A Victorian home filled with art, antiques and collected items
As the founder of stylish interiors brand edit58, it’s no surprise that Lisa Mehydene has a sharp eye for intriguing and unique home accessories. Photographs Rachael Smith
Lisa Mehydene combines a collector’s eye for detail with a talent for seeing the bigger picture. This came to the fore when she and her husband directed the renovation of their south-west London home from almost 7,000 miles away.
‘We were living and working in Singapore, so all the conversations with builders and decorators happened over Skype,’ she explains. ‘The first time we saw the results was when we moved in. We’d viewed the house on a trip home, and the style of the property and the area were familiar to us – we’d previously lived just around the corner – so it wasn’t as scary as it sounds.’
Thankfully, there were no nasty surprises when they finally opened the front door. Key changes included sealing up the original doorway to the living room and replacing it with larger double doors further along the corridor, subtly giving the house a more open feel. Meanwhile, double bedrooms that had been split into two were returned to their original layout, creating spaces that worked better for Lisa, her husband Hil and their eight-year-old twins.
Lisa has always loved antiques and vintage pieces, something she traces back to her grandmother on her father’s side. ‘She was a great collector. As a child, every summer I would go and stay with her at her home in Lymington and she’d take me around all the local vintage shops and fairs. Her house was full to the brim with trinkets and she was always moving her furniture around,’ Lisa remembers. ‘She lived until she was 103 and interiors remained a link between us. When we moved in here, she loved to hear what I was putting where.’
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A vintage find her grandmother surely would have approved of hangs in Lisa’s dining space – a set of framed paint swatches. ‘One very cold winter morning at Sunbury Antiques Market I found a brown folder full of pieces of paper daubed with paint colours, including notes about how they were mixed up. The woman selling them said it had been a paint salesman’s portfolio,’ Lisa says, adding that she fell in love with the story behind the papers as well as the colours. The entire folder cost her less than £40. Lisa framed them simply and an expert friend hung them en masse, so that they almost combine to form a larger-scale artwork. ‘Together, they tell a story and inject colour into our home, which makes me very happy,’ she adds.
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What Lisa also remembers is how the dealer didn’t want to sell the papers individually. ‘Like me, she recognised that they belonged together. A find like this makes you realise how easily they could have all been thrown away or divided up, and how one person’s junk really is another’s treasure.’ This curiosity about the person behind an item links with Lisa’s shop, edit58, which sells ceramics, rugs, baskets and textiles by makers who are adapting age-old skills. Lisa began sourcing items in Morocco and Portugal, but increasingly works with UK makers, such as Lisa Hardy and Kana London.
‘For me, there’s always a story to a piece, whether it’s about the craft or how I met the maker,’ she says. One of her earliest lines was a range of whimsical papier-mâché animal heads made in Porto by Márcia Barbosa. ‘I was visiting a girlfriend who lives there and she said, “You have to come and see this woman’s work and studio, you’ll love it.” I did, and Márcia’s work ended up being sold in Liberty and The Conran Shop, so she was thrilled.’
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Lisa’s love of quirky finds is also expressed in the gallery wall in her living room, where family photos mingle with a Norman Parkinson fashion shot and an oversized letter ‘A’, bought on the couple’s honeymoon in Argentina. The display hangs above an apothecary cabinet, which is a much-loved piece. ‘It’s disappointing to walk into a room and feel your eye drawn to a massive TV. Instead, this is a focal point that captures your imagination,’ Lisa explains. She also loves that it represents a piece of shop history, and it even has all the original branding of a chemist in Old Street, London hidden away on the back.
Many of the items in their home have been with Lisa and Hil for a long time, but a set of Kai Kristiansen chairs were bought especially for this house. ‘I wanted a spot where we could read the papers over coffee and I love the shape of these chairs and their dusky pink upholstery,’ she says. ‘I know we’ll use them for years to come.’
That’s been the case with the family’s green velvet sofa by Pinch, which has worked equally well in a modern apartment in Dubai, a traditional shophouse in Singapore and now in this Victorian home in London. But Lisa says the hardest working piece in their home is the French farmhouse table in the kitchen. Castors were added, which raised it to a better height and also means it can be wheeled into the garden for outdoor dining in the summer. ‘Everything happens around that table, from food prep to the twins’ craft projects,’ says Lisa.
It suits the mood of the kitchen, where cabinet fronts are reclaimed and shelves are loaded with vintage glassware and ceramics. From a hefty worn kitchen table to the smallest handmade bowl, this is a home where everything has a story to tell.
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