Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mills & Boom

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mills & Boom

Article excerpt

Byline: CAROLINE PHILLIPS

Interior designer Amber Galloway took just 10 days to turn a rodent-infested mill into a dreamy home where she combines ancient and modern with flair, says Caroline Phillips

MICE scuttled across the floor and water was pouring down the walls when Amber Galloway first saw her new home. "It was infested with rodents," she says.

She had been in the process of buying two local Fifties cottages, which she had intended to demolish in order to build a Long Island-style clapboard, eco house. "But when I saw this, it was love at first sight," she says without irony. It is an idyllic 1 8 0 0 s f orme r working mill with a river running through its garden, near Hook in Hampshire.

Galloway, 37, is an interior decorator and director of Global & Gorgeous - an online, mostly bespoke, shopping business selling homeware with a very individual style.

She is a woman who likes to do things differently.

She works on a * aptop in the house or in the garden, where she grows her own vegetables. She chooses everything from paint and furniture to bed linen and china for her decorating clients.

And she lives with her five-year-old son, Oliver, a male au pair and his girlfriend Inge, as well as two Labradors and Harry Potter, the cat. "I like privacy, but this works astonishingly well," she says.

Even the move to her new home was unconventional. She had been living in Chelsea in a property she had finished renovating two years previously, having bought it in a dilapidated state. In September 2000, she let out her home and rented the bucolic retreat.

"I had 10 days in which to move out of London and make this house habitable," Galloway explains. "Oliver was tiny, at mouth-level to the exhaust fumes. It was time to go."

She hired four Polish labourers to live onsite. "My ex-husband, friends and I worked through each night after work. Ten of us stayed here, ripping it apart, blitzing and filling skips." In record time, they stripped wooden floors, painted others, replaced light fittings and covered the ceilings, walls and woodwork with Farrow & Ball Toffee paint.

"With such low ceilings, it is better not to differentiate the colours," she says. " We didn't fill or prepare the walls, just slapped on the paint.

Unusually, I did the paintwork first and found the fabrics afterwards."

She fitted neutral carpet (" 100 per cent nylon, [pounds sterling]6 a metre," she laughs) and a stripy Roger Oates runner on the stairs. She even got down on her knees and "squished mosaic tiles that were left over from six different jobs" - to create an artistic wet-room floor.

She used plain fabrics for the curtains: James Brindley's natural pure silk tussah weave at [pounds sterling]21 a metre.

"Good curtains are all about interlining and the way you hang them. …

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