If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about making a new house feel like home, it’s the minds behind design-led estate agency The Modern House. Our shared love of creating spaces that excite, invite, inspire and envelop led to the creation of a four-part film series titled Living with Colour, which follows the stories of those who’ve recently brought their spaces to life using our palette.
Today, we’re looking around the Barbican flat of design journalist Tom Morris. For the full tour, see Tom’s film below.
Somewhere inside the warren-like Barbican estate, the controversial Brutalist masterpiece at the heart of the City of London, sits a little pocket of colour belonging to Tom Morris.
Like many Barbican flats, a defining feature of Tom’s one-bedroom apartment is its plentiful light, courtesy of strategic skylights and windows that look out onto the city. It’s partly this view that informed Tom’s colour scheme, although more as antidote than inspiration.
“I’m surrounded by glass, and by concrete, and by metal” he says, “and I felt it necessary to almost bring some nature inside, which led me to bring in more earthy colours”.
This is particularly evident in the light-filled living room. Its walls are painted in Salon Drab, a deep, warm brown that reacts beautifully to the abundant light from the half moon window and full-length glass doors, and provides the perfect backdrop to Tom’s belongings, from self-made ceramics to an indigo-dyed kimono picked up on a trip to Japan.
The theme of grounding, nature-evoking colours continues in the bedroom. Here, a restful feel has been created with Calke Green, a traditional sage shade that feels timeless combined with its postwar surroundings and Tom’s modernist furniture. “Most of the things I own are greens and blues” says Tom, “so it was a way of bringing those colours into the rest of the apartment.”
This certainly rings true as we make our way through to the kitchen and cloakroom. “I wanted something with a bit more colour” he adds of the latter, painted, ceiling and all, in bright Stone Blue. Rather than trying to fight the low light in the room with bright white paint, Tom has embraced the small space by painting it in a single, rich colour, creating an enveloping effect.
In the kitchen, the blue theme continues with De Nimes. Where the lower cabinets and high domed ceiling are both painted white, the dusky blue that sits on the wall between them is a grounding influence, adding colour and structure.
While this colourful scheme beautifully reflects Tom’s own aesthetic preferences, it’s also an integral part of how the Barbican was also destined to be used. “The architects Chamberlain, Powell and Bon were very encouraging of each flat becoming something of a machine for living in” Tom explains, “that would adapt over time and could be used by each resident to show their personality.”