When I posted a phone snap of Anna Atwal's perfectly pink Edinburgh drawing room (above) on Instagram a few weeks ago, it's safe to say it was a huge hit: "Looks delicious" "Total house crush" and "Wow. Wow. Wow. Anna has amazing taste" were just a few of the superlative comments. It was pretty clear that you lot were as excited about her house - and everything in it - as I was.
But what's extra special about Anna's home is that you can buy nearly every gorgeous thing inside it - from the wallpaper and paint, to the lamps and the sofas - in her expertly curated boutique PAD Lifestyle, which is filled with fabulous decor finds from some of the interior world's biggest names, as well as the hottest new designers.
So I'm very excited to finally be able to reveal this tour of her home, complete with Susie Lowe's beautiful photos. And if you like anything you see, simply head to PAD's online store www.padlifestyle.com or visit the bricks-and-mortar boutique on Edinburgh's Howe Street to bag one for yourself.
Oh, and before we crack on with the tour, just to add that Anna and I will be working together to create features and product edits for PAD's own blog/social channels, some of which will pop up here from time to time, so watch this space - and PAD's blog - for more fabulousness...
Anna Atwal is showing me round the third property in Edinburgh’s New Town that she and husband Haj have lived in – and renovated – over the past three years. But, confides Anna, one’s different. “We won’t be selling this house in a hurry,” Anna smiles. “This is the one we’ve been looking for, on the perfect street. This is home. So we’re here to stay.”
It’s easy to see why it’s a keeper – the house has me at ‘hallway’, a generous space which hints at the colour and pattern delights to come: green original encaustic tiles, leafy Christian Lacroix wallpaper and a throne-like rattan chair upholstered in deep pile apple green Designers Guild velvet. Turns out this chair is part of Anna’s own range of bespoke, hand-crafted furniture made in Indonesian and sold bespoke through PAD (you can pick any colour of velvet you like): “I love creating these unique, fun pieces.”
As we move towards the stairwell, light spills from above, reflecting off the pale walls and whitewashed floorboards. “I started by painting everything white, then layered on colour bit by bit,” explains Anna. The result is a wonderfully bright home, with grey accents below dado rails and on doors, fitted wardrobes, fireplaces and chimneybreasts to ground the space, and pick out interesting detail.
The white floor and walls also help to showcase the townhouse’s many eye-catching accessories, most of which can also be found in PAD Lifestyle, which sells a fabulous interiors-meet-fashion mix on Edinburgh’s Howe Street, and online (they ship anywhere in the world).
As I stand there coveting everything around me, I ask whether PAD stands for “Pretty Awesome Décor”. Anna laughs: “I’d love to say yes – and in essence in does mean that – but it’s really ‘pad’ as in ‘your home’. It’s also a launch ‘pad’ for independent designers – I love helping new, talented designers reach a bigger audience of design-thirsty consumers.”
One of the local artists Anna champions is Edinburgh-based textile designer Hatti Pattisson, whose ‘Into the blue’ velvet cushions adorn Anna’s blue sitting room. “Hatti was the first local creative we started stocking at PAD – she’s an amazing artist,” she enthuses.
As well as supporting up-and-coming artists, Anna has an expert eye for curating items by some of the interior world’s biggest names - including Jonathan Adler, Kelly Hoppen and Designers Guild - both at home and in PAD.
Perhaps her biggest designer crush is on Christian Lacroix – her house pays homage to his fabrics and wallcoverings, which add decadence and colour to nearly every room (and are of course sold in her shop). The mostly-white wow-factor kitchen, for example, is set off and softened by a Christian Lacroix palm tree mural.
The tropical kitchen mural is repeated in five-year-old son Leo’s bedroom, with added splashes of green. “Leo’s obsessed with the Incredible Hulk and all things green right now,” says Anna. “This mural worked perfectly in his room.” An oversized Bluebellgray beanbag (just out of shot) waits invitingly for someone small to superman onto it.
The hit of green in the Pols Potten lamps in the blue sitting room – which I christened thus due to its striking navy feature wall (Designers Guild’s Moonlit Night) – is another example of how Anna uses colour to take rooms to the next level.
