On the bright side: within the home of a colour sweetheart | Katie Forster

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Loud colours, salvaged furniture, neon lights Theres never a dull minute in Kate Haxells home, meets Katie Forster

One of the first things you detect as you recruit Kate Haxells residence is the bendy staircase. The skill volume novelist and editor has knocked out half her stairs and rebuilt them with a 90 -degree corner, conducting down into the open-plan living neighbourhood instead of towards the front door.

Usually, you walk into a house and the first thing you see is something telling you to go somewhere else, so we changed the shape of the staircase, says Haxell. It was one of many personal tweaks and bespoke pieces in the members of this house often the handiwork of her husband Philip, a situated developer and example maker.

When they bought the Victorian terraced house in Camberwell, south London 15 years ago, five male medical students had been living there. It was insanitary, she says. Your feet deposited to the bedroom carpet. The duo camped out upstairs while they knocked through walls below, choosing a different color for each room as they departed along.

Theyre cooler colours, but it doesnt feel cold, says Haxell. I would never, ever have a grey room. Unless you have amazing architectural allure, it reminds me of a cheap hotel.

Mix and parallel: the kitchen with its copper oven smother. Photograph: Holly Jolliffe for the Observer

Haxell has fond memories of her 70 s childhood, especially of when her grandparents moved into a house in Surrey that had been embellished in line with the latest fashions. It was entirely incredible. They had a lilac-colored shower suite, which I thought was just so cool. There was a forbid in the kitchen issues and sparkly whizs on the ceiling, she says.

Now there are 70 s affects sowed throughout her own room, including a reflect prohibit, originally created by Philip as a prop for a Herms shop window, and a zebra-print Ikea pouffe in the dining-room area.

Haxell says they originally missed a shagpile carpet fitted in the bedroom, but it was too expensive. Now furry carpetings smothered the curved, grey velvet-covered base of their berth instead. Haxell constructed the retro-style white headboard herself and they chose a playful painted cloudscape for the ceiling.

I wouldnt miss the decoration to be too serious. I like funny concepts, she says, whose birthday present this year was the golden plant-shaped lamp in the sitting room, also made by Philip. It is raucous. We have some whimsical bits of furniture and the wall colours sort of offset them. If the walls were crimson, it would be very Andrew Logan.

Shelf life: the dining arena. Photo: Holly Jolliffe for the Observer

Instead of a fitted kitchen, theirs is a mix of appliances, second-hand objectives and custom-made storage forces. The tall, metal oven casing with a built-in crockery closet was represented with a sheet of copper that Philip obtained get spare.

It induces me think about Victorian kitchens, with all those copper pans hanging up, says Haxell. The sag, originally from a laboratory, was picked up in a recovery yard, while the utilitarian-looking trolley next to the fridge was bought years ago at Spitalfields market.

The couple have two cats announced Vincent and Dustin. They have obliged the most of the extra space and each has a room to themselves as well as their shared bedroom Kates office, where she prevents some of her five sew machines, is painted light-green, while Philips playroom in the loft is decorated in bold orange with neon lights from jobs and kills he has done.

The house, which Haxell says was still not finished, has been a slow-burning assignment: it took six months for Philip to finish stencilling the trees embossed on the disembark walls. Weve taken a long time to do it, working in batches and believing different elements, she says. If it doesnt job, well have another depart. If your sanity can sit that, you end up with a house thats improbably personal.

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