Lemon yellow accents bring a sense of fun to Judith and Dave Jackson-Merrick’s chic and minimalist style
The Sixties are renowned for bright colours and bold patterns, and where better to recapture that aesthetic than in a property from the same period? Happily, this London home is not a slavish shrine to the era, but rather a gentle homage with its own unique design touches.
“We wanted to keep the look fresh, modern and uncluttered,” says Judith Jackson-Merrick. “It was important not to create a pastiche of the Sixties. We like Nordic style, too, so we’ve coupled retro touches with carefully selected modern pieces that fit with the style and age of the house.”
Influenced by the work of John Pawson – an architectural designer who does a lot of clean, streamlined, all-white interiors – Judith and her husband Dave chose a mostly white aesthetic, using a bright yellow as the sole accent colour throughout to provide interest and make key features pop.
In order to give their home a more personal twist, Judith and Dave, a structural engineer, designed and made some of the furniture themselves. Dave fitted the kitchen, adding some patterned door fronts to drawers and cupboards, and created a fold-out bench to provide extra seating around the dining area. The parquet-topped, steel-and-glass coffee table is another Jackson-Merrick design, this time calling on the skills of a local steel fabricator, who also made the couple’s new steel-framed staircase. “We wanted an open stairwell that would allow more light to travel between the floors,” explains Dave. “Its balustrade is powder-coated in our favourite industrial grey and the wooden sapele treads are bolted into the wall using hidden fixings, giving the impression that the stairs are floating.”
It’s all a far cry from the decor that confronted the couple when they first moved in. “There was lots of flowery wallpaper in the sitting room and raised-pattern Anaglypta wallpaper in the hall,”
says Judith. “It reminded me of my grandparents’ house – as a child I’d try to pop the raised bits with my thumb!”
Early on in the redecorating, the couple had a lovely surprise when they tugged back the sitting room carpet to discover the original Sixties sapele parquet floor still underneath. “It was the icing on the cake,” says Judith. “It had to be refurbished though, as it was pretty trashed.”
Today, the open-plan living area flows from the kitchen into a dining area flanked by bold, lemon-yellow walls. “The colour is 1971 Yellow – a special edition by Crown. It took us ages to find the right shade. We’ve had toughened glass splashbacks made-to-match to carry the colour into the kitchen.”
The sofa was another lucky find. “We discovered that modern-day curved and corner sofas are all enormous and would look too big in our sitting area,” says Judith. “We were thrilled when we found this small-scale version in a local antiques shop. It’s a Seventies modular sofa by Herman Miller. We had it reupholstered in a hard-wearing grey fabric to give it a new lease of life.”
Down on the basement level, the couple have turned the old garage into a master suite. “As the ceiling isn’t very high down there, we chose to get a low Japanese bed, which gives the impression of extra height,” says Dave. “We kept the decor simple, painting the walls white, fitting commercial LED spotlights into the ceiling and adding open shelving around the chimney breast. “To avoid cluttering up the walls, we chose not to add the usual architrave around the doors or skirting boards. Instead, we went for a simple shadow gap at the foot of the walls. This has given us a cleaner, more streamlined finish.”
It’s clear that this elegant suburban home is enjoying a style renaissance at the hands of two interiors enthusiasts. “Our house is small and understated from the front,” says Judith. “But thanks to the large picture windows in each room, it’s still light and spacious, and the simple floor plan works for us. By building on these attributes, we’ve been able to achieve an effective and stylish design that really feels like home.”
- This feature originally appeared in 25 Beautiful Homes with photography by Colin Poole