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A Speedy Renovation in London Honors the Past with Color & Texture

by Garrett Fleming

A Speedy Renovation in London Honors Its Owner’s Her-story, Design*Sponge

When I was a child, and particularly during the summer, time dripped by. The southern sun seemingly hung at its highest for hours and hours, and one day felt like an eternity. As the warm rays crisped our necks, my friends and I would lazily weave our bikes around our cul-de-sac until we collapsed in a salty swoosh beneath my family’s pine trees. There we’d sit blissfully unaware that one day we’d lose hold of our tether to time, and it would start slipping through our fingers fast enough to burn.

While I sometimes miss the steady pace of the past, I’ll admit the recent ramp-up has taught me a thing or two about making the most of my time and not resting on my laurels. While I’ve done my best, I’ve got nothing on hard workers like . In just six months she’s fully renovated this four-bedroom, three-floor home in south London, all while living inside with her husband and three children and running her own design business.

In order to master her 1870s-era Victorian, Yoko treated herself like one of her own clients. This meant living in the home for a year before making any major design decisions. The technique helped inform her of both the structure’s ins and outs as well as how her family would use the space. Only once she’d gathered all of this intel would she be fully ready to rumble.

As soon as planning was complete, the next six months consisted of a firestorm of renovations. The bathroom’s carpet was ripped out, intricate tile was installed in the foyer, some walls were repainted and others were totally knocked down. The amount of work Yoko spearheaded in such a short time is mind-boggling. Not only that, but the quality of her work is stunning. Each detail has been planned and every corner has been thoughtfully curated.

Yoko’s mindful approach to decor not only keeps her home from looking like every other one on the block, but has turned it into an intimate homage to her life and experiences. In her daughter’s room, for example, she’s incorporated ancient Chinese ink techniques to create a stunning wall mural. And nods to her own upbringing in Japan and her time spent in Singapore have found their way into the living room’s look. “I wanted to create a house that tells our story,” Yoko says. Without a doubt, she’s done just that. Scroll down for more, and enjoy! 

Photography by

Image above: The black steel doors were chosen for how well they frame the beautiful garden and apple tree out back. The sink is made of solid, untreated brass. It’s only been in the home for a few months, but it’s already developed a beautiful patina.

A Speedy Renovation in London Honors Its Owner’s Her-story, Design*Sponge
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Yoko grew up in a home overgrown with greenery, bursting with rattan and doused in 1970s accents. "My mum called each plant by a nickname. I used to be ashamed as [our home's style] was so different from my friends’ house[s]. Now I look back and think it must have been the coolest house in the neighborhood," she says. In honor of her mother's fearless look, Yoko has dotted her own space with color and all manner of plant life.
A Speedy Renovation in London Honors Its Owner’s Her-story, Design*Sponge
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In order to blur the lines between indoors and out, Yoko had the dining room's interior wall outfitted in brick similar to that of the garden.
A Speedy Renovation in London Honors Its Owner’s Her-story, Design*Sponge
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The base of the kitchen cabinetry came from IKEA, but Yoko put her own spin on the look by customizing the cabinet fronts, drawers and the recessed area where the stove sits.
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Andrew and the kiddos – Alex, Richard and Sakura – prep dough for cinnamon buns.
A Speedy Renovation in London Honors Its Owner’s Her-story, Design*Sponge
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The fireplace's Moroccan tile facade was inspired by Yoko's collection of blue Bitossi Rimini pottery.
A Speedy Renovation in London Honors Its Owner’s Her-story, Design*Sponge
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Yoko covered the entryway's walls in traditional, Japanese, clay plaster. The technique adds dimension to the space and serves as a fond reminder of her roots.
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The tint of the vintage Turkish rug in Sakura's room inspired the look of the youngster's hideaway. Yoko says the wallpaper "uses the technique of Chinese ink painting."
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Throughout her career, Yoko has learned the art of making things look effortless. She says all it takes is clever planning. The layout of the guest bathroom's tilework, for example, looks haphazard but went through many iterations. In order to nail the placement of its 11 designs, Yoko had the builders lay it on the floor for her to approve and tweak before installing it.
A Speedy Renovation in London Honors Its Owner’s Her-story, Design*Sponge
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The great outdoors served as inspiration for the design of both the boys' room and Sakura's room. Yoko hoped the spaces' minimalist, calming designs would pacify her rambunctious kiddos, but they're still the lively children they've always been.
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The first item Yoko chose for her boys' bedroom were their bunk beds. She then shopped for pieces that would complement them in both size and style.
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Black accents are used sparingly throughout the home, except for here in Yoko's home office. This space uses a smattering of French antiques in the rich hue to make the home's boldest statement.
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Colorful accessories infuse a touch of bohemia into the emotive room.
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Yoko and Andrew's bedroom is very bright thanks to its windows. To balance out the room's brilliant lighting and create a "cocoon effect," Yoko painted the walls a deep blue. The pair also demolished the walls between the bathroom and bedroom and replaced them with glass dividers to make them both feel larger.
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Granite side tables and brass lamps add "a splash of glamour" to the otherwise muted space.
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The family bathroom's tile are handmade, so no two are exactly alike.
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"What I love most about our home is... how it brings my family together." – Yoko Kloeden
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Yoko and Andrew's home is a 1870s-era Victorian, but the couple has given the three-story stunner a modern, streamlined makeover over the past two years.

Source List

Dining
Table –
Chairs – Eames DCM
Children’s chairs –
Chandelier –

Kitchen
Cabinetry –
Cabinetry paint –
Pendant lights –
Stools –

Living
Sofa –
Chimney tile –
Armchairs, coffee table, chandelier – antiques

Entryway
Pendant light –
Stair runner –
Tiles –

Girl’s Room
Paint–
Bed –
Pendant light –
Wallpaper –
Rug – vintage

Guest Bathroom
Pendant light –

Boys’ Room
Bunk bed –
Pendant light –
Wall units at bed side – IKEA
Bedside lights –
Wallpaper –
Rug – vintage

Home Office
Paint –
Bookcases – Yoko Kloeden Design
Chandelier, mirror – antiques
Desk –
Chair – Cherner
Floor lamp –
Rug – vintage

Master bedroom
Paint –
Bed – Sofa
Bed fabric –
Curtain fabric –
Bedside table –
Bedside lamp – Gubi

Family Bathroom
Tiles –
Pale grey tiles – Mandarin Stone
Wall lights –

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Comments

  • Ahhh… What a calming balm to the senses this home is. This type of feature is why I keep a close and constant eye on Design Sponge. I was especially glad to be reminded of at least one important tip of advice here: To not rush to design a home but to live in it a while and let the space advise.

  • This is really lovely, all of it. What a thoughtful renovation. We also have a Victorian home with modern renovations, so I’m always drawn to these projects. I love the connection to the garden, and those children’s rooms are really beautiful.

  • Wow, what an interesting and inspiring home. Love the kitchen with bright colors and the roof-windows giving such fantastic light. Truly a home that stands out.

    Best
    Thomas

  • Completely in awe of this transformation.. I’d love to see before pictures of the house. I love Yoko’s aesthetics and her story when she grew up being ashamed of her home, but later realised it was probably the coolest house in her neighbourhood.. amazing! I love how she lived in the house for at least a year to get to know the place and then started renovations. Well done! In six months… I’m impressed. This is one of those houses that isn’t over styled and styled into perfection.. it’s just.. so beautiful and so her.

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