INSIDE A GRADE-II LISTED ISLINGTON HOME

Carolina Gonzalez-Carvajal shows how a little Spanish colour and pizzazz has been implemented into this Grade II-listed property in the heart of Islington

It’s rather amazing to stand in Carolina Gonzalez-Carvajal’s Myddelton Square property today as, back in 2013, I was shown around it when it was nothing more than a building site. My host then was Gal Adir, co-founder of G&T London, the developers who restored this Grade II-listed property to the most exacting of standards. ‘It was a delight to see that so much had been done to update the beautiful period features of the house,’ says Carolina today, ‘with both a nod to the past and present.’

One of those nods to the past is a stand-out feature for me – the original building’s brick wall that’s visible in the kitchen – but this was one room in the property that Carolina wanted to get to work on. ‘We are a family who all like to cook,’ she says proudly. ‘In fact, my eldest daughter is a chef and it is important that we are able to cook as a family. We upgraded the appliances and had a specialist company to build us a bespoke kitchen with apple wood cabinetry, also adding an island. I was keen to have a contemporary minimalist look to the kitchen, warmed up by the Danish lighting and the wall of unusual Spanish tiles. We christened the new kitchen with a magnificent Thanksgiving feast for 30, cooked by us and presented on one long table laid out through the dining room and front living room, so that it felt like a truly communal family meal.’

On that visit back in 2013, Gal explained to me about how the bedrooms in his projects each have their own personality, and is something that has lived on here. ‘The master bedroom is a real retreat,’ enthuses Carolina. ‘The master bathroom is one of my favourite places to be. It feels light and airy and the marble gives it a classic air – it’s a very generous space. Each of the other bedrooms is different, which is perfect for us as we have always entertained a lot. The house can be full of children and guests, but everyone has their own space.’

There’s certainly plenty in the way of space: in total, there are five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a double reception room, drawing room, dining room, kitchen, cinema room, wine cellar, garage, utility room and a cute garden. Something that strikes me looking around is how bright everything seems. ‘I have used a lot of colour in the house, through furniture and accessories,’ Carolina explains her thought process. ‘The height of the ceilings and the wonderful shape of the rooms means that it is the perfect backdrop for some of my Danish modern classic furniture, as well as some of the more funky 70s antiques or traditional pieces, and great for large pieces of art. You could furnish the home any way at all.’

Like me, however, Carolina’s first sight of the property was during the construction phase – so it was in fact what’s outside that won her over. ‘London had felt very grey until then,’ she says on her first view over Myddelton Square (her family were moving down from Cambridge). ‘I recently read an article where Joanna Lumley said that Myddelton Square was one of her favourite plans in London with its “ravishing houses showing London at its finest” – I couldn’t agree more.

‘It is also a hidden community,’ she continues. ‘From the wonderful neighbourhood shops on Amwell Street, the excellent vet there, browsing in Timorous Beasties, a couple of great spots for coffee or lunch – and don’t forget that Upper Street and Exmouth Market are only moments away. We feel very much a part of the community here – even our puppy has made a whole host of friends, both canine and human, in the park.’

What are Carolina’s abiding memories of living here? ‘Last New Year’s Eve, we simply leant out of our bedroom window to see the fireworks exploding over St Paul’s,’ she smiles. ‘Every time I walk up the stairs at night, the post office tower is framed by the back windows. I can even lean out of the attic window and see Big Ben. But for me, the enduring and most wonderful image of London is the shadow that the old street lamp outside our front door casts on the neighbour’s wall in the evening. It is truly an old London sight from the heart of our very modern London home.’

Words: Mark Kebble

The property on Myddelton Square is available to buy at £4,500,000. To arrange a viewing, contact Knight Frank’s Islington sales team on 020 3657 7340; knightfrank.co.uk