My spacious upgrade: From creating an extra room to managing clutter, here’s how storage entrepreneur Jess Stern transformed a cramped one-bed apartment into a bright and airy family home
“It’s a celebration of everything I love: soothing yet assertive colors, patterned fabrics and treasured finds,” says Jess Stern of her North London home. The property, a ground-floor Victorian flat with a terrace in Kilburn, north-west London, which she shares with husband Marc and one-year-old daughter Poppy, originally consisted of only only one bedroom.
But the couple reconfigured it to create another bedroom and improve its layout for family life. “The kitchen area was originally dark and cramped, with a wall separating it from a ramshackle laundry room,” says Jess, co-founder of retro-style locker brand Mustard Made. ‘
The whole space seemed completely disjointed. Their new open plan kitchen-living room was the first step in their renovation project. “To evoke the feeling of space, we knocked down the wall between the kitchen and the laundry room.”
They also dug in, making sure the ground was level with the garden to allow the new space to expand seamlessly outside. Double French doors have been added to allow light to fill the room throughout the day.
The open plan living room needed a fabulous sofa and this one from boconcept.co.uk is Jess’s pride and joy. “It was madness but it’s a couch for life.” The artwork is from emmielouart.com. For a similar fern cushion, try oka.com
Poppy’s room was Jess and Marc’s room. The master bedroom is now in place of the living room. Jess’s house combines style and functionality. The walls were mostly painted white, “which gave us more flexibility to add more vibrant shades through accessories,” says Jess.
Clever styling solutions are everywhere. “I’m always on the lookout for easy updates that can quickly refresh a space, like mirrors, throws, and rugs.” Seamless storage is, of course, also a must for locker queen Jess.
Everything from toys to clothes to medical supplies are cleverly stored within easy reach, thanks to clever storage and, in the kitchen, its piece de resistance, a hidden pantry. Check out the new limited edition Poppy Lockers at uk.mustardmade.com.
Kitchen cabinets are from howdens.com. Jess matched them to the sage green locker collection she launched during the pandemic. “The color is gentle on the eyes but also has an impact,” she says
This hero pantry hides Jess’ kitchen essentials and doubles as a coffee station. “Stylish yet functional storage has become a way of life,” says Jess. For similar jars, try lakeland.co.uk. The vase comes from anthropologie.com
Jess painted the lower half of Poppy’s bedroom wall the same color as the kitchen cabinets. The bed canopy is from projektityyny.com
Jess and her husband Marc love to entertain and the redesigned garden has given them more space to do so. Both the parasol and the tablecloth are from basilbangs.com. The chairs are by conranshop.co.uk
In the kitchen-living room, the gallery wall features prints from vam.ac.uk and margomcdaid.com. The bench is from neptune.com and the mat is from oliverbonas.com
SHOP THE LOOK
Steal Jess’ style with these eye-catching pieces
Locker, £139, uk.mustardmade.com
Shelf, £33, laredoute.co.uk
Vase, £55, find.com
Print, from £75, tatianaalida.co.uk
Wall light, £25, marksandspencer.com
Bench, £129, johnlewis.com
Rug (140cm x 200cm), £150, oliverbonas.com