Nichola is a local interior designer, working on many Dulwich homes over the last 6 years.  She is passionate about creating spaces that feel as good to live in as they look, with the belief that how we live and design our homes, can provide a great source of happiness and contentment.   

How long have you lived in the area? 

We moved to East Dulwich in January 2017, from West Norwood.  This area always appealed to me hugely, as so many great places to eat and drink and a friendly village like vibe. 

What do you most value about the area? 

So many things, which is why I love living here!   My daily walks to Dulwich Park with our dog Teddy, the beautiful homes, Dulwich Village and definitely all the great local pubs!   

The one thing you couldn’t do without 

The shops on Lordship Lane, food shops and the other independents.  During lockdown, when the only treat was buying good food to eat, I would queue for ages at William Rose, Moxon’s and Mons and I felt very grateful to have them so close. 

Your favourite place to go for a drink? 

The Lordship Pub on Lordship Lane.  I call it ‘my local’.  Love the food, wine list, atmosphere, lovely people who work there, everything!   I missed it so much when it was shut and very happy when the doors opened again. 

The best kept secret 

The American Garden in Dulwich Park.  It’s surrounded by huge bushes, so you feel like you could be anywhere.  I do outdoor yoga there with Tania Brown, which is such a treat.  A lovely way to spend an hr in the summer mornings. 

When I want to relax … 

I love the spontaneous glass of wine or two, at end of the working day with a good friend and chew the fat.  I’m lucky enough to have some great mates within walking distance, so there’s always a chance to catch up. 

What is your favourite shop? 

Home interior shops are my favourite, which makes sense with my job.  Ed on North Cross Road and Rigby & Mac in West Dulwich always have a little gem to purchase.  I think they buy really well and their stores always look well styled. 

What was the last thing you bought there? 

A beautiful ceramic plate with stunning colour detail.  Ceramics are a passion of mine and they always stock some lovely pieces.   I bought it as housewarming present for a good friend who was delighted with it. 

If money was no object.. 

I would buy a property in Court Lane gardens.  I’ve been lucky enough to work on a couple of homes there and had real house envy.  As they are set back from the road with the private garden at the front, they are shielded from traffic.  Plus the huge gardens back onto Dulwich park, so the views are uninterrupted.  You could be in the middle of the countryside in those gardens. 

The book I’m reading at the moment… 

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.  Prize winning book and Waterstones book of the year 2020.  Only just started it and looking good from the start.   Hamnet is Shakespeare’s son, the inspiration and reason he wrote the play Hamlet.  Fascinating. 

My secret ambition 

To become good at yoga.  I marvel at the poses some people in my yoga class can hold, which shows their balance and strength.  It takes a lot of practice and at least a few classes a week for a while to get there.  Work does get in the way of some class times, but I could do more at home if I motivate myself more.  To be good at anything takes commitment. 

Instagram @penmaninteriors