An Open-Plan Living Space

An open-plan living space

The communal living area is the hub of the home. The glass doors open fully to the garden to extend the living space. Mel loves Marrimekko and had these striking panels made for the windows. The modern fire is a real talking point.

Design Furniture

Design Furniture

Most of the furniture in the room came from chaplins.co.uk and macandmacinteriors.com. The silver dining chairs were from the couple’s old house, but when Mel wanted to buy more, they had been discontinued. She added new red ones alternately around the table, which looks stunning.

Living in the US and Canada had a big impact on the Ellis family. Bob lived and worked there largely on his own for more than five years, while Mel stayed in the UK to bring up their children, Thomas, now 31, Samuel, 29, and Henry, 22.

 “Being apart was difficult at times, but we did enjoy our holidays to North America. One thing we particularly loved was the communal way of living there, especially one house we rented when we went skiing in Canada,” explains Mel. “It was open-plan, simple and airy, and all the family would gather in one main living space. We both said that we would love to have own house like that one day.”

Working Hub

The kitchen

The kitchen is to one side of the main room, where Bob loves to cook. This was the first kitchen Mel saw and, although she looked at hundreds, it was the one she came back to. She cleverly added a mirror as a splash back to reflect light back into the room.

“We loved the communal way of living in North America, with airy, open-plan spaces”

The couple lived in a typical Victorian semi-detached house in Teddington, Middlesex, for 25 years. It was a happy family home but, in the back of their dream of an open-plan, contemporary house. So, when a larger Victorian detached house came up for sale a few streets away, they decided to buy it.

“It was very traditional, with a Victorian-style conservatory on the side, French windows at the back and, although the rooms were a good size, they were very dated,” says Mel. “But we could see the house had enormous potential.”

Party central!

The bar

The bar in the basement is perfect for parties and Mel’s red theme continues with the Smeg fridge and bar stools. Her icon, Narilyn Monroe, greets you as you come down the stairs. Mel loves collecting and the display cabinet holds some lovely 40s china.


Comfort And Style

The master bedroom

The master bedroom has views over the garden and a living roof outside the window. Mel’s dressing table came from the old house and has mementoes of her childhood, including a dressing table set that belonged to her mother.

Hidden Room

The Japanese-style wardrobes

“Our architect’s wife, Fiona, suggested the box within a room,” says Mel. Behind the wall is a walk-in wardrobe and beyond that, the master bathroom. The Japanese-style wardrobes were custom made to fit the space.

A Glass Act


All the bathrooms have glass panels rather than tiles. Mel chose pink for the main bathroom. “I asked Bob if he could live with it and, amazingly, he said yes!”

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