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Open-plan warehouse living

01 July 2016

Tucked away behind a busy East London street, Maxine and Maxwell’s warehouse apartment is welcoming and peaceful. An architect and freelance graphic designer, the pair’s approach to interior decorating is pared-back without being minimalist – blocks of colour, plants and keepsakes add cosiness and life. ‘We love the light and high ceilings,’ says Maxine. ‘But the other side of warehouse living is that it gets cold and dusty.’ Here’s how they make their industrial space feel like home.

Maxine and Maxwell’s open-plan warehouse apartment in London
A portrait of Maxine and Maxwell

Maxine and maxwells’s home truths

OUR HOME IS… a 110m2 warehouse in East London which we bought six years ago. We were looking for a space that could double as a studio and an office, as well as a home.

A LIVE-WORK ENVIRONMENT… is about striking a balance. We have a dedicated work ‘zone’, but this is also where we have dinner with friends, so it needs to feel welcoming.

EATING TOGETHER AT THE TABLE IS… a habit we make time for, even though we both work long hours. It’s too easy not to communicate otherwise and just think: ‘TV, food’.

Easy kitchen update: colour change!

Want to give your kitchen a whole new feel on a budget? Try swapping the cabinet doors. ‘We both like block colours and agreed on orange cabinet doors when we moved in,’ says Maxine. ‘Recently, we felt like refreshing the space and put in white ones. It was much easier than fitting a new kitchen and it looks great.’

Show who you are

‘We only display things that reflect our passions or tell a story,’ says Maxwell. ‘Maxine likes to make clothes, so that’s why we have the tailor’s dummy. We also live for travel and experiencing different places – it’s nice to bring back little symbols of that.’

‘We love the sense of light and space, so we try to keep furniture to a minimum’

Maxwell, freelance graphic designer, London

Use different textures to make an open-plan space more cosy


Rugs, cushions and furniture in natural materials can make an industrial home more cosy. ‘In a big space it’s nice to have areas that feel more snug,’ says Maxwell.

Grow a windowsill garden


Plant a windowsill garden! ‘We don’t have outside space, so plants create a sense of the outdoors,’ says Maxine. ‘I love cacti – they’re sculptural and low maintenance.’ 

Make your table a multipurpose space


Layer plants high and low to make an indoor urban jungle. ‘The hanging planters added instant impact,’ says Maxine. ‘Plants breathe life into an urban space.’

Make your table a multipurpose space

Define a double-duty dining area

‘We use the long table when we have friends over,’ says Maxine. ‘But most of the time, this area is where I work on my projects and where Maxwell designs. Our wall of books and mix of chairs mark this as a workspace but also look welcoming.’

Cacti are a low-maintenance way to bring greenery in
Make time for hobbies at home
Maxine loves drawing in her spare time

‘When I’m not working, I love drawing, painting and making things. This space inspires me to be creative and think big!’

Maxine, architect

A calm, uncluttered sleeping space is energising

Keep the bedroom simple

‘We’re both early birds and find having an uncluttered sleeping space helps to energise our mornings,’ says Maxwell. ‘We like to do yoga and go for a run before work – it’s a good way to warm up the mind.’

Create separate open storage and sleep spaces

Create an open-storage dressing room

‘When we moved in, we built a partition wall in the bedroom to separate our sleeping and storage areas,’ says Maxine. ‘We recently changed our clothes rails for open wardrobes on each side. It’s so much more organised now and feels like a nice place to get ready each day.’ 

‘I’m quite tidy, whereas Maxine is chaos theory in practice! In an open-plan home, it helps if everything has a place’


A floorplan of Maxine and Maxwell’s apartment


‘We only changed a few things after we moved in six years ago,’ says Maxine. ‘We added a new kitchen, painted the floor, put in lights and built a partition wall in the bedroom. We love warehouse living and the open-plan layout, which feels sociable and liberating.’

Made by

Photography: Michael Sinclair
Styling: Ashlyn Gibson

Artwork in living area (architectural drawing): Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Bill Murray/Life Aquatic print for Little White Lies Magazine Paul Willoughby