At home with: Emily-Jane Brown

At Home With Emily-Jane Brown

At home with:
Emily-Jane Brown

In this happy home, the January blues (and pinks and yellows) take on new meaning

Words by Ali Howard

If you’re thinking of giving your home a fresh lick of paint this new year, take a leaf out of Emily-Jane’s book and find courage in colour

At Home With Emily-Jane Brown Profile Emily-Jane and partner Conrad worked with design studio WANDA to breathe life and colour into their period home

We can all swoon over colourful homes on Instagram, each post outdoing the last in its juxtaposition of daring paint shades and vibrant furniture pieces, but how many of us are bold enough to give the colour wheel a proper spin in our own home? Emily-Jane describes herself and partner Conrad as brave colour enthusiasts, with a playful sense of style, and that much is obvious the moment you step inside their multi-hued Victorian townhouse. The couple bought the property in the summer of 2021 and share their space with their two small children, Ralph and Florence, and their large fluffy Maine Coon, Spooky. “The front is grade II listed, but the inside isn’t, and at some point in the ’70s a large kitchen extension was added to the back,” Emily tells me. “When we bought the house it had been rented out to various people for the three years previously, so as well as being a little worse for wear, particularly in the garden, it was a huge white box. There wasn’t a drop of colour to be seen.”

At Home With Emily-Jane Brown The Pink Room The Pink Room


The pair worked with interior design studio WANDA on their vibrant vision. Here, the bold and unexpected ways colour is used is just as striking and significant as the colour choices themselves. Take the ground floor reception, affectionately known as The Pink Room. Save for the natural wood flooring, the pink paint playfully saturates the space; think radiator, door, ceiling, mantelpiece, and even the ornate fireplace itself, with the exception of the original period tiles that pop out against the contemporary, Barbie-like shade. Emily describes the room as “completely dipped” in the colour. “It makes me smile! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, there was a lot of peering from the neighbours as we started to paint the walls, ceiling, and shutters! But it totally suits us. I bought about 100 paint samples trying to get the exact right shade of pink. In the end we went with Nancy’s Blushes from Farrow & Ball, it has such a lovely tone to it, which changes as the light changes throughout the day.”

The colour wouldn’t have quite the same impact in a low-ceilinged modern build, and it’s only with the property’s impressive Victorian scale, complete with period features, that the pink sits so playfully and comes across as brilliantly irreverent. Emily tells me that despite suffering a little neglect under previous inhabitants, the house, thankfully, has maintained its original sash windows and shutters, ceiling roses and cornicing, and working fireplaces, and these are all lovingly incorporated into the colourful scheme. It is also thanks to the property’s Victorian scale that The Pink Room is sizable enough to accommodate a baby grand piano, which has seemingly been plunged into an oversized tin of bright cobalt paint. Emily reveals: “We bought it from eBay for a bargain price and then sent it to a spray-painting company to turn it from boring dark wood to sparkling blue! It’s a real head-turner.”

At Home With Emily-Jane Brown Kitchen

With pink being a neutral (the antidote to millennial grey), even more vibrant colours pop out, such as the rich purple and canary yellow in the open-plan lounge, which leads onto the L-shaped kitchen at the back. With its large open fi re and plush velvet seating that perfectly matches the aubergine walls, there’s a darker, sultry mood here, but it is no less fun. The bold colours in the house are matched with equally daring artworks. I wonder if Emily is a keen collector. “As Conrad and I both work in the creative industry, in advertising, art is sort of in our DNA,” she explains. “We love contemporary, graphic art and we commissioned a typographic artist who we love, Dave Towers, to make us a triptych to hang in the lounge. We then worked with The Yorkshire Framer to frame the pieces in rainbow acrylic box frames so they really stood out from the dark wall and complemented the artwork that Dave had made for us.”

Emily’s favourite spot in the house is the recently completed kitchen, and I’m keen to know its history, and the process behind the finished design. “Originally it was a bland, cream, unfunctional Ikea kitchen which we completely stripped out,” she tells me. “It had a modern dark tiled floor which didn’t suit the new style we created, or the house, so we removed that too and started from scratch. We changed the layout so the space could be used in a better way, and put in a lilac, modern, sleek kitchen from Wren. We replaced the floor with cork tiling and put up colourful wallpaper at the end of the L shape to help section it into a dining/ morning coffee space. We had bespoke white Corian worktops made, which are completely seamless (with the sink built in), which really helps to elongate the short end of the room, and a hand-crafted island made from ply and yellow tiles. It works so much better for us now and it’s a pleasure to spend time in, and because its around the corner from the other downstairs rooms, it’s like a final visual surprise for your eyes!”

At Home With Emily-Jane Brown, Purple Room and Hallway

Along with the blue baby grand, Emily’s most prized piece is the range cooker that sits proudly at the far end of the kitchen. “Originally we had an old, black Aga and after the first year we realised that, although we loved Aga life, the gas bills were just too horrendous, and so we had to replace it. That’s when we found the Everhot, an electric version that has the same charm and style as an Aga but doesn’t result in a large bill every month. It’s also the same size as an Aga so we could get one that would fit perfectly in the space we had, and in January 2022 they released a new colour called Fandango Pink. It is now the star of the house.”

I ask Emily-Jane what advice she would give to homeowners who might be a little cautious when it comes to using bold colours. “Just go for it!” she says. “We were nervous at first, particularly with the front room when we were painting the original stripped back wooden shutters pink, but once it was all finished the effect was stunning.”