Instagram star and founder of kooky homeware brand House Curious, Sommer Pyne, takes The Resident on a tour of her home in Wandsworth
Words: Georgina Blaskey
The name says it all – House Curious – and on entering curiosity overwhelms me. I want to know where every paint colour, door handle, light fitting, lamp and picture is from. Designed by owners Sommer and Will Pyne, the style reflects their backgrounds in advertising and graphic design, with eye-catching art work and humorous visual accents peppered throughout.
By tapping in to Sommer’s Australian roots and their love of boutique hotels, they’ve domesticated commercial and global design elements and encapsulated them in a Victorian semi-detached house in Wandsworth.
On purchasing the property, the couple planned their renovation with Ade Architecture. It took two years, including design and build. Sommer was keen to incorporate her antipodean heritage to create a beach house vibe in the light, bright kitchen/dining room.
‘I was excited about this room, and had a strong vision of what I wanted, including a nod to my Aussie upbringing,’ she explains. The built-in herb garden (pictured top) and hanging woven chair capture a relaxed outdoors vibe, contrasted with industrial chic via the concrete floor and exposed filament lights from Buster + Punch.
The kitchen, built by Matrix, includes the main materials used throughout the house – marble, brass and concrete. ‘Marble is classic and elegant, and works well with the industrial theme,’ confirms Sommer. A huge marble island is flanked with brass. All handles and light switches (again Buster + Punch) are brass on stainless steel cabinets fronted with corrugated glass reminiscent of restaurant design.
You could come here with friends and never leave! There’s everything you could want – a gym, cinema, bar and guest room down here
The wood laminated doors of the larger units soften the scheme and house hidden appliances and worktops. Maintaining some Victorian features was a consideration and the double reception room essentially remains true to its original plan, but it’s been zoned through paint colours.
The front space is light and airy and used as a family room, whereas the back section is painted dark (Farrow & Ball Railings) as an adult area with a drinks trolley. Entertaining is important to the couple as evidenced in the basement. ‘You could come here with friends and never leave for the entire weekend!’ laughs Sommer. ‘There’s everything you could want – a gym, cinema, bar and guest room down here.’
On descending to the high-ceilinged subterranean level, a neon sign prepares guests for a change of vibe: ‘Buy the ticket, enjoy the ride’. A quote from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, it announces that this a place to escape to. The cinema, a dark room with panelling designed by Will, is ‘where we retire in the evenings to chill out’.
A compact gym with boxing bag and weights is a good stop en route to the bar, signposted Scotch and Ted – Sommer explains: ‘My grandmother had two great loves, scotch and her husband Ted!’ Produced to spec by Made By Jason, the bar is wooden with a zinc top, illuminated by a variety of exposed light bulbs.
Sommer had some fun creating basement guest bathroom. Developing her idea to spell out ‘Powder Room’ on the floor, Will meticulously designed a black-and-white scheme made up of small hexagonal tiles – it’s an effective pop of humour extending the mood set by the neon sign. Upstairs, the ambience changes – grey and blush are the dominating colours with white-washed floorboards creating a relaxed, Scandi scheme.
The master bedroom is painted in Blackened by Farrow & Ball and leads to an open bathroom, where marble appears again as a long sink unit from Colour Interiors. The free-standing bath overlooks the garden beyond, which is a marriage of traditional English flowering borders and Australian-inspired built-in barbecue and fire pit. By knocking through to another bedroom, the Pynes have also created a walk-in wardrobe.
‘I had always dreamt of a boudoir-feel dressing room but never thought I would have one!’ exclaims Sommer. Hollywood lights around a huge dressing table mirror and built-in perfume cabinet add a feminine, luxurious aspect to the master suite. Such is the inspiring atmosphere of their home that Sommer made the decision to open it up for creative workshops and events for the curious-minded, combining business and home life.
Courses include candle making and calligraphy, celebratory cake making and floral decoration. In addition, she has curated a lifestyle collection for her website, so you can bring a touch of House Curious in to your own home. ‘So many people kept asking me where a vase or print was from, so I decided to start stocking them myself!’ she exclaims.