PROPERTY SPOTLIGHT: Highbury & Islington
People talk about home-making, but our guardians Demetri and Pip at our Highbury and Islington property take it to the next level. Described as “Disneyland on acid” by one perceptive hairdresser, these two talented guardians turned a mundane bank into a 90s Miami time machine for the cost of 8 cans of paint.
The inspiration for this inner city burst of joy came from your standard housemate movie night. The flick? 1996 comedy classic The Birdcage, featuring Robin Williams and the unique Miami style of the 90s. Stepping out of the dreary brown-grey palette of Upper Street and into this vibrant haven is like a scene from Pleasantville as you can’t help but be uplifted by the feng shui of the room. Complete with cocktail bar and animal print it took Demetri and Pip one year of hard graft (I hear sanding for two days straight is a great way to lose weight) to achieve this DIY miracle.
Aside from the paint, everything that was used to build was scavenged or given. The deluxe amphitheatre is built from the boards initially used to board up the windows, the feature mirror was picked up from the set of a photo shoot and the zebra print – well that’s just inspiration.
Demetri and Pip mention how good it feels to have people come into their home and have their eyes pop out. Not many artists get to live inside their masterpiece, and Demetri is endlessly amazed that not everyone is taking advantage of the freedom guardianship offers. Future plans for the property involve a 2 metre cactus, a recording studio in the vault and a workshop.
Guardianship has given Pip and Demetri the freedom to cultivate their daily lives. Not only have they nurtured their habitat but they can now pursue their respective creative endeavours whilst living in the heart of London, giving them access to resources and opportunities that would otherwise be unobtainable.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this unique guardianship is how casual Demetri and Pip are about their achievement. In Demetri’s eyes, anyone is capable of this work but he believes the effort and skill required to build is always over estimated, unnecessarily putting off the inexperienced DIY hopeful.
After completing his qualification at the Drama Studio London, Pip spent 7 years working as an actor on various projects. His vision gradually expanded beyond performance night, and Pip now works as a creative producer pulling strings behind the scenes to give grass-roots productions the stage. Pip also runs a VR tech company with another guardian at the property bringing a new dimension to theatre through technology.
Demetri attended the National School of Furniture where he got his BA in Contemporary Furniture Design. After doing interior design for a period, it became clear that the corporate environment wasn’t for him and so Demetri branched off into his own creative endeavours. After some time spent building sets, he is now pouring his heart, soul and time into his fashion start-up whilst also working as the Head of Maintenance at a golf course.