‘We’ve turned our Fifties terrace into a work of art’
The couple behind the hip Artist Residence hotel chain have carried the aesthetic into their own home. They tell Jessica Salter how they did it
From the outside, Justin and Charlie Salisbury’s Fifties terrace home in west London doesn’t stand out. But as soon as you step inside their front door, into a tiny but brightly painted kitchen, along a wood-clad hallway and into a light-filled lounge packed with art and colourful prints, it is obvious that this is a home stuffed with personality. The Salisburys have experience of doing up places. They are the hoteliers behind the hip boutique hotel chain, Artist Residence, which is known for its stand-out style and as an antidote to bland hotel rooms. The couple started their chain, which will soon number five hotels, in 2008, by accident rather than design. When they were both students at Leeds University, Justin’s mother, who ran a guesthouse in Brighton, was badly injured in an accident. Justin left his accountancy degree to look after the business and, realising that the rooms needed refurbishing, put out an advert asking local artists to decorate the rooms in return for board. It was the start of a brilliant hotel proposition, and one that set the tone for future properties, as well as their own home. They bought their current house five years ago and called in builders for a four-month renovation. They soon realised Charlie was pregnant; when she came back from hospital with baby Blake, now four, the builders were still there for a couple more weeks. “I was pretty desperate for them to leave,” says Charlie. The inside hasn’t been knocked around too much. The largest job was moving the kitchen from the back of the property, in the conservatory, to the front of the house in what was an office-cum-spare bedroom. “It really bothered me where it was,” Charlie says. “It was very cold in winter and it made the living room quite dark. Moving it to the front of the house has enabled us to open up the space.” They painted the cabinets – which Justin designed and got built at a fraction of the cost of a designer kitchen – a dark bluey-green, and the walls were cream. “But I decided we needed more colour,” Justin says. “So I came home one day and painted the walls pink.” In an ideal world they would have upgraded the PVC conservatory installed by the previous owners with glass, but budget and time constraints forced them to be resourceful. “We had loads of wood cladding in storage, so I just decided to use that,” Justin says. (Charlie notes archly that her husband is a hoarder.) The effect is warm and rustic, with houseplants hung at different levels. It’s much more characterful than a modern renovation.