Ten minutes with Fiona Edwards

A no-holds-barred modern Victorian renovation in London’s leafy borough of Richmond. Come on in…

Ten minutes with Fiona Edwards
Let us introduce you to Fiona Edwards, of interiors-led Instagram account @fromtherubbletotheritz. Together with husband Ben, she’s been a Richmond resident (and seasoned renovator) for many years. In fact, the couple have always lived within just a few streets of their current house.  

The Victorian semi they’ve called home since 2020 is now spacious, minimal and modern. But to get there, it was stripped right back to a shell and rebuilt from top to toe.  

‘We’ve always wanted to live on this street, and this was actually our fourth attempt buying a house here,’ Fiona recounts. ‘It was a probate property last renovated in the sixties and had been empty for about nine years.’ 

Although ‘everything was brown’ and run down, the couple lived in the house in its existing state for a year before the work began. 

‘It was a useful thing to have done because we got to know the bones of the house; how the light moves around the property, and how we wanted to live in the space. 
‘Downstairs, the lounge and middle room had been knocked into one huge tunnel-like space that felt really unwelcoming.  

‘We have two dogs, and ideally needed a utility room with plenty of storage. We didn’t want to lose the beautiful light at the back of the house that we’d come to love, so we concluded that we'd need to add the internal middle room back in.  

‘The master bedroom was also far too big; stretching across the whole front of the house. So, we chose to carve it up to accommodate an ensuite and stairs to the loft.’  

Partnering with architect James Millar (aka @jaamarchitects) – the very same architect they’d used for their last home – a plan was hatched to replace the hotchpotch of small rooms with more generous, well-thought-out ones that flowed harmoniously.  

The reconfiguration also involved digging down to achieve higher ground-floor ceilings, knocking down the ‘wonky’ rear extension, and altering the floor levels to get in a good-sized loft conversion.  

‘In effect, we demolished everything apart from the front façade, which had to be preserved.’ 
As for the desired look and feel, it would, in Fiona’s words, be ‘high-end, luxurious and modern Victorian.’  

‘We went for a contemporary kitchen that really played to the angular, dramatic design of the new rear extension. The rest of the house sits within the shell of the original building, so here we’ve created a look that’s a little more traditional, but still pared back. 

‘We also knew that having beautiful touchpoints was important, because of the simple nature of the décor.’  

And that’s where we come in. 

‘I’d seen Corston in magazines and on Instagram and knew I wanted to use the products in this property. I went along to the Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour to see the pieces in real life and that really validated my decision – they were even nicer than I imagined! 
‘We opted for door handles, hinges and bathroom locks, dimmers, toggles and isolator switches, a variety of sockets, including fast charging USB outlets (I wish we’d had more of these in hindsight – they’re so fast), furniture knobs for our wardrobe doors and hooks in the utility. And they all really do look like they’re meant to be together.  

‘Some people say to spend your money downstairs – the floor most on show – and go for cheaper options upstairs. But I didn’t want to do that: I wanted to create a unity throughout the entirety of the house,’ she explains.  

Fiona chose our Bronze finish not just for its contemporary appeal, but also for its ‘textural depth’ and gradual patina.  

‘It’s a matt finish, but it’s not flat. I really wanted to avoid a high-shine, never-changing look. 

‘There are just so many different versions of the ‘same’ Bronze out there. I’d looked at other manufacturers of Bronze products and they were always either slightly shiny or silvery. To know that there's a finish that matches across all your touchpoints is, undoubtedly, a key selling point of Corston.’  

Quick-fire round   
The project in a few words? 
‘Pared-back, modern Victorian.’  

Favourite room?  
‘The kitchen – it’s just so different to anything we’ve ever had before, and the light is really special.’ 

Favourite Corston product?  
‘The toggle switch. I love the click!’