Room to create: a space for new beginnings

From the street it’s a Victorian semi, but inside this Margate home the magic begins

The exterior of Jane Risby-Rose’s house – a large Victorian semi-detached in Margate, Kent – is plain and unassuming. “I wanted it to be like a brown paper package,” Risby-Rose explains. “You shouldn’t really know what’s inside.” Rendered and painted a muted shade of mushroom, it gives very little away.

But behind the front door, beyond the mauve, panelled entryway, is a huge, asymmetric room with three different ceiling heights and vast glass doors pivoting out to the courtyard. It is clad in narrow strips of plywood and painted in blocks of burgundy and canary yellow. Contemporary art, sculptural lighting and reclaimed Danish furniture fill the room – as does the sound of classical piano and the chirrup of starlings, which dart around the paved garden outside. The effect is exhilarating.

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