Name: Ruth Matthews, husband Dan and son Ted
Location: Wallington — London, UK
Size: 1,050 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years
“The right colour has such an impact on the way you feel about your home, and I like to think the colours we’ve used make ours a relaxed and happy home,” says Design Soda blogger and interior stylist Ruth Matthews of the London home she shares with her husband and their two-year-old son. All of the rooms in their home are painted in different colors — ranging from off-whites to subtle blue-greens and deep blue-greens and grays — that form a rich backdrop for Ruth’s much-loved collections of butterflies, corals, plants, colorful ceramics and patterned textiles.
Ruth says she has “an eye that lives for color, pattern and patina,” and this is certainly seen throughout her home. The effect is wonderfully eclectic and layered: There’s vintage and modern furniture in textured woods, brass and bright colors, there are round mirrors and geometric tiles. And there are detailed vignettes put together with Ruth’s collections of curios, rich with pattern and color.
Moving to a new home with a new baby created all kinds of challenges, like how to make a space that’s family-friendly, with storage for all the paraphernalia of family life. Yet without compromising on character or style or taking itself too seriously. Ruth and Dan realized they rarely ate in the dining room so they turned the space into a gorgeously dark and decadent cocktail room for grown-up downtime.
Upstairs, too, each space has its own character. Like the light Scandi-inspired bedroom that is Ruth’s favorite space for a few moments of calm. The study painted in deep grey Down Pipe is filled with vintage and modern furniture and more of Ruth’s collections. The stunning dark blue bathroom has encaustic floor tiles and brass fittings, and their son Ted’s bedroom is light and bright. You can see more of Ruth’s design journey on her blog and on Instagram.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: My style is a mix of vintage and modern with natural history elements and a nod to the calm use of colour to create mood. It’s also pretty relaxed, being a family home.
Inspiration: I find inspiration everywhere! I’m always inspired by interior magazines, Pinterest and Instagram. And the architecture and design in London are really inspiring: I love to visit cafes and see how elements of their design (the surfaces, colours and textures) can be incorporated into a home; even seeing what people are wearing on the tube, and how they’ve paired colours and shapes together.
Favorite Element: My bedroom. Whilst I love to use colour to express mood in my interiors that doesn’t have to mean colourful, and I love the pared-back understated feel of the bedroom. It’s my quiet zone away from work and parenting and it has a wonderfully relaxed vibe.
Biggest Challenge: Budget, first and foremost. Also, making the space child-friendly and creating enough storage for family life.
What Friends Say: Where did you get that?
Biggest Embarrassment: I have two, our paint splattered carpet on the stairs and our front porch. It needs knocking down and a new door salvaged for curb appeal.
Proudest DIY: Our current home has been relatively easy. The most laborious tasks have been floor sanding and wallpapering, which we’ve done in three rooms, but our previous home had all kinds of challenges including taking up the floor and laying new boards in some rooms and wood chip removal from walls and ceilings in every room…before any of the fun parts of decoration could start.
Biggest Indulgence: Cushions, always cushions, my greatest indulgence is usually textile related, but I see these pieces as true heirlooms. My greatest indulgence is my Donna Wilson for SCP monochrome pouf in the bedroom but there are a couple of pretty expensive artisan-loomed cushions, including my stunning Rowenna Mason one, about the house, too.
Best Advice: Don’t let impatience to transform a space lead you to rush to the end with furnishings. My favourite spaces in our home have all taken time to source and evolved over the years. Also, remember to have a bit of fun; no one wants their home to feel like a museum piece. I like to add bits of kitsch to my spaces to break things up and stop rooms feeling too contrived.
Dream Sources: Kempton Park Racecourse antiques market, Petite Friture, Bethan Grey and Design House Stockholm.
PAINT & COLORS
All Farrow & Ball (except all whites are Dulux Brilliant White and Cocktail room is Prussian by Zoffany)
Hallway — Oval Room Blue
Living Room — Teresa’s Green
Cocktail Room — Prussian by Zoffany
Kitchen — Slipper Satin
Ted’s Room — Cornforth White
Bathroom — Hague Blue
Study — Downpipe
Bedroom — Ammonite walls, Railings floorpaint.
