Inside interior designer Louisa Grey’s holistic makeover of her live/work space

House of Grey founder Louisa is a believer in ‘circular salutogenic design’ and its power to create homes that make us not just happier, but healthier too

house of grey home living room
Michael Sinclair

Two decades of learning how homes can transform our lives has shaped interior designer Louisa Grey’s tranquil new north-London abode. Having trained in weaving before starting out as a stylist, Louisa established studio House of Grey in 2014 to create beautiful spaces and products; however, her practice focuses on far more than moodboarding fabric and colour swatches.

‘I consider health, happiness, ethics and aesthetics. They all go hand in hand for me,’ she explains.

house of grey home window shutters and daybed
Michael Sinclair

Three years ago, Louisa was applying careful thought to her own life, which wasn’t bringing her the contentment she had hoped for. She made some brave changes, ending her relationship and selling her house and separate showroom. Shaking things up, she opted for a new, more holistic approach, where home and work could take place under the same roof. ‘I wanted the flexibility to be there for my young son,’ she says of the catalyst for this change. But that was just the start of Louisa’s vision for her new life.

‘I focused on a sense of light and space, as well as the idea that every day could have holiday moments,’ she says. ‘I hear so many stressed people talking about wanting to escape their lives. To me, it’s important to create a home that matches your needs so well you don’t want to leave.’

house of grey home kitchen
Michael Sinclair

For Louisa, blissful holidays meant Puglia, the region in southern Italy known for its sculptural buildings, from cone-topped trulli huts to the limestone cave homes of the Sassi di Matera. ‘I adore the softness of the architecture and the natural materiality of the buildings,’ she says, explaining that her aim was to reconcile this look with her chosen house: four floors of late-Victorian terrace.

When she first saw the property, it was trapped in a grim bedsit time-warp, but this neglect had its advantages. ‘Underneath it all,’ she tells us, ‘the original building had hardly been touched.’

house of grey home  bedroom
Michael Sinclair

On the lower ground floor, she created an extension for a light kitchen and dining area, with a cosy snug tucked behind it. Down here, the Puglian aesthetic is in full force, with exposed timber joists and natural clay-plaster-clad walls that softly curve around the space. Upstairs, the house has a more traditionally Victorian character, although the palette of pale neutrals continues across the restful bedrooms and retreat-like bathrooms.

Louisa has assembled a trusted ‘creative tribe’ of companies and craftspeople who share her drive to create healthy interior environments and whose work features throughout her home, from natural, ethically made rugs to energy-saving appliances. For all the attention that has been poured into creating a dreamily beautiful atmosphere, just as much thought has been given to what can’t be seen – from natural sheep’s-wool insulation to VOC-free paints. The intention has been to create a truly holistic home.

house of grey home  bathroom
Michael Sinclair

Working on this personal project has fed into House of Grey’s philosophy, which Louisa describes as ‘circular salutogenic design’ – circular, because her spaces are put together using natural, non-toxic materials that come from and return to the earth with relative ease; and salutogenic, meaning they are ‘designed to have a positive impact on people’s health’.

She could happily talk all day about this subject but, as she sits contentedly at her kitchen table, basking in a broad shaft of afternoon sunlight, it seems like Louisa – and the home she has created – are the perfect endorsements for the benefits of thoughtful design.

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