It took some convincing, but we managed to talk our editor Amanda Cochrane into giving us a tour of her gorgeous London home, where she has lived on and off since 1998. “We bought at a time when there were still bargains to be had in Kensal Rise,” Amanda recalls. “The house was divided up into several bedsits and was in a complete state, but it was big, retained plenty of original features, such as the cornicing and lovely fireplaces, and was a short stroll to Queen’s Park, a perfect spot where our then-toddlers could run amok.”
Working with a tight budget, Amanda and her husband Ben spent weekends digging out bargains in architectural salvage yards, scoured junk shops, markets and bric-a-brac stores, searching out goodies that they could spruce up with coats of paint.
The house has evolved over the years, and they recently invested in a sleek, streamlined kitchen. It adds a modern and elegant slant – large Italian floor tiles are hardwearing enough to endure endless teenage parties, while eclectic touches such as brass lights and painted junk shop furniture help warm up the modern space.
The area, too, has changed – the streets of Kensal Rise are now, in Amanda’s words, “crawling with hipsters” and “Notting Hill marrieds” and the area is teeming with gastro pubs, coffee shops, cool interior stores and even a boutique cinema. “The odd hipster apart, I love the area’s foibles and living in our house, which is shambolic but our home and has changed very little over the years.”
Photography by Verity Welstead