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Embrace your Space | Design at Nineteen

Justin from @design_at_nineteen’s home is the epitome of cool. The clean lines and dark walls are the stuff of dreams. Justin moved in to his home 3 years ago and has since renovated his entire house including changing the layout downstairs, reinstating the original arches and ripping out the kitchen and he’s not done yet. Still on the agenda is a loft conversion and the rejuvenation of the garden.

Justin, a South African, interior design graduate has a taste for the finer things in life, choosing to seek out the more unique, exquisite pieces for his home and taking the time to find the perfect thing while also being savvy and shopping online to compare prices. Walking into his South London home on a cold January morning, was like walking straight onto a set from Ideal Home or Apartment Therapy. It was evident that the placement of everything had been considered and the level of sophistication was effortless.


‘Elegant, timeless, monochrome, classic with an edge’

‘My favourite room in the house is the living room. It’s the place that we go every day, it’s a place where I feel cocooned and safe. I just love the style of it. Originally there was a door as you came in through the entrance hall, you would walk through the entrance hall and come to a door to the living room. We decided we wanted more of a square room so there was more space for a big sofa and to have more of an inviting feel. So, we blocked off the door in the entrance hall and knocked through the supporting wall that separated the kitchen and the dining room from the living room. That gave us more of an open plan feel which is what we wanted for this house – for it to feel more open. We have the advantage of high ceilings which gives the illusion that the rooms are bigger. We also, reinstated the arches that would have been in the original property.


Shop Justin's style here

Banish the Magnolia

When Justin first bought the property, it had been decorated to an ‘OK standard’ although not to his style and tastes. The kitchen was a white high gloss kitchen with a butcher’s block in the centre and there wasn’t enough storage, carpets ran through the house and magnolia everywhere. The first thing Justin did was banish the magnolia and beige carpets to put his own stamp on the house.

 What do you like about the bedroom?

‘The comfy bed. I like that it’s a zone that you go to at the end of a heavy day and it becomes the secluded area where you feel relaxed and you can just be yourself – you can shut off from the world and it becomes your space. I think the bedroom is an undervalued part of the home that people don’t invest enough into. It’s a space that you really can be creative with’.

 ‘Have all of your ducks in a row…’

“Find out what works for you when renovating a house. Make sure that you also check your trades – that’s something that people often glance over. Make sure that you get quotations first and everything is signed and ready to go. Often with a renovation, you can get carried away with your ideas and those ideas surmount to money and you can get into to trouble. Have all of your ducks in a row before you pursue anything.”


‘Lighting is one of the most important aspects of any aesthetic. It needs to be spot on and create different zones with the lighting. You need feature lighting as well as side lighting to create as many spaces as you can that have different moods. I think lighting is extremely important and one of the things that people don’t factor in enough when people are doing a renovation or trying to create a mood in a space. In our living room, we made sure to bring in a good lighting. There are three lighting zones, we have the main ceiling pendant or there’s the lighting that circles the perimeter of the ceiling, to create this we lowered the ceiling with concealed lighting inside, and finally we have the occasional lights to create the pops here and there.’


Justin advises anyone starting a renovation to never do your bathroom first and he learnt that the hard way and had to renovate his bathroom twice. The tradesman he had employed didn’t listen to the briefs that Justin had sent over and he came home to the tiles in the wrong places. They ripped out the first bathroom within a year of it being completed in order to do it again and luckily, it’s not Justin’s second favourite room in the house.

What’s your favourite part of renovating a house?

‘I love changing the stuff, looking at how the space works for you and not necessarily keeping the space as it was intended. I think it’s really important to look at the space and judge from that space how you’re going to live in it. When we first bought this property, we lived in it for a least 6 months before we even thought about renovations so that we could envision how we would utilise the space.’


Justin’s next project is the loft. He’s looking to convert the loft into another bedroom with an en suite and a walk-in wardrobe (dreamy). After that, Justin is looking to the garden, he wants to landscape all his outside space and create different moods and zones for entertaining.