Vivid Victorian

At first, the concept of a modern Victorian home appears contradictory: how can the rigid architecture and overstuffed design of the Victorian house mesh with contemporary open floor plans and integrated spaces? In Victorian Modern (Thames and Hudson, July 2023), interiors journalist Jo Leevers explores how today’s homeowners creatively approach modern living within nineteenth-century Victorian structures. Surveying distinct spaces—including hallways, living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, workspaces, and more—Leevers explains the peculiar characteristics that make up a Victorian construction before revealing the innovative ways present-day interior designers and architects infuse each space with personality and pizazz. “While the Victorians saw decorating their homes as a way to conform,” she writes, “we are free to do the opposite—to create rooms that invigorate and express our individuality.”

That essence of individuality is apparent in this naturally lit Welsh home, where interior designer Mairead Turner converted her rarely used dining room into a colorful home office. By combining budget buys—like the IKEA trestles that act as legs beneath the marble desktop—with classic found pieces (the Ercol dining chair came from a junk shop), Turner created a neutral workspace in the large bay window that allows the rest of the room to speak for itself. The bird-and-vine printed wallpaper and reupholstered vintage armchair add abundant patterns to the space, while bright blue Roman blinds, dusty pink ceramic tiles, and a wooden beaded light fixture round out the room. A saturated pink wall with a matching pink cabinet brings a final touch of serenity to this modern Victorian home’s cozy office.