Take a look inside a colourful Annex cottage that’s built for entertaining

Take a look inside a colourful Annex cottage that’s built for entertaining

Nikki Leigh McKean, a 38-year-old photographer; her husband, Victor Barry, the 37-year-old chef and owner at Piano Piano and Café Cancan; and their kids, three-year-old Sofie and five-year-old Charlotte

“We had always wanted a small house,” says Victor Barry. “This one smelled like dog pee when we first viewed it, but we knew immediately that it was the place.” He and his wife, Nikki, prefer compact spaces filled with a bare minimum of personal possessions. The two-storey home was dilapidated, and its interior was dark and awkwardly divided into tiny rooms, but it had a historic look, a backyard and amazing potential.

They worked with decorator Tiffany Pratt, who had designed the interiors at Victor’s restaurants, Piano Piano and Café Cancan. Over the course of an eight-month renovation, they opened up the ground floor and replaced the back of the house with a giant new picture window that flooded the space with sunlight. They turned the basement, previously a dungeon-like cement box, into a cozy den for playtime with Charlotte and Sofie. The upstairs bedrooms are now restful sanctuaries enlivened with details like a meditation nook papered with vibrant prints.

Victor is completely enamoured with the home. The main floor is ideal for entertaining. Nikki loves how the space feels like one big box of natural light. The decor strikes a perfect balance between her clean aesthetic and Victor’s colourful sense of style.

Victor wanted an oversized Caesarstone island for entertaining so he could cook while still engaging with friends and family. The island is wrapped in heavy-duty vinyl by local wallpaper and textile design firm Bettencourt Manor.


Colourful circular ottomans from Tonic Living echo the shape of the couch and add seating to the room. Binns Kitchen and Bath Design did the cabinets and kitchen island. The storage along the walls has no knobs because Victor and Nikki prefer clean lines.


The living room’s mirror and hutch both came from CB2.


Nikki’s meditation corner has wallpaper by Pierre Frey.


Nikki didn’t love the Anthropologie pendant light at first, but she relented when Victor pointed out that it blends in. The Amrapali peony wallpaper from Designers Guild combines Victor and Nikki’s favourite colours in one pattern.


These two diamond-shaped mirrors are small enough that they don’t cover up the pink, black and cream walls in the main bathroom. The hand-shaped light fixture is from Anthropologie.


This is the girls’ art corner. The wall is corkboard, so they can pin up their work at the end of each drawing session. The art supplies are tucked into Baba Souk baskets.


The carpet in the kids’ room is from Baba Souk, as are the tassel wall hangings behind the bed.


The master bedroom required no heavy-duty alterations. The cabinetry is original. A coat of fresh paint and some new brushed-brass pulls brought the wall into the 21st century. The Dormio mattress is organic. “They’re expensive, but you spend a third of your life sleeping, so it’s worth it,” Victor says.