Kate @ Home in The Hermitage.

Hello and wishing you all a successful 2019!

With the lovely lazy festive period now firmly behind us and the frantic-ness of January upon us, I’m taking a moment to just “be” in my happy place before the year runs away with me, and wanted to invite you in.

Home is a reflection of who you are and a collation of what influences you - and this is very true of my home!

We use our homes to make purposeful and deliberate statements about ourselves designed to reflect our attitudes, our goals, our values, our roles and priorities.

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Our family lives in leafy West London, for those of you that are already part of the EHG Life community or have a keen eye for TV, you may recognise my home - The Hermitage.  Used as location hire space for TV and Editorial Shoots it is a well established venue for hire via one of our service companies EHG Prop.

It’s quite fun to think about what these walls would say if they could speak! They’ve seen some big brands and famous faces - of course we can’t give too much away, but I can say there is something rather cool about knowing you've shared your sofa with One Direction!

The Hermitage is indeed a superb venue that I am hugely proud of, but first and foremost it is a home and sanctuary for my family and has been built with love, creativity and a just a small (OK, huge!) dose of patience, as our home was a very different sight 4 years ago, as the below images show!

The property needed a huge amount of work as it was almost derelict inside, but I knew on the first viewing this was it, when you know, you know as they say. Amongst many things, I have a background as a Property Developer and was delighted at finally having the opportunity to develop a property for myself!

I have always loved property, you could say it is almost an addiction which started almost 20 years ago! The Hermitage is, if I had to describe it - my swan song, my final performance in my developing career, as it is my home and I now have time to use my expertise to focus on my styling and staging homes ready for market (which is becoming increasingly more important in these tough times).

Along with The Hermitage, for a final project (I did say I was addicted to property!) we have a rental portfolio in Acton/Ealing and Hanwell, all of these acquisitions required extending and developing into family homes which has kept us busy for the past 10 years. Our purchase criteria was family homes within 5/10 minutes walk of a Crossrail station.

The gentrification in these areas was fairly quick and we had to keep going West to get on top of the deals! Hanwell, in Ealing, is transforming from a far-flung Zone 4 suburb in an anonymous part of west London to a commuter-friendly hotspot.Th anks to Journeys to Bond Street will be slashed from 32 minutes to just 17. Liverpool Street will be a 24-minute hop away for City workers, while the commute to Canary Wharf will take 31 minutes. And for holidays, Heathrow airport will be accessible in just 11 minutes. So if we were still developing we would be buying more in Hanwell!

But, back to The Hermitage…..

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My favourite areas and triumphs of the house (there are so many but if I had to pick my best 3) are the rear elevation, the kitchen and the garden.

I always intended to create a glazed screen on the rear elevation but we decided to wait, move in and see what the light does at different times of the day and work out how we could blend contemporary crittal glazing in a period property and then it came to me.

We loved the stained glass front window with its central arch and it gave me the inspiration not only for the back wall but the internal doors too , so I sketched out my idea and handed it over to a supplier to create the dream!

It wasn’t easy and took a long time BUT we got there and it has created a truly magical space which comes to life whatever the weather.

Interestingly The Hermitage was built 1880 and crittall was invented in the 1880s so I am glad we could give it a moment all over again.

Light and space is important for me, I am a huge fan of the work in the U.S by designers and stagers like Meredith Baer who really understand scale. I wanted an open plan space that was bright and airy but also had corners of cosiness throughout.

The most used room has to be the kitchen, I never get bored of the light, the scale and seeing the trees through the skylights, it offers a sense of the country whilst living an urban life - the best of both worlds.

The Stylist in me loves to experiment with different aspects of my home all year round, I especially love how I can switch our living and dining spaces around depending on time of year. For example, dining in our front room when we want to be cosy, moving back to the open plan living space for the summer months.

The seating in the kitchen/living space by the garden is just fab and completely mesmerising when it rains, or even better when it snows, so I just love the versatility of the spaces on ground floor. 

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The garden design evolved around the apple tree, and like my home has evolved as we have lived here.

We had different levels to work with so built up a grey oak composite wood effect decking. This decking is amazing as it is completely maintenance free and better still not slippery when wet - perfect with two boisterous boys!

Rather than place a table and chairs on top, taking up space, I designed a sunken dining area. A top styling tip from me would be to put mirrors on a back wall of a garden, it really helps open up the space and gives the illusion of a bigger size, so perfect if you have say, a courtyard garden.

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Our Basement continues to evolve as the family needs change, it is now a media/play room and a self contained flat and utility with a wine cellar and sauna to come (one day!). I want to be able to put on the sales particulars (as and when we come to sell) all of these amenities.

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When it comes to styling my own home, I think it is clear to see the work I do for EHG Home reflected here - I love working with natural textures, bold patterns, animal and sea inspired pieces (our turtles are one of my most treasured possessions!) and creating an overall sense of laid back luxury throughout.

I love sharing my home, i know people may not like the idea of someone sleeping in your bed or have concerns about someone “trashing” it but I have quite a strict criteria and use Stay One Degree as a platform for Holiday Lets.

They provide more of a Homeowner Network, allowing you to connect and rent from people, friends of friends that you trust all over the world in a matter of minutes.

And I am up for a Home swap too! I enjoy living at The Hermitage and love the idea of others using it and enjoying it too when visiting London whilst we are away. 

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To keep my home looking wonderful, I of course have the advantage of having an entire Prop cupboard at my disposal via EHG Prop!

Having curated so many beautiful and varied pieces over the years as a Home Stager & Interior Stylist, it seemed only natural to launch this service venture and pull together our first collection for short-term hire. EHG Prop has an abundance of prop hire pieces suitable for creative, commercial and at home purposes, and I love knowing we have launched a service that is accessible to everyone.

The Hermitage is first and foremost our family home and we love it here, we have always hosted parties and had film and TV shoots here as we want the space to be used and appreciated (and it helps pay the bills! ). Our door has always been open to like minded creative people as a unique space to host events and workshops, meetings, networking events, launch parties, pop ups......anything goes (within reason!) and with access to a huge collection of fabprops and furniture for hire, we are a "one stop shop"

If required, I can help create any vibe you like being the fab Stylist I am, so email or DM me if you have any requirements, I hope we can all work together soon!

If you would like to learn more about EHG Prop you can follow us on Instagram here.

If you would to learn more about EHG Home you can follow us on Instagram here.

And, you are of course invited to follow me on Instagram for my day to postings on all things home, interiors, lifestyle and inspiration here. I would love to hear from you!

Have a great January!

Kate x

Chloe Staples