Interiors Spotlight: Conran-esque Design in Finsbury Park

Written by: Sophie Taylor

We spoke with Sarah and Charlie Almond, a design-geek power duo with two lively young children keeping them on their toes in the heart of buzzing Stroud Green.

Their house on Cornwall Road, Finsbury Park is glistening with minimalist Scandi design and carefully curated Soho House Group style lighting.

We chat design inspiration, lighting squabbles and where to get the best Eggs Benedict in the area.

North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors

What first attracted you to the Cornwall Road property?

Sarah: “We loved having outdoor space and knew it had such potential for improvement – plus the street is really quiet as it’s not a through street.”

What does a typical day look like for both of you?

Sarah: “We get up and try to get ourselves ready before our two girls (1 and 3) wake up and then it’s about 45 minutes of chaos while we get them ready and all out the door and girls to nursery and us both to work.  Then after a day at work it’s the same process only in reverse! 

Once the girls are in bed we then exhale with dinner and a glass of wine around 7:30pm. We’re usually binging on one show or another, at the moment we’re still catching up on Game of Thrones and loving Catastrophe.”

North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors
Lighting is REALLY important.  It makes a room.

What would you call your interior design style? And who’s the main perpetrator of this?

Sarah: “Charlie is much more into the design but I’m allowed to veto if I’m not happy with something – otherwise I leave him to it as he’s always been very into simple, clean but not cold design which works well at the moment with the Scandi trends.”

Charlie:  “Yeah, I’ve been quite lucky in that both my parents are designers, so I think I’ve definitely picked up some of their eye for style and design.

I have tried to keep it quite simple as Sarah says, but with pops of colour through either furniture or artwork.

North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors

I think the light grey shades trend of the past few years is being slowly replaced with bolder choices, which is good although harder to get right.

We’ve been relatively conservative with the place as we’ve known it’s not our ‘forever home’ so there’s loads of touches I’d have liked to have added (you should see my Pinterest board!)

We were wary someone else would eventually be living here so it needed to appeal to a wider audience than just us.”

Charlie wanted a project and a project is exactly what he got. We spent 15 or 16 weeks living on a pull out sofa bed.
North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors

Whose idea was the extension? Did it take long?

S: “Charlie wanted a project and a project is exactly what he got. It took around 15 or 16 weeks (estimated at 12) during which time we lived in the living room on a pull out sofa bed and bathroom. Our oldest who was one at the time had her own room, not knowing the luxury that was!”

C: “We knew what we wanted and scoured Pinterest, Houzz, online shops and actual shops for every single bit that went into it but it was so worth it.”

S: “The lighting, for example, took AGES. Charlie is really big on having dimming lights both for the main lights and lights around the room. So all the standing lights and lamps plug into special sockets so they can be dimmed at the main switches too and the lighting can be just right. For the most part, it went pretty smoothly on the whole. We love it and will miss it dearly!”

North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors

C: “I feel like Sarah is mocking me slightly here, but I’ll rise above it… lighting is REALLY important.  It makes a room. Having something other than spot lights in the ceiling to create shadows, shade and depth makes a huge difference.  When you next go into a great bar or restaurant and you like the atmosphere, I guarantee they’ll have a mixture of lighting styles that does just that.  If you look at any of the Soho House Group venues, they have incredible lighting in their bars and lounges.”

Do you have any go to design blogs or muses for style inspiration?

C:  “I have interior design books I pinched from my parents from years ago that have been really useful – the Conran Essential House book from the 90’s has been a bit of a bible for me (you can get it from eBay for about £3).  Otherwise I’ve been keeping a photo journal on Pinterest of things I see out and about and then been quite geeky at clipping anything I see online that I like too.”

North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors

Is there anything you would’ve done differently?

S: “I actually don’t think there is. We both have an element of project management to our jobs so we really planned it out well and, aside from eating food from a hot plate/oven or microwave for 3 months, kind of enjoyed it.”

I remember those early days taking her for walks, getting coffee at Vagabond.

If you could have anyone round for a six person last supper at Cornwall Road, who would you invite?

S: “Well luckily we have a huge dining table so can seat about 12, so it’d be made up of family and close friends. 

North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors

But if we just had 4 others, then our close friends Greg and Chloe would pop down from Highbury and then probably our friends Laura and Michael would have a slightly longer trip over from New York!  But we all know each other really well and would have a late night putting the world to rights and dancing stupidly around the room. It’d be a great night. Actually, now you’ve suggested it…”

What’s your first memory of moving in to the area?

S: “We moved in the day we had our daughter so I remember those early days taking her for walks, getting coffee at Vagabond and I had my first Eggs Benedict post pregnancy at the Front Room which I loved. I found out I was pregnant again the week after we finished the garden, so we haven’t had as many parties out there as we’d like. But we certainly have enjoyed the ones we’ve had and try to crank up the BBQ and eat dinner outside as much as possible in the summer.”

North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors

Why did you choose Davies and Davies as your estate agents? We hope you’ve read Alex’s ‘Top Six Reasons Not to Live in Stroud Green’ article!

