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When Sabina and her husband Rory, who both work in tech, first set eyes on this townhouse near Brighton on the south coast of England, they knew it was their dream home—it’s easy to see how they fell in love with it. Thoughtfully extended by the previous owners, who work in the design industry, the property boasts a rare combination of historical features — such as cornicing and stained-glass windows in the sitting rooms, and original quarry tiles in the kitchen—alongside more modern, practical elements; take the new addition of the light-filled sunroom. In short, the perfect excuse to leave their flat in London for new pastures.
Sabina had plenty of interior design inspiration, and very much her own sense of style, but with such lovely architectural details at play, she wanted to make sure she was doing the house justice. This is where our design experts came in. “I enlisted OKA as I love the furniture, but I’d also never worked on this scale before, so what I really needed help with was the layout. With the rooms’ large proportions and high ceilings, I wanted to make sure I was choosing the right pieces and arranging them all correctly,” she explains. Enter Charlotte Saunders, one of our expert interior designers in the UK, whose vision was to “make it really special, while also making sure that our client and her family [the couple have a young daughter] could really live in it.”
The process began with a site visit, where Charlotte and Sabina discussed color palettes and key furniture items; both from the OKA collection and what Sabina owned and loved already. In terms of a brief, Sabina gave the designer free rein—a strategy that did not disappoint. When Charlotte came back a few weeks later to present some interior design ideas, it was the TV room that her client was most delighted with. “I would never have thought that I could have fit those pieces in there. It was so nice to see them come together as I really struggled with that room; the proportions of it and how to make it feel cozy. She came up with an amazing solution,” she tells us. The paint color, which they chose together, stepped it up a level and completed the intimate atmosphere.
Sabina had fun with Tailored by OKA, our handmade-to-order seating service, which allows you to create bespoke pieces that truly fit your interiors and lifestyle. Her main priority was replacing her existing uncomfortable sofas with several that were perfect to lounge on. The mix of classic and contemporary shapes they chose fit seamlessly into the home, each of which plays a key part in how Charlotte built the color scheme and atmosphere. In the sun room, there’s a light green clever linen that has a good light-fastness rating and is stain resistant, perfect for the bright space and how the young family uses it. Linked to the kitchen, it’s the most in-demand spot in the daytime, where they’ll often sit and have a coffee or play games with their daughter. “I knew I wanted to bring green in for sure, due to the garden right outside, and then lots of warm tones as they’re Sabina’s favorites,” says Charlotte. In the more formal sitting room, it was “very much about picking out the colors from Sabina’s rug and building the different textures and fabrics around that,” Charlotte muses. “The red on the sofa works so well with the monochrome ottoman in the middle; it’s quite a dark room so the color and pattern work really well.”
Charlotte’s clever use of different types and scales of pattern that run throughout the home —“the space is so big it can take it”—are the icing on the cake. They’re the threads that tie the fun, cozy space together; the effect is perfectly composed, yet incredibly welcoming. What you’d really like to do is sprawl out in one of the snug corners—which is exactly what Sabina wanted from the beginning. “Even though each room has a different purpose, I wanted it all to feel cohesive, which it certainly does,” she says.