Lampshades in Mandalay — Rapture & Wright
Sofa John Lewis, discontinued, similar here
Chest of Drawers — My grandmother’s
Globe Wernicke bookcase — vintage, on ebay
Pallet Table — Upcycle from a crate at work
Pocket watch mirror — Graham & Green (discontinued)
Natural history (butterflies, coral, shells etc) all sourced as vintage items or picked up on travels.
Grey storage basket — Cox & Cox
Pastel stone pots on coffee table — H&M home
Concrete Plant pot — Hay at Amara
Silver desk light — vintage from The Old Cinema in London
Plates on the wall Anthropologie and Natural History, discontinued
Corona Typewriter — eBay
Cushions — Rowenna Mason, Natural History, Fine Little Day , Cox & Cox, H&M, Day Birger & Mikkelsen from Att Pynta, discontinued but other colourway here.
Soviet wooden tiger figurine and Nutcracker figurine — vintage
Mountain Ceramic Cup — The Future Kept
Brass desk light (on sideboard) — Schoolhouse Electric
Cushions on Sofa — Made.Com, Studio Flock, H&M, Tiger (not online), Mockerbee & Co (discontinued)
Black scissor arm task light — Made.com
Marble display plate — CB2, discontinued)
Leaf print tray — Miss Print, discontinued.
Wooden pot holder — Ferm Living
White enamel utensils and rack — Riess
Kitchen table — my grandparents’ breakfast table, painted and decorated with a wall sticker
Chairs — vintage reupholstered in fabric from The Swedish Fabric Company
Terrarium bowl — West Elm, discontinued.
Copper watering can — Haws
Copper measuring cup — SCP, London
Tea towel — collaboration between Thornback and Peel and Smug
Bed — Venice bed by Warren
Rug — House Doctor DK
White sidetable with wooden legs — Normann Copenhagen (through Houseology)
Muuto wood desk light — through Houseology
Bed linens — la Redoute
Pouf — Donna Wilson for SCP
Dressing Table — Lene Bjerre
Acorn chest of drawers — West Elm
Penelope Bedside table (marble & wood) — West Elm
Small chest of drawers, repainted — House Doctor DK, discontinued
Light on dressing table — Iconic Lights
The world is your Oyster poster — Rifle Paper Co
Pineapple Wall Sconce — Caravan Style
Machinist stool — Cult Furniture
Ceramic Sip and Slurp cups — Studio Arhoj
The World is Your Oyster print — Rifle Paper Co.
Gable Wallpaper — Farrow & Ball
Toddler bed — John Lewis
Whale cushion — Ferm Living
Duvet Cover — Olli & Lime
Pillow — Henry & Co from Molly Meg (discontinued)
Fox in headdress cushion —Coral & Tusk (discontinued)
Wooden toys — Sarah & Bendrix Kids
Dinosaur lamp — Oliver Bonas
Chest of drawers — Vintage find on ebay, repainted
Vintage rocking horse chair — Etsy
Animal plates on the wall — West Elm (discontinued)
Glass Terrarium — West Elm
Jute Rug — Ikea
1940s office desk — vintage, eBay
Wallpaper on top of desk — Fornasetti Riflesso from Cole & Son
Rug — Habitat
Green pouf — Oyoy at Scandinavian Design Centre
Rocker chair —Amazon
Greenhouse print cushion — Lizzie for Smug
Record cabinet — Ikea
White lamp — Ranarp, Ikea
Wooden display cabinet — vintage
Sixties Perspex trolley — vintage
Tiles — Mosaic del Sur
Vanity unit — vintage record cabinet we added hairpin legs to
Shower curtain —Izola
Bathroom Mirror — John Lewis
Towels — H&M
Brass Shower — Cheap Tap
Brass light pendant — Industville
Glass display shelf — Rowen & Wren
Toothbrush cup — Pols Potten
Bath Panel — Victorian Plumbing