Source-Lifestyle founder James Crabb and his wife Samantha have created a beautiful yet functional family home in Chiswick
Words: Georgie Lane-Godfrey
If there is one maxim which James Crabb believes you should live by, it’s that your life should work for you. To make this happen, the Chiswick-based entrepreneur founded Source, a lifestyle app which creates a mobile luxury network for the cash-rich but time-poor. At just the click of a button, users can request anything that will make their lives easier, from dinner reservations to luxury gifting or even those hard-to-come-by tickets. The premise is a simple: the app connects users with relevant suppliers via an instant messaging service so that they can get straight to the product — to the source. Unlike the classic concierge, there’s no mark up and no middleman. ‘It’s perfect for busy people who just need a helping hand,’ says founder James. ‘For most of our members, it’s just a way to save time. For example, we’ve used the app to plan our family road trip along the East Coast of America this summer. Normally, this would take days of planning and research, but thanks to Source connecting us to the experts at Original Travel in Battersea, it took less than two hours.’
The app is also ideal for improving your interiors. Upload a photo of a chair that needs repairing and Source will connect you to a restorer. Take a snap of your wall space and Source will suggest a stylish mirror or piece of art to fill it. ‘We can also do larger projects, from one-room refurbishments to complete home renovations, all of which can be coordinated via the app,’ says James’s wife and Source’s Marketing Director, Sam, who is also a trained interior designer. ‘Luxury is all about bespoke service — adhering to your very clear, distinct specifications,’ she continues. ‘We’re taking that classic experience and trying to replicate it digitally on your phone.’
In their West London home, the Crabbs have extended and improved the house to create a classically contemporary look. ‘When we bought the house, it hadn’t been decorated for 25 years, but we lived with it for two years before we did any work to it,’ says James. ‘It’s really important not to rush into building works as you have to understand how you live in a house before you adapt it.’
By extending the kitchen out into the garden, James and Sam created a large, airy living space. A glass, lantern-style roof floods the room with light, while the textured Villa Nova wallpaper in Naples Lustre add interest to the surrounding white walls. ‘I’m really interested in architectural style,’ says Sam, ‘so I like to decorate with a muted palette that allows the building to speak for itself.’ This soothing scheme of neutrals runs throughout the house, complementing the house’s generous proportions and creating a sense of unity.
Following the wide marble staircase upstairs will lead you to the sitting room, where sophisticated silvers and soft neutrals create a tranquil haven in which they can relax. ‘I love this room because it is such a sanctuary,’ says Sam. ‘It has a very calming atmosphere and is so airy as the floor-to-ceiling windows let so much light in.’ Meanwhile, a clever use of furniture divides the room and allows it to accommodate the entire family’s needs. ‘Originally we intended it to be a completely child-free zone, but the modular sofa is great for watching films as a family on the weekend,’ says James.
Upstairs, the Crabbs have added interest and personality to the continued colour palette by introducing pretty, patterned wallpapers. Osborne and Little’s Derwent wallpaper featuring vibrant koi carp creates a statement wall in the sleek bathroom, while the pretty linen paper by Leonie Brown Interiors creates a focal point in the elegant master bedroom.
Many of the unusual objects around the house are locally sourced from Chiswick’s numerous interior treasure troves. ‘Marshall Phillips on Chiswick Lane is a great place to find one-off pieces,’ reveals Sam, ‘and the newly opened Neptune on Chiswick High Road is full of well-made classic designs and accessories. Strand Antiques is also amazing – I found the painted terracotta pots in the sitting room in there. They turned out to be one of my best buys as the next season Ralph Lauren had identical ones for almost five times the price.’ However, these local gems aren’t limited to antique shops. ‘We’re over-users of Annie’s!’ laughs James, ‘Our sons love it. But we also like The Carpenter’s Arms and The Smokehouse.’
Practical and stylish, the Crabbs have succeeded in creating a beautiful home that works for all the family. ‘My number one aim in interior design is functionality,’ explains Sam. ‘You want it to be beautiful but it has to be practical as well. After all, you have to actually live here so make sure that it works for you.’ And for everything else? There’s Source.