Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cream of the Crop; Antiques Dealer Josephine Ryan Has a Relaxed View of Interior Design. She Is Happy to Mix Old and New, High Street and Collector Items. Her Revamped Victorian Terrace Home Proves the Point, Says Mary Norden

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Cream of the Crop; Antiques Dealer Josephine Ryan Has a Relaxed View of Interior Design. She Is Happy to Mix Old and New, High Street and Collector Items. Her Revamped Victorian Terrace Home Proves the Point, Says Mary Norden

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY NORDEN

ANYONE who is familiar with Josephine Ryan's delightful antiques shop in Clapham, south London, will not be surprised to find that her home in Brixton shares the same relaxed style. What may be surprising is the light and sense of endless space in what is - from the outside at least - a very ordinary Victorian terrace house, and how she achieved this look, given that she is an antiques dealer. "One of the first things I did was to remove many of the Victorian features," she says. "People were horrified when I ripped up the original, tiled hall floor and removed the stained glass in the front door, but I believe houses should evolve with their owners."

The patterned floor was replaced with simple, cream stone tiles, and the coloured glass exchanged for white frosted glass, onto which large graphic house numbers were etched. The result is a light-filled hall that sets the tone for the rest of the house.

Elsewhere, floorboards were painted white and all picture rails and dados were removed.

Fireplaces were opened up and, in the sitting room, in a final closure on anything Victorian, the traditional, rather plain marble fire surround was replaced with something more flamboyant.

Though the house's relaxed look seems to have come together effortlessly, Ryan insists it took her a long time to decide on this palette of calm neutrals. "I do use colour occasionally, but just the odd splash to stirs things up a bit," she says.

Her mix of vintage and modern pieces reflects what interests her at the moment - and what she is selling. "I've worked through most of the 20th century," she says. "When I first started selling it was Edwardian and Art Deco, then I moved on to more rustic pieces, and now it's a mix of English, French, Swedish - even Eastern European; I'm also keen to add more retro pieces. …

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