Banquette Seating for Silvia and Julian's Brighton Home as shown on Your Home Made Perfect BBC2 TV programme April 29, 2020 07:00

Your Home Made Perfect

Kiki Voltaire and Helen Atherton Designs have teamed up to help BBC2’s Your Home Made Perfect architect Robert Jamison transform a ‘rabbit warren’ 1940s house into a beautiful, contemporary home. The transformation was screened on the 7th April at 8pm.

We went back to visit Silvia & Julian's home at the end of 2019 and sharing some thoughts on their house renovation.

Silvia & Julian, Could you give us a bit of background on how you got involved with Your Home made Perfect TV program?

We bought the bungalow, as it was then, 5 years ago and I have to admit that I really did not see anything I loved about it!

Julian was absolutely sold on the garden. It has a beautiful long garden that although neglected, Julian had big ideas for this. In fact, I think that was the first thing he showed me when it came to me viewing the house.

It is/was a 1940’s bungalow with no particular features of that period and was a “warren” like living area. The most unlovable zone for me, as a person who loves to cook and prepare food for friends, was a very restrictive galley style kitchenette.

I am not entirely sure how I managed to get through 5 years of living here! There was always a plan that we would eventually change this and create a home that was in line with our way of living.

In 2015, we had a first floor built with 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. This improved the bungalow and our living so much, we knew we had to pursue with the downstairs. 

We did engage several professional people to help us come up with something that we both had a “feel” for but no-one quite visualised what our hopes were.

I began to search out TV programmes that were like 100k house (but with a much smaller budget!) and came across one that was looking for contributors that matched the scenario we found ourselves in. 

At this time, I knew nothing about who and what the project involved. I had seen an episode of a programme called I think, the 100k house and this amazing transformation of an old post office that a family had bought and had started to live in.

Robert Jamison was the architect who completely and radically transformed their space in such a way that I suddenly thought it could be possible that we could do something amazing with our bungalow too.

I found a programme that was looking for people who had a house that needed a compete transformation but that for one reason or another hadn’t happened. 

Julian and I did have quite different ideas to each other, and this didn’t help in moving things forward.

We began the process with Remarkable TV in December 2017.

At this point we were aware of what the programme was hoping to deliver and who was involved. It was quite extraordinary that Robert Jamison was one of the two architects that would be involved!

Could you tell us about the house project and why you choose the proposal of the architect Robert Jamison? 

When we were invited to the studios in London to see the ideas the architects had come up with, we were very nervous. The revolutionary concept of being shown the designs on virtual reality was incredible!

Robert’s was the first one we saw and it had a huge impact on both of us. It was an emotional one because it really did show us a vision that we had without having been able to actually visualise it. It so completely transformed the house in such an unbelievable way. We had no idea this kind of change could be possible.

Kiki Voltaire and Helen Atherton Design made the cushions for the banquette seating and curtains for you, how did we help you realise your project?

Robert's design is very considered, and the banquette seating seems a signature of his. As we had no previous knowledge of such seating and because it is such an important feature in our home it was essential that this was understood and created by someone who “got it”. As soon as we met Stephanie from Kiki Voltaire and Helen from Helen Atherton Design at the house, we could tell that by the way you were suggesting size, comfort and fabrics that you understood the importance of getting this right.

Your knowledge of material, the way they feel and work overtime was invaluable, as was your design and fabric expertise. You gave us plenty of fabric samples that we could choose from and helped us decide on the best way to achieve what we were after.

The huge curtain that separates the bedroom form the living area was so important as it has several functions to fulfill. It needs to feel luxurious yet timeless, create a “division” between the two zones and be insulating to sounds and temperature changes.

Your knowledge of materials and textures was invaluable, and we felt very confident when taking your advice.


What was the hardest decision you had to make?

Embarking upon the whole project! Moving out of our home was not easy and this was even harder as the project was several months late in finishing. We had no idea of how many decisions needed to be made on so many details!

Did we help you with your budget constraints?

We were aware that because the elements were bespoke, that we would not be able to buy ready-made furnishings, therefore we found it difficult to know what budget to allocate to the seating and curtaining. However, your quotes and communication during this process was always clear and when we had to make choices on the textiles to use, you gave great advice and cost-effective solutions.

Are you pleased with the fabric choice you made? 

Delighted. It feels soft & luxurious. It is lovely to relax on and we have also found it is easy clean too! We have hosted many friends who feel the same!

How do you feel about the house now?

We are all very happy living here. The home is beautiful. welcoming and calm. We are finally re-united as a family (our son had to live elsewhere during the building works) and it really fits our lifestyle. No regrets!


Images provided by Remarkable TV.

Watch Silvia & Julian's Your Home Made Perfect, BBC2.