In My Room

1960s Flat, 130 Balfron Tower

Tilly Hemingway

What was your role in the project?

To transform the flat from its original state to how it may have looked when the first residents moved in 1968. This incorporated re-wallpapering & painting, removal of modern carpets & laminate flooring, reinstating original fixtures and fittings such as light switches, sockets, tiles, and taps.

Whilst the decorating was taking place I scoured the country for original 60s wallpaper, fabrics, rugs, furniture and everyday items to make the flat feel lived in.

 

Describe the flat in five words?

Spacious, utopian, colourful, kitsch, liveable.

 

What’s your favourite item from the flat?

The teak Ladderax storage system manufactured in the 1960s by Staples.

Where did you find everything?

Auction sites such as eBay, antique markets & car boot sales. I also lent a few items from my own personal collection. The majority of the smaller items came from Land of Lost Content, a museum we co-own in Craven Arms, Shropshire.

 

Would you live in the flat yourself?

Yes most definitely! I love Brutalist architect and love this building, it’s fantastic.

The space standards are excellent and the views across London are some of the best I’ve seen.

If I lived there I’d have to tone down the kitsch elements and make it a lot more minimal. I prefer the modern approach with white walls and less clutter, but I’d keep items such as the Staples Ladderax, 1960s Guy Rogers sofa, coffee table and 1950s woven bucket chair on the balcony.

 

Do you have a favourite room?

I love the living room, it is very spacious with bright floor to ceiling windows. Unfortunately the original windows were replaced with PVC at some point in the last decade. However still, the views you get looking South over the River Thames are magical and would have been pretty much uninterrupted in 1968.

 

What did you love most about this project?

I love antiques markets and car boot sales so getting to visit them on a work day was a treat. I also loved the install. There were many late nights spent in the flat, which although a little exhausting, meant I got to sit out on the balcony and watch the sun set over London from the 25th floor. I’ll miss that!

 

What's been your most favourite project to work on?

I studied Urban Design and Regeneration at university; therefore I really enjoy working on the Urban/Social design projects we undertake. One of the first projects I worked on after leaving university in 2009 was the regeneration of a 1960s social housing estate in Kings Lynn named Hillington Square. The first phase of the building work is now near completion, which is great to see after years of working on a project.

 

If you could live on the set of any movie/TV show where would it be?

I absolutely love the Home of George Falconer (Colin Firth) in A Single Man, built in 1949 and designed by architect John Lautner. It is located in a heavily wooded area so the aspects are amazing, and it’s constructed from my favourite materials steel, wood, glass and concrete of course!

 

Have you got any tips for anyone wanting to create the 60s look?

1960s furniture is now very collectable and can be quite expensive if bought from antique shops. Visit auction houses, antiques markets and car boot sales to find bargains. It also helps to search outside of large towns and cities, where prices are often inflated. eBay is good for finding original 1960s fabrics and wallpaper. If patterned walls are not for you Mini Moderns do a lovely mid-century inspired paint range. 

 

www.hemingwaydesign.co.uk www.vintagefestival.com

 

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