On the corner of historic St. John’s Square in London’s Clerkenwell, a must-go neighborhood for any foodie or design lover, stands a beautiful and inviting yellow brick building with large windows facing two directions. A year ago you wouldn’t have thought there was much hope for this house — it used to be a rundown stationers and really wasn’t much to look at. The facade was dirty and dark, and all original features inside were hidden behind metal racks and reams of paper. Despite its tatty appearance, the talented team at British kitchen design company deVOL immediately knew that this house was a diamond in the rough.
Anissa Helou is a London-based food writer concentrating on Middle Eastern, North African and Mediterranean cooking (check out her In The Kitchen With recipe!). She’s truly had an amazing career. Before Anissa was into food, her life was in the art world, and before she lived in this modern, minimalist two-story loft, she was living in a Victorian home full of 19th century objects, paintings and furniture. She moved into this light, airy, spare space 13 years ago, but despite attempts at minimalism her cookbook collection keeps growing! Anissa also blogs about her travels, the people she meets and shares recipes. Her latest endeavor is an Egyptian street food experience in an elegant ‘hole-in-the-wall’ place in Covent Garden with a group of Egyptian foodie entrepreneurs, and she leads the occasional culinary tour. Anissa also works as a consultant for the National Museum of Qatar, helping them develop a food culture program for their Food Forum. Many thanks, Anissa, and Celia Topping for the beautiful photos!
Autumn knew what it meant to sign a lease. She knew that there was little she could change other than furniture placement. But for an interior design enthusiast, it was hard to keep the desire to design at bay after five years in the same apartment. “For a long time, I felt like I wasn’t really living in my space. I often felt like I was living half in and half out of my place, not really ever putting any energy into making it feel homey,” Autumn says. “After five years of ‘temporary living,’ I decided enough was enough. I wanted to love the space I was in, and I was willing to put a little bit of my own money into the equation to improve my overall living experience.” The place that needed the most love? The kitchen. “It’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door to our place and the kitchen was very dated and cheap looking.” Shockingly, her desire to make her space more beautiful aligned with the landlord’s desire to increase rent for future tenants and the pair decided to split the cost of the $2,000 project. The kitchen designed and executed by Autumn brings light and energy to the basement apartment. Flip through the gallery for all the renovation details.