Get inspired by unique homes – Nina Litchfield
› Chairs bough at an auction. The George smith sofa is covered in Schumacher's Madeleine Velvet.
Photographer Rebecca Reid
Designer Nina Litchfield has brought the influences of her Brazilian roots and German upbringing to her house in Notting Hill, in which her strong and distinctive look is enlivened with an elegant touch. We got a glimpse of her bold, colourful yet very timeless house in west London where she lives with her husband and their three children. It was during her own house renovation that she met Blanca Pérez González and Nina Litchfield Studios was born.
Tell us about your home
My home is an old Victorian house in Notting Hill. It is a terraced house and we bought it when I was pregnant with my second child in 2012. The house was very different then from what it is today. It had been divided into flats. The family before us had converted it into two flats. One flat in the lower ground and a maisonette in the remaining three floors.
My husband loved the house from day one, I felt it needed a lot of work! He saw the potential and felt that the house would give us what we needed after the conversion. We did minimal works to move in (paint walls and strip old carpet and painting the floors without doing any structural works) as we maxed out the budget by buying the house. Two years after living there we started the process of finding an architect and doing planning applications to convert the house into our dream home. Another two years later we moved out and the work started. Construction went on for two years before we could move back into the house with a new family member! It was a very busy time in our life!
In my house I tried to create harmony with all different influences running through it.
In what way does your personality reflect your home?
I love entertaining and bring people happy! I believe that London can be quite grey and miserable at times and I feel we spend so much time in our homes (even before covid), thus I wanted my house to lift my spirits and wrap me up in cosines on the days I feel down.
I wanted my house to be warm and inviting. In this broader sense I believe that the house reflects me and I believe that we have achieved that. The lower ground which houses the kitchen and the playroom is very inviting and playful. I wanted to see something different that still felt timeless. This is why I painted my kitchen cupboards blue and used a very colorful wallpaper with birds, butterflies and flowers. I wanted to bring in the garden and make the kitchen feel less like a kitchen, but like a room to hang out in and entertain aside from cooking and gathering the family.
The living room is much calmer, and in my point of view cleaner. The walls are white and filled with art that is very meaningful to me. On the fireplace the center piece is a beautiful photograph by my talented friend and artist Anna Skladmann. This piece was chosen before anything else in that room. The flowers are tropical and remind me of my native Brazil.
The library that is adjacent to the living room also functions as an office for my husband, it is painted in a moody dark green with moss colored grass cloth wallpaper. It makes the room feel more masculine and cosy in the evenings or afternoons when its dark outside at 4 pm. I wanted to an extent embrace the darkness and not fight it.
The whole house feels very versatile and multi-faceted, its actually filled with contrast and opposites which I feel reflect me as my Brazilian and my German sides are in constant clash! In my house I tried to create harmony with all these different influences running through it.
‹ A fifties Scandinavian desk from Designers Guild, ‘Clam’ armchair by Philip Arctander. Limestone fireplace from Arbon Interiors
›What is your idea of a home?
I think a home needs to be welcoming, cosy and represent the people that live in it. I like homes that when you walk in you feel the people that live there. Wherever you look there is something new to discover that brings you closer to undressing who they are. I love seeing photo frames around the house or in the guest loo so you can see wonderful happy moments and different family members you didn’t know. A home should feel relaxed and not staged. It needs to be lived in! I like when things are not perfect and "where they should be”. I love seeing my friends’ houses and dickering little things about them that I didn't know before.
In my opinion a home should be cosy and inviting and make people feel at ease. It shouldn’t be too contrived or perfect, just like we humans aren’t. To a certain extent I believe that a home is never finished and evolves through the years. You travel and ad things that have meaning to you or gifts that other have brought to you.
In my opinion a home should be cosy and inviting and make people feel at ease. It shouldn’t be too contrived or perfect, just like we humans aren’t.
›Your favourite part of your home??
My bedroom is my favourite space in my home. It’s my little sanctuary! To me it feels very calming and I love sitting by the window glancing out on the street and making phone calls. I get the afternoon sun and its really wonderful on a sunny day. On the same floor you have my closet and master bathroom and I love the whole floor to be honest. My closet is also so special as I created a space where there was none and made the room smaller to have a cupboard free bedroom. It works as a treat!
Then you have the master bathroom which is my dream come true. Two sinks separate the shower and bath plus a separate loo cubical was the ultimate luxury. Especially after sharing a bathroom with the kids for four years before that. So yes I love my master suite! That was a big game changer, it’s a wonderful very private space now!
› Cabinetry in 'Garter Blue' by Edward Bulmer Natural Paint, restored and repolished warehouse lights, bought from Hatchwell Antiques at Battersea Antiques fair.
› How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I believe that our aesthetic at NLS is timeless. Somehow this is one of the most important words. We believe that the bones and structure of most houses we work with will always have a classic/timeless feel. We don’t believe in trends. Apart from that it's made out of many layers.
›What has shaped your interior style? Have you been influenced by other decorators?
I was born in Brazil and grew up in Germany from the age of eight, therefor my influences are extremely contrasting. I love Brazilian colonial aesthetic as well as German architectural and especially the Bauhaus era. I also love Swedish design with its clean lines but bold and colourful patterns. There are so many designers that has given me inspiration but mostly Nina Campbell, Veere Greene and Lucia Moura. Having Blanca by my side at work is definitely my biggest inspiration, she inspires me every day!
›Tell us about an art piece or object that means a lot to you?
Over the past years I have immortalized my children in the form of oil on canvases. This is something that means the world to me. Its and object that bring me happiness every single day of my life. Emma Wollard is simply one off the most talented portrait painters I know and I love her work.
›What are you looking for at auctions?
Mostly furniture. I will be looking for antiques or iconic pieces that you are able to buy at a much better price point then in a gallery. I love buying chest of drawers and antique bed frames in auction.
What people forget is that old pieces were made to last! The quality of them is simply second to none. These are pieces you will have forever and can be past on for generations. They bring a certain wait to a room that new pieces would never be able to achieve.
› Antique French bed sits, carpet from Tim Page. Curtains in Schumacher’s ‘Lotus Garden’.
›What was your latest thing you bought at an auction?
The latest thing I bought at an auction were two chests of drawers at an auction here in London. I love it when you find something special and go for it! It can be very exciting!
› What do you like to read?
I like reading German writers such as Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann. Stefan Zweig The Royal Game is one of my favourite books ever. Otherwise I love reading Interiors Magazines and Fashion Magazines. How To Spend It is a Weekend treat!
›Your top three favourite spots in London?
My top 3 are favourite spots in London are
Tate modern for culture
Sumi for Sushi
The Pelican Pub for a pint after work!
› Hand painted wallpaper, the lights are from Urban Electric Lighting.
Bid on objects curated by Nina Litchfield