Contrast beyond the pale

It would be understandable if a home inhabited by two designers was a temple to perfection.

Saturday, 27th August 2011, 5:02 pm

But what’s so striking as you step over the threshold of Atlanta Bartlett and Dave Coote’s Kent home is its air of informality.

This is an interior which cocks a snook at trends and transient fashion, and instead celebrates comfortable living with pared back decor – bleached, stripped floorboards, large squashy sofas dressed with light cotton throws, pale walls and an abundance of natural light flooding in through large windows.

“We both have a relaxed, simplistic attitude to interior design and believe that our homes should reflect our personality,” says Bartlett.

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“What’s paramount to us is good design, and noting fashion and trends but not following them rigorously. Then it’s about creating a happy home, not a show home.”

Coote, a designer known for his quirky, retro style with an emphasis on reclaimed materials, has put his stamp on all areas of the house, but none more so than in the kitchen.

“It’s the heart of the home and the hive of activity as a family room, where everything from homework to hobbies takes place. And it’s also where we entertain,” says Bartlett.

“We didn’t want it to be ‘fitted’ as that wouldn’t suit our style and wouldn’t feel as welcoming, so Dave has created a collection of units from vintage cupboards and reclaimed wood, and we’ve used polished concrete and aluminium so it doesn’t feel too quaint.”

While colour is confined to soft accents – washed-out blues, pastel pinks – there’s never any danger of blandness, because the whole is enlivened by a liberal scattering of children’s toys and stylish displays.