by Ali Heath
A soft palette of white, greys and blues provides a versatile backdrop for an ever-changing display of antique and vintage finds in this small but beautifully styled London flat.
Amy Morton’s first passion was textiles, followed by an obsession with antiques. ‘I’m drawn to neutrals: linens, vintage tickings and patterned florals in shades of black and white – French brocante meets timeless Scandi,’ says Amy. ‘With a monochrome backdrop things move around all the time. I like clean lines and statement finds, original over high street. The design of a space always begins with one key piece, such as our antique oversized star light-fitting and Scandinavian white bench. I fall in love with pieces impulsively and they find their own place.’
THE FAMILY: Amy Morton, founder and designer of homeware brand Pillo, and her husband Will, a sound engineer, live in a two-bedroom Edwardian flat in London with their cat Steve. In the kitchen, matt white units are juxtaposed with worn chopping boards and antique sugar pots.
In the sitting room, whitewashed floors and walls are softened by vintage fabric-covered chairs, linen curtains (made from antique French sheets), coir rugs and abundant cushions designed by Amy for her homeware brand Pillo. Vintage bus signs, science posters, military shells and heirloom metal storage trunks add an edge.
It’s a stark contrast to the colourful interior that prevailed when Amy and Will first viewed the house. ‘This flat – in Bounds Green, North London – was very rundown cosmetically but had great bones,’ says Amy. ‘We rectified damp issues, ripped out the bathroom and replaced non-period fireplaces, doors, floorboards and skirting with reclaimed Edwardian finds. We also swapped pink plastic chandeliers, purple walls and peach carpets for a simpler, calmer look.’
Classic Fired Earth floor tiles create a seamless flow from the hallway through to the kitchen, where contemporary matt white units and bi-fold doors have been introduced alongside a battered wooden table, vintage chairs, industrial lighting and ever-changing decorative finds. In the bedroom, softer, more muted tones create a restful and sophisticated feel. ‘We didn’t have a huge plan; the rooms have simply evolved,’ says Amy.
With such a keen eye for detail, it comes as no surprise that Amy carved out a career heading homeware and fabric development for lifestyle brand Cabbages & Roses, trawling antique markets for vintage designs that provided inspiration. She then worked at John Lewis as a fabric buyer, before launching Pillo in 2014. The brand sells antique homewares and unique soft furnishings made from vintage textiles, along with new linen designs that take their cue from aged fragments – all made by Amy. Bridging the gap between expensive fine antiques and homogeneous high-street products, Pillo offers one-off pieces at affordable prices. ‘It’s great to be able to work from my studio at home and have the freedom to create,’ says Amy.
Sourcing and curating lies at the heart of her style. ‘I don’t follow trends – everything here is personal and unique to us. If you follow your instincts, your home becomes a reflection of you; each layer resonates with your life story and personality.’
Amy favours vintage utilitarian pieces and decorative finds are constantly evolving as new stock is sourced for Pillo. The floor tiles are from Fired Earth (firedearth.com) and the ochre tea towel is from Toast (to.ast)
The kitchen is contemporary meets vintage. ‘We installed bi-fold doors and a new kitchen from John Lewis [johnlewis.com],’ says Amy. She sourced the furniture from Sunbury Antiques Market (sunburyantiques.com) and the pendant light is from Heal’s (heals.com)
‘The bathroom cabinet from Sunbury Antiques is an old tool cupboard and has beautiful detail on the inside. We painted the outside as it had been stained a very dark brownish-red,’ says Amy
A contemporary sofa from John Lewis and a vintage star light fitting from Atomica Antiques (atomica.me.uk) add a sharper edge. The cushions are prototypes for Pillo
We completely redid the bathroom and replaced it with a classic suite [from J&W Hinton, jwhinton.co.uk] that suits the age of the property.’ The tiles are from Topps Tiles (toppstiles.co.uk) and the wall light is from John Lewis
Amy’s home is full of vintage pieces that are displayed to great effect. The vintage tin and leather books are from Newark Antiques (newarkantiques.co.uk) and the wooden polar bear was a holiday find from Berlin
‘We painted the whole flat in Little Greene’s Shirting [littlegreene.com] and replaced a faux art-deco fireplace in the living room with an Edwardian original from Ebay.’ The antique armchair, vintage bus signs and fish poster are from Ardingly International Antiques and Collectors Fair (iacf.co.uk/ardingly) and the Iranian vintage cupboard is from Sunbury Antiques Market. ‘My treasured vintage trunks [just seen] belonged to my grandfather,’ says Amy
Layers of vintage linen sheets have been used to dress the bed. ‘The large square pillows are from Casa Honoré [casahonore.com], a beautiful hotel in Marseilles where we stayed on our honeymoon,’ says Amy. The vintage antlers were found on Amy and Will’s travels; for similar decorative antlers, try Maisons du Monde (maisonsdumonde.com). The bedside tables and lamps were sourced from Newark Antiques
Favourite bags and scarves dress the back of the bedroom door. The ticking lavender pad is from Pillo
The long white Scandinavian bench, bought at Ardingly International Antiques and Collectors Fair, was the inspiration for the couple’s bedroom, which is home to restful tones of soft grey-blue and taupe. The cushions are from Pillo; the painting was bought on a holiday in France
The flaking blue vintage chest from Spain was found at Sunbury Antiques Market. For a similar ceiling light, try Trainspotters (trainspotters.co.uk). The olive tree softens the look
Vintage linens are all washed and stacked ready for use in Amy’s designs for Pillo.
‘Our cat Steve is pretty much always asleep on the bed. She was named after Steve Temple, from the vintage BBC radio drama series Paul Temple,’ says Amy
Galvanised metal shelves from Ardingly International Antiques and Collectors Fair provide valuable storage for Amy’s vintage fabrics, textile designs, sewing equipment and creative inspiration. ‘Foregoing a second bedroom, it is great to have the space to work from home,’ says Amy