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How this designer transformed a derelict mattress factory into a comfortable home

Designer Lynda Gardener mixes old and new with the found and the collected to create a warm sense of whimsy in her inner-city home

Lynda Gardener, an interior decorator and owner of boutique accommodation, is an avid collector. Her warehouse home is filled with countless treasures she has slowly collected throughout the years.

What is now a light-filled haven for Lynda, her partner, Mark Smith, and their beloved cocker spaniel, Jack, was originally a derelict mattress factory.

“When I purchased this warehouse 15 years ago, it was a mechanical store with an asbestos ceiling, caved-in roof, with plumbing hanging from the wall with absolutely no windows,” says Lynda. “But I could see its potential and I instantly fell in love – I wanted this property, no matter what,” she says.

The challenge was then set to transform the neglected warehouse space into the vibrant home the couple lives in today.

As an interior decorator and having renovated a few of her own properties already, Lynda was keen to take on the design of the warehouse herself. The renovations were extensive, as the warehouse was uninhabitable and
literally falling apart.

Lynda started by installing concrete floors, a new ceiling and changed the roof into a classic pitch style to let in more natural light and add the illusion of more space. The roof is now the main feature of the upstairs spaces. The open-plan upstairs area was once a number of small rooms, which were opened up to provide one huge space to house the bedroom, open bathroom (complete with claw-foot bath) and a walk-in wardrobe.

The interior spaces are now bright and full of sunlight throughout the day. “The original warehouse space had no internal redeeming features and was dark and dreary, so large bi-folding doors were installed to create lots of light,” says Lynda.

When designing the new spaces, high on the priority list was a bright and white open space, retaining the integrity of the original building by keeping things simple – something that resonates with the redesign.

“For the interior spaces, industrial and one-off feature lighting pieces were a must,” says Lynda.

The interior is a mix of old and new with found and collected objects. A self-confessed hoarder, one of Lynda’s favourite collections at the moment is a wall of painted portraits.

“I love sourcing items for my home. I have a storage warehouse full of collections. I change things constantly – six months ago, I had a different couch and artwork on the walls,” she explains. “I have always surrounded myself with the things I love most and I still visit a flea market store every week. Somehow, it all comes together in my home, to make it how I believe a home should be – comfortable, lived in, with layers of textures, stories and unique pieces, both old and new.”

Lynda’s design secrets

  • I love a simple backdrop, for instance, keeping to one colour such as white walls and white floors, to let the collections and furnishings speak.
  • Put your own stamp and personality into your home. Incorporate what you love to collect. This could be anything from painted portraits to 1960s vases or stacks of old books. You want to have uniqueness and something that says it’s you who lives here.
  • Choose what you love and don’t be swayed by the obvious fashion of the time. One-off vintage items will always bring character into your home.

Words by:Hande Renshaw. Photography by: Scott Hawkins.

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