Louise Page was an art dealer, specialising in contemporary art, but has now returned to her studies and is concentrating on taking a degree in philosophy. Her husband, Matthew Page, works in the music business
We moved from Wandsworth to Clapham seven years ago. We have done up a few houses over the years, but this was the last one we wanted to do. I have always lived in either Battersea, Wandsworth or Clapham and this house in particular is so convenient. It is great for transport, it's near to both the City and the West End, there are buses, the Tube and shops at the end of the road. Clapham High Street has lots of good restaurants and everything you want is there.
"If you're working, it's easy to live here because you don't have to get in the car and drive everywhere, and with two children - Olivia, who is nine, and Allegra, who is four - and a dog, which we exercise on the Common, it is a perfect place for us.
"I've always worked from home and until three years ago, I was selling contemporary British painters to corporate collectors. All the paintings in the house have a story behind them and are connected to me in some way. Many are by artists I have worked with and sold. In the hallway there are some architectural pictures by Langland and Bell, which I love. They are floor plans of mosques on embossed white paper and as they have to be lit properly, we put in special lights for that purpose.
"When we bought the house, it had been owned by the same family for 25 years. It was very dark with William Morris wallpaper in the hall and the space was very badly utilised. So we didn't have to do any building work, just totally re-organise the house internally.
"The strangest thing was that they used the conservatory at the back to keep rabbits in. They were hopping all over the place. We have turned the conservatory into our dining room. It's a big space and we put on a solid roof instead of glass, so you don't have those awful temperature extremes from summer to winter. The room looks over the garden, which is really lovely with lots of mature plants. We spend a lot of time in the garden, it's just like having an extra room - although not at this time of year!
"The house has evolved over the years. At first, it was very calm, very minimal in creams and white. Eventually I thought, 'This is all very boring' and started brightening it up. When there are children around, it's nice to have strong colours. So, when I did the kitchen, I put in an orange wall at one end, and over the units on one side there is a glass splashback, which I put over a turquoise wall to make it look more green. On the other side of the kitchen there are white units, which are cantilevered into the wall. This has a walnut finish and you can see it around the units. In the dining room, I painted the walls purple, although two of the walls are mostly windows and we have a large purple sofa in the drawing room.
"On one side of the conservatory, there is a huge spot painting, à la Damien Hirst, which I painted in acrylic. The children were allocated a couple of spots each and it took ages to do, although it was really fun doing it. I had to make a grid and measure everything to the last millimetre. It was a nightmare and the measuring took about two months.
"To make the circles, I had to use a protractor, something I hadn't used since I was at school. The picture looks deceptively simple, but it was all mapped out beforehand and I had to do several preliminary drawings to make sure the colours were complimentary to each other. I like a bit of humour in a house. Nothing should be taken too seriously and I don't think art should be on its best behaviour.
"We have lots of cupboard space. My husband is tidier than I am, but big cupboards are just so practical with children. You can pull things out and then put them away again easily, which means you have more space. Space in London is such as premium, especially internally. Beside the spot painting is a another huge cupboard with sliding doors, where we keep all our china. I particularly like sliding doors and I have designed several of them throughout the house. There are two into one of the bathrooms, one into our bedroom and another into my walk-in wardrobe, which I absolutely love. It's so nice not having to scrabble around to find your clothes. They all have five opaque glazed panels, so when closed they let in lots of light and when open, make the room look more spacious.
"The owners of the house before us took the finial on the newel post at the bottom of the stairs and I thought I really ought to put something there. So I found a huge glass paperweight and put it on top of the post instead. Everyone remarks on it when they see it for the first time.
"And on the wall in the lobby before the kitchen, I've painted the text of my favourite poem by Yeats. It's a really beautiful poem, the one which begins 'He wishes for the clothes of heaven' and it's nice to see it every day without having to look it up in a book."
The five-bedroom house in Elms Road, London SW4 is on the market via Douglas & Gordon (020-8675 4400) for £1.25 millionReuse content