The Closets in This Designer’s Home Had a Big Wallpaper Moment Coming for Them
They only look hand-painted.
Published Dec 15, 2023 1:10 AM
We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.
Natalie Tredgett’s southwest London home has been full of color since the day she bought the place 11 years ago. But it wasn’t until just before the pandemic hit that the Canadian interior designer really pushed the design envelope. “Through joinery and specialist finishes, I feel like I’ve really found my voice,” says Tredgett, who launched her design studio in 2012 after four years training under legendary British decorator Nicky Haslam. In her home, patterns adorn every surface of soft furnishings and wallpapers sneakily hide doors, and she believes rooms that are painted look better when they’re fully drenched. “I like the idea of enveloping a space and really going for it,” she adds.
In the airy garden room (formerly a conservatory) where Tredgett, her husband, and their three teenage children enjoy reading or catching up over predinner snacks, she wanted to echo the green scenes outside. Inspired by a photo of a historic property in France that was decked out in native floral shapes, she set about creating similar silhouettes of her own with Kraft paper. “Some people arrange flowers in their home, but I really love cutting paper; it’s something I’ve always done,” she explains. Once she’d found the right composition, she made a template and cut out the designs from rolls of remnant vinyl and stuck them to the walls. The original image and point of reference was always easy to reference—it serves as her laptop screen saver. “The large scale is something I couldn’t find in a wallpaper. I know it’s busy, but it works,” she explains.
There’s not a hue Tredgett shies away from, but she does have favorite combinations, like purple and orange—the star color combo in her small library. “This space was begging for some warmth,” she says. The bookshelves are simple boxes slotted into the millwork, which pop thanks to a slick of peachy gloss paint. The desk shared by all the family looks onto a calmer blue dining room, where a rainbow-hued vintage metal table brings energy to meals. “I walked into an antiques shop where it was being used as a desk. It wasn’t for sale [at the time], but the moment it was, I was like: I’m having it!” she recalls.
Amid these kaleidoscopic statements, the kitchen is a white, sober affair. “It’s essentially a glorified corridor, because I wanted more square footage to go toward [the] living spaces,” explains Tredgett. “I left it quite plain so that when you walk through it, you don’t take much notice of it.” Look up, though, and you can’t fail to notice the pink ceiling and bulbous coving, which was cast from actual tennis balls—a trick picked up from her former boss. “Nicky is the master of taking tradition and twisting it. I stole this idea from him because it’s so playful and feels modern,” she says.
Upstairs in Tredgett’s bedroom (“The only space that’s actually mine,” she jokes), the watercolor-esque compositions on the walls appear hand-painted but are actually wallpapered murals. It’s another reason why the designer opts for the plainest of built-ins: “Millwork can quickly become very expensive, and while it’s always worth it, you can find other clever ways of elevating simple cabinets.” In the study–slash–guest room, the standout feature is a smart solution she’s often recommended to clients in rentals who desire decorative wall finishes. MDF boards covered in wallpaper are hung on to the walls with cleated battens. “This room didn’t warrant bespoke paneling, and this is a Lego-like approach that can be moved from house to house,” she explains.
Up one floor, in the attic, Tredgett’s daughters’ rooms are decked in colors of their own choosing. The blues, lilacs, and greens punctuating Zoe’s room were inspired by the patchwork quilt that now stands in the place of a headboard (another savvy trick to save on the expense of a custom creation). “The color combination is very her; she even dresses like that!” says Tredgett.
While their rooms are rarely ever this serene, her hack for making them appear orderly centers on a well-made bed: “The minute you sleep in fresh sheets, they become crumpled, so I tuck washable cotton matelassé fabrics at the foot of the beds. Even when there are clothes on the floor, the room looks neat and tidy.” That’s a tip the parent of any teenager can get on board with.