Peponi House in Notting Hill

WORDS Lindi Brownell Meiring IMAGES Samuel Churchill


Peponi means ‘paradise’ in Swahili. And this is exactly what the Kenyan owners of a converted Victorian in London wanted their space to reflect.

Design duo Safia Qureshi and Maxwell Mutanda of Studio [D] Tale (based out of London, Cape Town and Harare) received a very specific brief. This 100 square metre, three-storey house was to be transformed into a home away from home, a calming cultural escape within a bustling urban environment. According to Safia and Maxwell, “the overriding vision was to create a physical expression of a ‘Wish You Were Here’ postcard greeting for each room as a response to the brief.”

Sustainable design was top of mind during the course of this project. Skylights were incorporated into the design to ensure the entire space was filled with as much natural daylight as possible. “This concept was continued on in the wet room, which features a dramatic sky light above the rain shower to steal a little extra daylight during the short winter days and enable natural ventilation,” explains Safia. “Natural stone was ethically sourced for the fireplace, bathroom and kitchen instead of composite stone to save on carbon footprint. For optimal thermal performance, natural wool was used to insulate floors and walls. Water harvesting was introduced to the terrace to irrigate all plants and shrubs.”

A three-storey high feature wall was also installed, highlighting a custom-designed cantilevered steel frame staircase.

The interiors feature a mix of modern designs, as seen in the work of Moroso, HAY, Established & Sons, Yinka Ilori, Eva Sonaike, WorkHouse Collection, Alvin T and Soane, with distressed pieces from the likes of Far Global and Gong.

“As designers and architects, we really enjoy working closely with our clients,” says Safia. “With Peponi House, we had the opportunity to engage with and construct a collaborative design with both the client and the contractor, which enabled us to push the design further in terms of aesthetics and structure.”

A short film (see below) was created to further express the feelings attached to various design elements in the space. “The film allowed us to express additional dimensions of the design to include ephemeral qualities, such as light and sound,” explains Safia. “Inspiration for the film came from Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love, where we depicted moments and short scenes to explore design characteristics of Peponi House.”

(video via Studio [D] Tale on Vimeo)

Visit studiodtale.com for more information about this project.