My roomy upgrade: From creating an extra room to curating clutter, here’s how storage entrepreneur Jess Stern turned a poky one-bed flat into a bright and airy family home
‘Its a celebration of everything I love: soothing yet statement colours, patterned fabrics and treasured finds,’ says Jess Stern of her North London home. The property, a Victorian terrace ground-floor flat in Kilburn, Northwest London, which she shares with husband Marc and one-year-old daughter Poppy, originally had just one bedroom.
But the couple reconfigured it to create another bedroom and improve its layout for family life. ‘The kitchen area was originally dark and poky, with a wall separating it from a run-down utility room,’ says Jess, who’s co-founder of retro-style locker brand Mustard Made. ‘
The whole space felt completely disjointed.’ Their new open-plan kitchen-living area was the first step in their renovation project. ‘To conjure the feeling of space we knocked down the wall between the kitchen and utility area.’
They also dug down, ensuring the floor was the same level as the garden to allow the new space to extend seamlessly outdoors. Double french doors were added to allow light to fill the room throughout the day.
The open-plan living area needed a fabulous sofa and this one by boconcept.co.uk is Jess’s pride and joy. ‘It was a splurge but it’s a sofa for life.’ The artwork is by emmielouart.com. For a similar fern cushion, try oka.com
Poppy’s room used to be Jess and Marc’s bedroom. The main bedroom is now where the living room used to be. Jess’s home fuses style with practicality. The walls were painted predominantly white, ‘which gave us more flexibility to add brighter shades through accessories,’ explains Jess.
Savvy style solutions feature throughout. ‘I am always on the hunt for easy updates that can quickly refresh a space, such as mirrors, throws and rugs.’ Seamless storage is, of course, a must, too, for locker queen Jess.
Everything from toys, clothes and medical supplies are cleverly tucked away within easy reach, using clever storage and, in the kitchen, her pièce de résistance, a hidden pantry. Check out the new limited edition Poppy lockers at uk.mustardmade.com.
The kitchen cabinets are by howdens.com. Jess had them colour-matched to the sage green locker collection she launched during the pandemic. ‘The colour is gentle on the eye but also has impact,’ she says
This hero pantry hides Jess’s kitchen essentials and doubles up as a coffee station. ‘Stylish but functional storage has become a way of life,’ says Jess. For similar jars try lakeland.co.uk. The vase is from anthropologie.com
Jess painted the lower half of Poppy’s bedroom wall the same colour as the kitchen units. The cot canopy is by projektityyny.com
Jess and husband Marc love to entertain and the revamped garden area has given them more space to do so. The parasol and tablecloth are both by basilbangs.com. The chairs are by conranshop.co.uk
In the kitchen-living area, the gallery wall includes prints from vam.ac.uk and margomcdaid.com. The bench is by neptune.com and the rug is from oliverbonas.com
SHOP THE LOOK
Steal Jess’s style with these eye-catching pieces
Locker, £139, uk.mustardmade.com
Shelf, £33, laredoute.co.uk
Vase, £55, trouva.com
Print, from £75, tatianaalida.co.uk
Wall light, £25, marksandspencer.com
Bench, £129, johnlewis.com
Rug (140cm x 200cm), £150, oliverbonas.com