SHOE designer Lucy Choi’s Bayswater home may not have a large footprint, but she’s used her creative know-how to maximise the space in her three-bedroom period property.
Occupying the bottom two floors in a four-storey property, the space was originally used by Lucy as a workroom, where she created her array of fancy footwear. But when she was pregnant with her second child three years ago, she decided to make it more suited to a family.
‘Our previous home was only two bedrooms, whereas here, with a basement renovation, we could have room for three,’ explains Lucy, who is the niece of world-renowned shoe guru Jimmy Choo.
Six months of building work got underway, but as with many renovation projects work overran.
‘I came back with my newborn son from hospital to find 13 builders here,’ says Lucy. ‘They were supposed to have finished, but were still doing some finishing touches. The whole place smelled of paint. It was mostly done but not completed. There weren’t any massive problems, but the work took longer than expected.’
Lucy completely changed the layout of the basement, which had previously held two bedrooms and a bathroom. She didn’t use an architect, but utilised her builder’s expertise and her own creative flair to turn it into a space for three bedrooms, one with an en-suite wet room, and a bathroom.
‘I wanted to make sure the boys had a separate bathroom to us,’ says Lucy. The children, aged six and two, now use a bathroom with freestanding tub, walk-in shower and marble finishing.
‘My husband said, “Really? You’re going to have marble bathroom stuff for the kids?” but I wanted it to be pretty,’ she says. ‘I bring how I design my work and my brand to my home. It’s a mixture of old fashioned and contemporary.’
Lucy’s love of marble is continued in the upstairs floor, which is an open-plan kitchen, sitting room and dining area. The splashback in her kitchen area is a light marble.
‘It reflects the light well, and it’s more luxe,’ explains Lucy. ‘I’ve seen lots of flats and houses in London which are quite narrow and spread over a few floors.
‘This is different, because the windows are quite tall, and the ceiling is quite high, so it feels quite spacious.’ Nevertheless, Lucy had to come up with some ingenious solutions to make the most of the space. All the storage throughout was made bespoke to maximise small spaces.
She also took inspiration from the Lime Wood hotel in Hampshire when it came to her dining area.
Lucy has three specially made side tables, which are vertically adjustable, and can assemble into a dining table that seats 12.
‘I took the concept from the hotel,’ says Lucy. ‘They have a lovely sitting area, like a private dining area, and they have similar tables there. I got the details of their supplier, and got him to make me these tables.’
‘When we have a dinner party, we put the tables together. It’s right next to the kitchen area, so it’s good for entertaining.’
Lucy and her husband have furnished the room with belongings they’ve picked up on their travels.
She bought her brass replica of a lucky coin, which is supposed to bring good fortune to the home, in Hong Kong 20 years ago.
Her husband bought their attractive dresser from an antiques shop in Singapore, and some of their chairs were bought in a Paris antiques store.
Other pieces, such as the large mirror, are from an antiques shop in west London, while the seascape of a naval scene was bought from a pop-up exhibition in Mayfair.
How long does Lucy see herself living here for?
‘I’m happy here. I’m very happy with how we’ve used the space — and I can’t bear the idea of moving again as the last move was quite stressful,’ she says.
‘Ideally, I’d want a place in the countryside but we both have to work in London. If we moved further outside, we might get some more space — but I need to sell more shoes first,’ she laughs.
■ For more information about Lucy’s shoes, go to lucychoilondon.com