S: “I hadn’t (until now) but it’s a good one! We used to live just up the road in Highbury, so when we ventured up to Stroud Green to explore the area, we obviously stumbled across them. They have such a great location and it’s probably the second most iconic building of SG after the Old Dairy. Davies & Davies were great when we bought the place and we knew they’d take care of us well.”

What local recommendations or priceless tips can you relay for anyone thinking of moving to the area?

S: “Alex’s article is a pretty good cover of the highlights of the area! Aside from all the places he mentioned we also order from Que Me quite a lot for good Vietnamese. We really like Pizza Bakers too.” 

We hear you’re moving to Canada. How come?

S: “I’m from there so my family and oldest friends are there so when the opportunity came up with Charlie’s work we had to take it. Toronto is really booming and on all the ‘best places to live’ lists so we’re going to test it out and see if it’s true!”

We’re pretty sure Sarah and Charlie are going to miss Finsbury Park though. We wonder what their lasting impression of Cornwall Road will be?

S: “We’ll miss the place for sure and certainly look upon it with fondness.  It was our first house together as a family, so will always be special.  I think the area is continuing to evolve and it’ll be fascinating to see how the rejuvenation of Finsbury Park station impacts the area. It’s great having so many independent shops, bars and restaurants, so we hope it doesn’t lose that individualism.”

North Four, North London magazine, property, davies and davies, estate agents, finsbury park, cornwall road, property spotlight, interiors

Fan of this Conran-esque style haven? Cornwall Road was marketed exclusively by Davies & Davies Estate Agents, who are based in Finsbury Park. You’ve missed your chance to live in this particular dream home (it was rented, unsurprisingly, at warp speed), but check out the Davies & Davies website for more sparkling properties across Inner North London – we particularly love this rental currently available in the beautifully design-led Fonthill Mews development (click me), or if you’re looking to buy then we’d love to be invited round for dinner at this amazing property (click me).

This post was kindly sponsored by Davies & Davies Estate Agents, a personable and creative property consultancy for jaded North Londoners. All money raised from advertising in North Four goes straight back into making the magazine. We’re currently raising money to produce our very first print edition, if you’re interested in advertising with us please get in touch: claire@barefaced.co

Take a look at our other property spotlights and find more North London interior porn.  

Photos by Mike Barry.

North Four, North London magazine, kings cross remix, good times, london clubbing, theatre, play, review, night life, interview, Tom Marshman
Culture

Finding Humour in Dark Times: Performance Artist Tom Marshman   

Currently showing at Camden People’s Theatre, performance artist Tom Marshman’s play Kings Cross (Remix) is a glorious celebration of a bygone era. The show is a tightly crafted journey through the stories of some of the people who made up the 1980s Kings Cross LGBTQ scene. Bursting with warmth, charm and affection, the play is a must see for anyone interested in learning more about London’s alternative history.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, strong and stable my arse, Theresa May, prime minister, tories, Jeremy Deller, campaign, politics
Lifestyle

'Strong and Stable My Arse' is all of us

The Londoner behind 'Strong and Stable My Arse'. It’s a simple message. A slogan that’s straight to the point. 'Strong and Stable My Arse’ is a statement everyone can understand with a wry grin as they spot it slathered onto billboards, phone boxes and brick walls around the UK. So who could possibly be behind such a simple, cheeky, dig in the ribs campaign? Someone who knows his audience, who knows the mindset of the British like the back of his left hand.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, bank holiday plans, May, to do list, pizza, festival, drinking, eateries, day trip, deli
List

Top Four "Imma Get Greedy" Second Helpings of Bank Holiday

For some, a second bank holiday brings with it an extra day of anxiety as you wonder how to fill the 24 hour void that desk bound coffee fuelled typing usually fills. If you’re not content to lie horizontal letting gravity slide pizza down your throat, here’s our plans for your second Bank Holiday of the month.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, kings cross remix, good times, london clubbing, theatre, play, review, night life
Culture

Theatre of Changing Spaces: Kings Cross in the '80s

“Only last night I found myself lost / by the station called King's Cross. / Dead and wounded on either side / you know it's only a matter of time.” [Pet Shop Boys - Kings Cross] It’s the night after the play and I’m standing at the bar of ‘The Big Chill House’ on Pentonville Road in Kings Cross. It’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ (#TBT) and happy hour is definitely over.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, laura bird, ceramics, pottery, glaze, figures, planters, candles, artist
Culture

Local Creatives: Laura Bird Ceramics

Ceramics with charisma. Local pottery genius, Laura Bird has of course graced the digital pages of It’s Nice That, sold out in Anthropologie* and taken her seat at many a London ceramics stall since just recently starting her career in ceramics. It’s no surprise she is well loved: her unique and gentle humour exudes from every jar, planter and candlestick holder, adorned with cheeky expressions and impish grins.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, walnut cafe and dining, restaurant, cuisine, launch, stroud green, finsbury park
Eat & Drink