And then there’s the dreamy first-floor pink drawing room, with which I fall instantly in love. A huge Muuto peachy-pink sofa, rose gold over-sized lamp bases, pink faux foxgloves in the fireplace and splashes of pink on inside of lampshades combine to create a restful yet glamorous space.
I ask after a pink neon light, spelling ‘amour’ – can I buy one at PAD? Anna shakes her head. “I ordered in a number of these for the shop, but unfortunately they got damaged in transit so I couldn’t sell them. This was the only one that survived, so I decided to keep it.”
The soaring ceiling of the pink room is accentuated by a super-sized mirror, large lamps and the big sofa. “Playing with scale is one of my top interior design tips - I especially love oversized lamps; they make such a statement.” Any more interior advice? “Accessorize with abandon! Make your home your own – there are no rules…”
Although Anna has no formal interior design training – her background is in PR and advertising – the years spent refurbishing their string of properties (along with an office refurb and another two flats) have clearly taught her everything she needs to know. “Some interior designers can be a bit sniffy about the fact I don’t have any qualifications, but I’ve learned as I’ve gone along. I’m always playing around with colours and layouts and different items from PAD.” How does husband Haj feel about the ever-changing decor? “Oh he’s happy to let me get on with it. Although sometimes he will come into the shop, see something he likes and say, “why don’t we have that in our house?!”
Chances are, by the following week, they probably will.
The Pink House loves...
Oversized lamps bring sculptural statement, colour and form to a room.
Art hung low means you can easily see it, and it feels more accessible
Fabulous chandeliers ramp up the wow-factor
I-can’t-believe-they’re faux flowers everywhere are an excuse for some stunning vases
Splashes of green bring vibrancy to the rooms – green goes with everything
The dark blue sitting room wall camouflages the large TV with ease
CREDITS - ALL DECOR SOLD AT PAD LIFESTYLE
Paint colour names – all Designers Guild and available at PAD
- The white up the stairwell and in the Drawing Room (pink room) is Cool Marble No 7.
- The white in the kitchen is Polished Cement No. 21.
- The grey chimney breast in the pink room is Cheviot Flannel No.39
- The dark grey below dado rail in the kitchen and on the stairs is Nottinghill Slate No. 36.
- The grey panelling in the blue room is Patrician No. 41.
- The blue wall in the blue room is Moonlit Night No.43.
- The grey on the doors is Partrician No. 41.
- The chimney breast in Leo’s room – Nottinghill Slate No. 36.
- Oversized lamps with black shades, by Pols Potten.
- Wallpaper in vestibule is Christian Lacroix “Eden Roc Amazonie”.
- Grey pendant lamp hanging down centre of stairwell, by Scandinavian brand Muuto, called Under The Bell.
- Pink sofa, Muuto.
- Artworks of the girl blowing a bubble/with popcorn by fine art photographer Romina Ressia.
- The head-and-shoulders close-up with paint splashes is called “Imagine” by Michal Lukasiewicz. “It gives me great inspiration every day,” says Anna.
- The Berber rug: “The Beukelen” by Berlin brand The Knots – “Pad is their exclusive stockist in the UK. A favourite of mine”.
- Coffee table in burled mappa wood, by Jonathan Adler from the Bond range.
- Sideboard, also Jonathan Adler's Bond range.
- Giant lucite hand, Jonathan Adler.
- Grey wingback Milano chairs, Jonathan Adler.
- Squashy velvet sofas: “these are sofas we bought for our first house, but have had them revamped in Designers Guild velvets and linens for this room”.
- Cushions are Hatti Pattisson 'Into the Blue' velvet cushions.
- Fitted kitchen by Roundhouse.
- Kitchen island (also Roundhouse) made from polished, book-matched Staturio marble.
- Bedspread by Kelly Hoppen.
- Gold splatter cushions by Jonathan Adler.
- Knitted cushions - “these are 'Vigga' cushions by a Danish brand called Care By Me – a seriously beautiful collection of hand knitted cashmere and Danish wool home and fashion, by a very talented and beautiful lady called Camilla. If you're looking for ‘hygge’, she's the one!”
A version of this feature appeared in the June 2017 issue of i-on, Scotland's largest lifestyle magazine, for which I write a regular interiors feature. Click here to read the magazine online.