When Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe viewed a derelict Victorian house with Pepto-Bismol pink walls and threadbare bright green carpets, they jumped at the potential it offered.
‘It was very romantic,’ remembers Russell. ‘The attic was filled with 1950s interiors magazines, featuring many of the colourful furnishings that had been originally used.’
But five years on, the couple – founders of interior design and creative consultancy 2LG Studio (which stands for two lovely gays) – have transformed the place.
Rose Theatre paint by Mylands – seen on the living room walls as well as the radiators and woodwork throughout – seems apt, given the pair’s background. They started as actors, with successful West End stage and TV careers, but decided to refocus on interior design. Yet TV came calling again in 2014 as they took part in the first series of BBC Two show The Great Interior Design Challenge, where they finished as runners-up.
Of the pink furniture and stronger pink tones around the doors, Jordan says, ‘People sometimes ask, “Why pink?” It can be a controversial colour in interiors but, to us, there is no such thing as pink for girls and blue for boys. Colour is about how you feel – don’t be afraid to use a bit of pink if it makes you smile.’
When it comes to the style and furnishing of their home in Forest Hill, Southeast London, where Russell and Jordan live with miniature dachshund Buckley, they made an effort to change old habits. ‘Our previous homes were driven more by trends. In this home we wanted to embrace investment pieces that would stand the test of time and grow with the house,’ says Russell. With this in mind, the pair looked for classic wallpapers, carpets, furniture and lighting, which they designed with talented makers.
The same is true of their Insta-famous malachite green dining room, situated in the most wonderful part of the house, overlooking the garden. There, transformational storage and an exquisite marble terrazzo table, made in collaboration with surface designer Olivia Aspinall (olivia-aspinall.com), turns functional into glamorous. Throughout the house, spaces meet everyday needs with hidden fold-out desk compartments and concealed wardrobes.
Creative solutions to make the best of your home and help you find your interior style form the crux of their new book, Making Living Lovely (to be published by Thames & Hudson on 30 April).
‘Russell is a firm believer in the storytelling – how each piece should link to a memory,’ says Jordan. This is illustrated by the blue lamp in the couple’s home office, made from their favourite childhood toys. Jordan focuses more on the visuals such as colours and shapes.
The overriding theme throughout? That interior design should be fun!
Get the look
Channel 2LG’s style with strong silhouettes, graphic prints and a confident colour palette