Fresh Comfort Food: Walnut Cafe and Dining

Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike. Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, supper club, twin peaks, cuisine, dining, olivia potts, kate young, food writers, chefs, twin peaks, agent cooper
Events

Twin Peaks Supper Club, North London

At the time of writing this the menu has just been released for Food by Feast’s new supper club. I imagine, however, that by the time you read this every dining space will be swiftly filled. If you aren’t acquainted with the duo yet (tsk), they’re the genius collaboration of Cordon Bleu chef and food writer Olivia Potts and Guardian food writer and cook, Kate Young. Having successfully completed the likes of a Gilmore Girls supper club to rapturous applause and smacking lips recently, the latest menu experience is Twin Peaks inspired and looks equally witty and delectable.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, sound bath, gong bath experience, healing, stoke newington, event, meditation,
Lifestyle

Get Your Shaman On: Gong Bath in Stokey

Sound healing in Stoke Newington. This Thursday 18th May, The Mystery School of Sound are running a de-stress gong bath experience in Stoke Newington Ramadan Mosque. Alongside guided meditation, healing process and gong performace, you’ll get a mini intro to healing traditions of the druids and hermetic teaching.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, cannes film festival, the artist, screening, film, the rose and crown, pub, Patron pop up cinema
Culture

Pop Up Cinema: Celebrate Cannes in Kentish Town

Patron Cave a Manger’s pop up cinema are shacking up at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town to screen The Artist. Soak up the atmoshpere of the Festival du Cannes with swanky popcorn and elegant cocktails. Get red carpet ready for this special screening of The Artist - the ridiculously popular award winning silent French film that everyone fell in love with.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, arancini brothers, risotto balls, street food, pop up, food stall, stoke newington food market, church street, wrap
Events

Stokey Food Market: Fundraising for the Community

Unfortunately rising rents are affecting community spaces in Stoke Newington and their availability. St Mary’s Centre currently provides a space for projects including the Foodbank, Hackney Migrants centre and the Night Shelter but they're at risk of losing their space. To help raise funds to redevelop the space and increase awareness, they are organising a weekend food market in Stokey. The pop-up food market is a launch event for their huge fundraising drive to rebuild the community rooms attached to St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, kate oates, yoga, instagram, chocolate mousse, raspberry, healthy, recipe, avocado, cacao
Eat & Drink

Eating North London: Healthy Chocolate Breakfast with Kate Oates

Healthy chocolate mousse and sexing up your smoothie with Kate Oates. We have found ourselves a yoga guru in Kate Oates, a healthtastic yogi based in Crouch End. When we met her last year she hinted at a few of her own culinary creations and boy were we intrigued. Asking for an exclusive recipe for you health conscious readers, we received a taste sensation of an idea for chocolate breakfast.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, single cylinders, speed dating, bolt motorbike shop, alternative dating
Lifestyle

Alternative Speed Dating with Single Cylinders

“All My Single Cylinders, All My Single Cylinders”. Two girls, sick to the back teeth of Tindering and Bumbling about the bars of London, decided to create their own speed dating night. Involved in the biker community of East London they have created a special series of nights combining live music, motorbikes and speed dates. Bolt Motorbike Shop of Stoke Newington is their latest venue, providing a more intriguing backdrop for your date night and quashing the usual awkwardness of sparse, brightly lit speed dating scenarios. You can admire the motors, enjoy your free drinks and listen to some live music with some top notch handpicked company.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, proper piirakka, Karelian pasties, pies, pop up, cuisine, finland, Aapo Nieminen
Eat & Drink

Pop Up Proper Piirakka in Finsbury Park

In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re basically a light pastie made with rye flour and a pretty unique variety of filling options. Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday finish life. One day I thought why not just make them yourself?”

Read More...
Lifestyle

North London Bike Tour: Giro d'North Four

The lycra is optional. Coffee however, isn't. On Friday 197 cyclists descended on Sardinia to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For those of you that don't have wardrobes filled with lycra you might never of heard of it but Think Tour d'France but in Italy. Still drawing a blank?

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, cookie dough, cafe, naked dough, old street
Eat & Drink

Millenial Munchers Heaven: Cookie Dough Cafe

Naked Dough have appeared like a pair of beautiful fairy godmothers to lead me to an actual edible cookie dough dance party. Plus they didn’t even tell me what I should wear, they genuinely don’t care. Naked Dough is a new restaurant serving edible cookie dough from tubs, cones and even carry home pots. The ingredients are raw egg free and the flour is heat-treated so you need not worry-like-Edwina-Currie about salmonella and stomach bloat (unless you’re gluten free of course. In which case I’m sorry you’ve stumbled upon this torture page of an article).

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, mint vintage, denim, jeans, launch, party, stoke newington
Events

MINT Vintage, The Denim Edition

Ten years ago MINT Vintage first opened in Covent Garden before moving on to the more creative surrounds of Stoke Newington, pioneering fashion forward vintage. Every piece is hand selected and sourced from all over the world, ensuring every garment is trend driven but timeless and always unique. This May they’ve decided to transform their world in to an “oops we were trying to make corduroy and came up with denim” dreamland*.

Read More...