Lulu Whitmore of Love Southsea, throws open the doors of her family home and talks about the renovations and buying property.
Words by Kate Thompson Photographs: Charley Whitmore
“I bought my first ever house when I was working as a lifeguard at the Pyramids – while my mates were out partying, I was at home with a copy of House Beautiful magazine dreaming of designer interiors,” quipped Lulu Whitmore, co-founder of Love Southsea, the events, markets and clothing company.
A 10-year stint as an estate agent, which led to her managing major property portfolios in London followed – and Lulu learned a valuable trick or two when it came to buying her own properties.
“It’s all about the layout and the location. I look for something a bit unusual and I really enjoy putting my mark on a home.
“We moved back to Southsea from a Grade II listed farmhouse in Denmead, and it’s the best thing we ever did,” explained Lulu.
They rented their four storey Victorian home in Herbert Road before buying, and Lulu could sense it was going to be a great family home.
“I always get a psychic sense of house – and I can tell when a property feels right,” she confided. But while the bricks and mortar might have been chucking out the right vibes, the décor left a great deal to be desired.
“It looked like a really dated guest house. It was all dark mahogany and Axminster carpets,” said Lulu.
“So we ripped everything up.”
Asked to describe her style, Lulu opted for: bohemian, gypsy gothic.” She delights in colour – and the darker the better.
“It’s very Pearl Lowe. I’ve got a black lounge with loads of colour in it, the bedroom is dark blue and the stairwell is Farrow & Ball’s Railings (a soft black with blue undertones),” she said.
Encouraged by their decorator, who had recently moved to Southsea from Shoreditch, Lulu’s stairwell makes a dramatic statement through the whole house.
“It’s the most grown-up paint job I’ve ever had – and it has made the whole house come together.
“I’ve had 30 or 40 properties, but I have to say I do love the bedroom I’ve got now – it’s the best I’ve ever had,” she said.