Rachel Stevens, singer and TV personality, lives in a modern detached house in North London with her husband, actor Alex Bourne, and their daughters Amelie, eight, and Minnie, five.
The house Rachel Stevens and her family moved into felt like a big blank white box – apart from a few slightly bizarre style statements. ‘The developer had gone to town in the bedroom with a glittery silver and black wallpaper. It was very masculine and not at all me,’ smiles Rachel.
Despite her own star-spangled career, which began with S Club 7 when she was just 19, Rachel’s interiors style is far from glitzy. Think plush velvets, dusky pinks and dreamy artworks: ‘I prefer lots of soft, subtle layers that add up to a strong personality,’ she says. So out went the swathes of beige carpet and 1980s nightclub walls, making way for a gentler palette of deep pastels, livened up with rich greens, evocative art and flashes of brass.
‘As the frame of the house is fairly modern, I was keen to bring character and warmth into the spaces,’ she says. To help mastermind this mood change, Rachel brought in interior designer Emma Gurner of Folds Inside (foldsinside.com). A more coherent scheme of punchy pastels gradually evolved, to which they added shapely furniture and a cool edit of pots, candlesticks and smoky glassware. ‘I can’t resist buying cute little vases and potted cacti – I love how switching accessories around can instantly refresh a space,’ says Rachel.
Since having her daughters, the concept of home has taken on even more significance for Rachel. ‘I’ve loved building a haven for us all. To me, a house expresses your style but, more importantly, it’s about surrounding yourself with things that reflect your family’s story,’ she says.
For the four years that Rachel was with S Club 7, life was a rollercoaster of filming, touring and recording, followed by a solo career based in Los Angeles. ‘It was an incredible experience, but not very domestic – I was never at home, so I didn’t really learn to cook properly,’ she says.
Before she found pop fame, Rachel trained at the London College of Fashion. ‘My first proper job was in fashion, but at lunchtimes I’d nip into the canteen at Sony Music for a free meal, because my brother worked there. One day, two producers came over and asked me if I could sing…’ Twenty years on, Rachel is returning to her first love: ‘My goal is to create my own fashion and lifestyle brand,’ she says.
The music world ‘now feels like another lifetime’. That said, she’s got a fine collection of awards – music and otherwise – in her downstairs loo, including FHM’s Sexiest Women of the Year 2003 and Rear Of The Year 2009. ‘I thought they would fit in nicely there,’ she jokes.