Monday, May 25, 2015

Livingetc North London Tour: Highbury and Islington

It is a rare occasion to have the chance as a tourist to walk into homes of inhabitants of a city you are spending only a couple of days in. Also for people interested in interior design it is not so common being able to see from real close how the houses look in real life which have been presented on the pages of their favorite home magazine. The North London Tour of Livingetc  gave an opportunity for such an experience.

As usual the day started with a little trouble- I almost missed my plane. Then when I arrived in London I had to realize that London is the city of total color blocking and it was true what my Mom told me that people dress very elegant there. I felt as a complete outsider shining in my blue jumper in jeans and sneakers, have to check the dress code a bit more next time. Besides the minor cultural shock shortly after arrival I had also strongly positive experiences.

London is not a real free Wi-Fi heaven so there was no chance to use Google maps but the map you could see in the previous post was a big help to find the first houses of the tour in Highbury and Islington. I was surprised how friendly people were. Any time I was trying to find something on the map people came to me and asked if I needed help.

On the photos below you can see details from the houses in Highbury and Islington:

Photo by Monika Csapo

Photo by Monika Csapo

Photo by Monika Csapo

Photo by Monika Csapo

Photo by Monika Csapo

* please click on the photos if you want to enjoy them in full-size

At the beginning of the tour everyone received a gift bag which contained among all a printed "idea-sheet" where you could write remarks about the homes you visited and collect inspiration this way for example for upcoming home renovation projects. There were quite many people participating in the house tour and I really respect the home owners for their braveness. Because even though there were guards on each floor it is still pretty cool to open your home for strangers for six and half hours.

One common feature I noticed in the homes was the creative usage of inner architecture in order to create bright spaces. Thanks to glass walls, big windows and sky lights the houses were literally swimming in light so it was possible to take sharp photos even without a tripod. All the photos above are unedited pictures and reflect how the homes looked like in reality.

I was happy to discover many personal details besides the "must to have" design solutions. For example the cute toys in the children`s room of one of the houses which ranged from koala bears to rabbits (modern teddy bears?), the color combination of the living room on the second photo was stunning and I really liked the bathrooms represented on the photos. I even realized the same panda teddy bear in one of the beds what I had long time ago. One of the home owners was an architect therefore you could see many architecture-, photography- and art-themed albums on the tables and shelves which I was happy to discover.

My absolute favorite was the bathroom on the first photo. I just loved the color combination and the minimalist design. The light yellow bathroom chair together with the green bathroom curtain made such a great atmosphere in the white room lit by soft lights. These are small details which can make a big difference in the overall atmosphere.

The biggest conclusion of the tour was to me that when speaking about nice looking homes it all comes down to choose appropriate colors that work well together.

The good news is that it is not the privilege of the lucky ones: this is what home magazines like Livingetc and color theory and interior design books are for. With a little self-study and paying attention to the detail it is possible to create great and individual looking homes at any budget. Sometimes we might get lost in unnecessary details and posing but after all design is simply a great tool to express who we are and create living spaces where it feels good to be at.

Some more photos of the beautiful spring surroundings:

Photo by Monika Csapo

Photo by Monika Csapo

Many thanks to Mary Weaver Houses Editor of Livingetc for allowing me to take photos during the tour. Big thanks also to the home owners who opened their homes to the public and supported Crisis by doing so. It was a great collective experience and an inspirational visual journey.

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