes, sizes and textures so they add interest.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

A hint of the colours used in the other reception rooms.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

This Ercol sofa is very simple and plain but by adding a blanket and mis-matched cushions it softens the stark white of the walls and floor.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

The kitchen builds on the colours used elsewhere in the house and the hard, clean lines are softened by using open-shelving and warm wood.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Although sparse, every piece of furniture and accessory they have chosen to use is from a different era so it does not look boring.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Here the fireplace, alcoves, window and dimensions of this period house can speak for themselves, rather than colour.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Again, they have chosen an old sofa and covered it themselves so it adds charm to this bright, white room.

Pastel interior of London Victorian terrace

Such a pretty fireplace and carefully chosen ornaments are the focal point here against the neutral colour scheme.


What do you think? White and boring or pale and interesting? I think the neutral, minimal style has allowed beautiful period features and lovely furniture speak for themselves. I’m totally jealous.


Photographs courtesy of Shoot Factory.





  1. Jo
    2nd May 2013 / 6:49 am

    I also love it. Sigh. Envy.

    • katy
      2nd May 2013 / 6:52 am

      Glad you’re with me, Jo! Maybe we could buy it together…

  2. henrietta pretty
    2nd May 2013 / 7:27 pm

    Umm, where’s the STUFF? You know, the stuff that makes a house a home? It’s a beautiful blank canvas, but I’d want to add some life in there myself. sorry to say it, but a bit of personality. And clearly the owners don’t have kids. and judging from the dresser, they don’t eat either. that dresser actually scared me.


    • katy
      2nd May 2013 / 8:37 pm

      Ha! I know, I said exactly the same in the post: more stuff and more personality needed. What a nice canvas though.

  3. lino
    2nd May 2013 / 10:43 pm

    Pale and interesting for sure….where are the electrical cables?? I know how you love those!

  4. Jane
    3rd May 2013 / 6:34 pm

    Hello there – first time commenting so hope it works! The house belongs to Jane Cumberbatch, style guru, author of many home books, website and blog at, and my interiors hero :o) these shots are for a location agency so are the blank canvas that prospective clients require; however, look inside Jane’s books and press articles and you will see a different house, a lived-in home for a couple with 3 children and a dog and a cat I think, a place filled with flowers and food and people and practicality, for example, all the pale linens and rugs are regularly thrown in the washer. I love her style and ideas and they have been a huge inspiration to me – of course not everyone will like the style, even the normal-everyday-lived-in look not the cleaned-within-an-inch-of-its-life-please-hire-my-house-for-your-shoot look, but I love it!

    • katy
      3rd May 2013 / 9:06 pm

      Hello, Jane. Thanks for this info, just went on the website and looked at the houses….amazing! Might have to buy the book. I’ve got a serious case of house envy 🙂

      • Jane
        3rd May 2013 / 9:45 pm

        Hi Katy I originally picked up the Pure Style book in my local charity shop about 10 years ago and loved it – got a couple more now and just ordered the cook book and the sewing book this week – oops! – it’s the emphasis on simplicity, texture, colour, flavour etc that so appeals to me rather than new and trendy, although this is now becoming trendy! I’m also enjoying your blog – the name is fab and caught my attention – hope you’re enjoying it too.

        • katy
          4th May 2013 / 7:18 am

          There’s a sewing book too? Oh dear, I can foresee some spending going on today. I totally agree with you that new and trendy is not always appealing; I like seeing how my taste changes over time, which is influenced by many different things. Glad you’re enjoying the blog – I LOVE doing it. Happy, long weekend!

    • henrietta pretty
      7th May 2013 / 5:12 pm

      well thank god for that 🙂

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