“I’ve never had a white or cream house – the first was navy and cornflower blue, the second chocolate brown and sludgy green and now it is almost black so we knew this was what we wanted.”
They say you need to decorate three houses before you really get it right, and Jo and Graham Atkins-Hughes really nailed it with their third home. The huge Victorian terraced house in East London is decorated in dark, inky hues and furnished with vintage finds, making it a popular location for film and fashion shoots.
Jo, a fashion stylist, and Graham, who trained under Bruce Weber and Annie Liebowitz and is now a successful interiors and fashion photographer, met and married within three months of meeting through a colleague and now have two sons, Digby and Kit. Their hunt for the perfect home took a bit longer and they bought their enormous Victorian house in 2001, after searching for a house that would make a good editorial and film location. “We knew we wanted a location house, having been in the business and knowing that there were not that many great location houses at the time,” says Jo. “From work we knew how the space would have to be and so we were looking for somewhere large that we could really open up.” Jo and Graham had been living in nearby Stoke Newington, but their search brought them to Dalston because of the scale of the houses.
Graham and Jo knew that they wanted to decorate their home with dark, enveloping colours in contrast to the other location houses available at the time. Although this was a risk, Jo wanted the house to be in their personal style and to be a comfortable, welcoming home as well as a successful location. “We’ve gradually gone darker and darker with each house we’ve lived in, and this is our third,” she says. “I’ve never had a white or cream house – the first was navy and cornflower blue, the second chocolate brown and sludgy green and now it is almost black and we knew this was what we wanted.” Rather than feeling dark and overwhelming, the deeper tones have a calming and relaxing effect.“It feels very warm, comfortable and cosy and works really well with colour,” explains Jo. “We’ve used lots of warm colours and people bring everything from bright colours to sludgy colours for shoots and they all look great against the dark walls.”