How I live: Christina Karoulla, founder of Decorum

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Christina Karoulla’s roots are in interior design – a skill she built upon when she launched home and lifestyle destination Decorum in Shoreditch back in 2013.

Dedicated to contemporary, industrial and clean-cut design, the brand now has two outposts: its Shoreditch location, which houses the more conceptual pieces, and the Crystal Palace location that acts as the flagship and features larger items of furniture.

Courtesy The Modern House

‘Our aim is to find and discover our very own modern classics of today,’ Karoulla explains, ‘we also focus on sourcing products that stand the test of time, as well as sustainable options for our mindful yet minimalist consumers.’

Karoulla finds herself ‘testing’ the brand’s products in her own home – a 1960s townhouse located in the suburban London borough of Bromley – and utilises the space for both content and inspiration.

Courtesy The Modern House

What is a home to you?
Home is where I feel safe, calm and at peace. It’s my sanctuary. Where I take a deep, meaningful breath every time I walk through the front door, walk up the stairs and into the open space.

What were your main design interventions to your home?
The townhouse house was built in the 1960s, so I didn’t do a lot in terms of the layout as the main design element was already there. All I needed to do was enhance the space by creating more light and openness. The mid-century furniture I sourced from antique shops just adds to the integrity of the space.

Photography: Stavros Agapiou

Would you say there is a synergy between your home and Decorum?
I like to think of my home as a minimal but warm and cosy space. I don’t like to have too many distractions at home. The colour palette is very basic, and the materials are kept to a minimum. I guess that does follow through into the business.

We like to keep the colours, materials, and styles as stripped back as possible, favouring clean industrial lines, although there’s a little quirkiness thrown in too. You could say my home is a paired down version of Decorum. It’s quite simple, really: we only source products that we would gladly have in our own home. And I only have pieces in my home that I love.

Photography: Stavros Agapiou

Do you use your home as a testing ground for Decorum products?
My home is the perfect backdrop to the Scandinavian-influenced and brutalist-inspired designs that Decorum is known for. We shoot a lot of the products at the house, and sometimes they don’t seem to find their way back on the shop floor.

The product selection process is done by myself and Stav Agapiou (the creative director who also happens to be my nephew) by subconsciously imagining them in our homes. If it works, and we love it, then it makes the grade and is good enough to feature in our product range.

Photography: Stavros Agapiou

What’s your favourite space in your home?
My favourite space is the sunroom. I love the shadows and reflections the light creates on the white walls between one and four pm. It’s my little quiet heaven.

If you could live in any building around the world, which would it be?
Oh, well! That’s the easiest question you’ve asked so far: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania. A house built on a waterfall. The natural materials used; the huge open panoramic windows with balconies and terraces on all levels. Did I say it was built on a waterfall? It’s still (in my opinion) one of the most unique and inspirational architectural masterpieces. Yes, I could absolutely live there.

Special thanks to The Modern House, which recently listed Christina’s house (sale pending) for supplying additional photography.

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