A slice of sunshine: Inside the London home of food writer Skye McAlpine

Food writer Skye McAlpine’s London home is a feast of ice-cream shades and vintage treasures – with the light, bright kitchen at its heart.

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Skye in her kitchen at home. Image: Megan Taylor

Neapolitan ice cream may not seem an obvious decoration scheme. But it was the starting point for Skye McAlpine’s South London home, where she lives with her husband Anthony and their two sons Aeneas, seven, and Achille, one.

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Sunny shades make for a year-round summer vibe in Skye’s kitchen, accentuated by vintage copper moulds and handmade pans by Italian brand Ruffoni. Image: Megan Taylor

It explains the pink striped curtains on either side of the floor-to-ceiling windows which flood midsummer light into her kitchen, its walls painted in uplifting yellow shades (Dayroom Yellow and Citron by farrow-ball.com) and a mustard Smeg fridge. ‘I want to feel cosy,’ she beams, and feeling cosy means being reminded of Venice, where she grew up from the age of six.

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In Skye’s airy living room the sofa is covered in Rose & Fern fabric from jeanmonro.com. The green velvet ottoman was custom made; the rug is from robertstephenson.co.uk. Image: Megan Taylor

The Victorian house that Skye moved into – days after giving birth to Achille – has the same relaxed feel as her previous London flat. For the renovations, Skye turned to her friend, interior architect Ben Pentreath, because they both agree that the best sort of homes are the ones that are lived in. ‘He just got it, as well as my love of colour. I like how laid-back Ben is and that he sees as much joy in a £100 Ebay chest of drawers as he would in something bespoke.’

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In the study, bookshelves and walls painted in Rectory Red by farrow-ball.com add drama, while Rose & Fern fabric (this time as curtains) adds to the vibrant mix along with a green bentwood chair. For a similar desk, try conranshop.co.uk. Image: Megan Taylor

Not surprisingly, Skye had very specific ideas as to how her kitchen should look. On one side of the room is a large dresser found in the Brussels Rue Blaes market, lined with paper by French interior designer Antoinette Poisson. The copper moulds that adorn one of the walls – which Skye uses to make jellies and pannacotta – were another great Belgian find and chime with the Ruffoni pans hanging over her cherished range oven by renowned French brand Lacanche. Trestle tables extend her dining table to comfortably seat 30.

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In the living room, a 16th-century drawing of the Madonna and Child (a wedding gift from Skye’s in-laws) hangs over a 1950s Fornasetti fridge, bought from a Christie’s sale. The lamp is by anglepoise.com. Image: Megan Taylor

Skye’s second cookbook, A Table for Friends (published last month by Bloomsbury) was a two-year labour of love which explores the sort of effortless but no less delicious food she loves making when friends come round for dinner. Mostly these are meals that don’t involve much cooking but assembling a few ingredients on a pretty plate.

skye mcalpine bedroom
In the master bedroom, the walls are covered in GP & J Baker fabric (now discontinued). For a similar print try Andhara by Sanderson at stylelibrary.com. Skye had the vintage Victorian brass bed made into a four poster. Image: Megan Taylor

Burrata served with a few slivers of preserved lemon and a drizzle of golden olive oil is a favourite during summer months. ‘It looks beautiful, tastes wonderfully indulgent and takes all of five minutes to make,’ she says. Skye finds that a simple way to decorate the table is with bowls filled bountifully with fresh seasonal fruit (right now, cherries, peaches and apricots) – a lot less wasteful than flowers. Otherwise plenty of tapered candles.

Skye feels most content pottering in her bright, sunny kitchen – cooking or listening to a podcast. ‘We have a big  armchair where Aeneas sits and reads or chats to me while I’m cooking – on a good day!’ This, she thinks, is ‘where happiness happens’.

Shop the look

Here’s how to give your home some of Skye’s dolce-vita glamour

Glass candlesticks, small £18, tall £32, all issygranger.com

Cushion, £35, frenchbedroomcompany.co.uk

Plate, £125, Fornasetti, amara.com

Mirror, £373, maisonsdumonde.com

Chair, £999, johnlewis.com

@skyemcalpine

Interview: Carolyn Asome