She and husband Andrew were admittedly young and naive, envisaging simply a future family home, not seeing any pitfalls. ‘There were many and it was a total gut job, but the house evolved into a joyful home where our three children grew up,’ says Maya. ‘And it was only five years ago that we felt the need for a refresh.’  Their children had left home, but all live nearby and have eight children between them. Maya, who worked in advertising, and Andrew, who was in corporate finance but had studied history of art at Cambridge, drew up plans together to create one of the world’s best homes.  Sadly Andrew passed away a couple of years ago but his creative eye is in evidence all over the house. 


The major change was the reworked kitchen-diner. One of the kitchen ideas was to push out the walls to create a bigger space. ‘Previously the kitchen was tiny, in the middle of the room with a fairly unused conservatory at the garden end,’ says Maya. ‘Now it’s one big harmonious space and we make the most of every inch.’ Space was left above the kitchen units to give the original cornicing room to shine.

Dining room

A bar is hidden in the dresser, which chimes with the units in the kitchen. Andrew was Chairman of the Samuel Courtauld Trust and the couple have a wealth of pieces collected over the years. Art is everywhere, including on the shelf hung over the radiator. One of the dining room ideas was to replace double doors with sliding glazed pocket doors to make the most of the couple’s art collection and allow it to be seen while dining. Parquet flooring strikes a classic note and the gallery of art highlights the stunning curved wall.

Living room

Towards the end of the renovation, Maya approached designer Cath Beckett, a friend of her son and one half, with Liv Wallers, of the relatively new practice Yellow London to help with the finishing touches. ‘I wanted a young, bright eye on the house for a fresh take,’ she says.  Cath continues: ‘Liv and I were just starting out after having met as assistants at Joanna Wood Interior Design and it was a great opportunity to put our skills to the test. ‘Our brief was to inject some fun and modernity, working alongside existing furniture, art, antiques and treasured family items.’ Living room ideas included swapping the old gold trompe l’œil walls for a calmer backdrop to make the couple’s art sing out.  Cath brought in vintage leather armchairs and brass side tables, contemporary color pops with green silk lampshades and bold, patterned blinds. Maya’s antique wooden living room chairs, previously with taupe cushions, were updated with a more gregarious green print. ‘There is great joy in seeing treasured pieces given a new lease of life,’ says Cath. The period features and antique pieces take on a new lease of life when juxtaposed with bold color and modern, streamlined furnishings.

Main bedroom

One of the bedroom ideas was to introduce a grasscloth-look wallpaper for another element of texture to ensure a rich aesthetic.

Main bathroom

Bathroom ideas included revamping the existing space by adding a marble surround to the bath and putting in a new patterned floor.


The lower ground floor was designed to accommodate the grandchildren, with bedrooms and a playroom, so their noise and paraphernalia is contained.  New headboards, lampshades and blinds were introduced in the guest bedrooms and bathroom, along with colorful cushions throughout. Playing with bold pattern has paid off in this guest bedroom – the mix is vibrant but evokes a wonderfully luxe feel. Now the house has a harmonious layered look that is both timeless and modern. ‘There has never been any reason to move and I will stay here for a long time to come,’ says Maya. ‘I love how the house has adapted over the years and that it continues to evolve.’  Yellow London is celebrating its fifth year of business and has large projects on the go, including a new home Maya is building in Cornwall and a Grade ll-listed house in Hertfordshire. ‘Collaborating with Maya was a wonderful start for us,’ says Cath. ‘She was a dream to work with and really helped us on our way.’  Interior designer/ Yellow London Photography/ James Merrell