Dezeen Magazine

Making Living Lovely by 2LG Studio
2LG Studio used controversial pink for their project Hither Green

2LG Studio shares favourite projects from their book Making Living Lovely

Founders of 2LG Studio Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe have written a book to empower people to embrace colour in their interiors. Here they pick their top five projects.

Called Making Living Lovely, the book lays out the 2LG Studio – short for Two Lovely Gays – design philosophy and takes the reader through the inspiration behind their work.

"We felt there was something that needed to be said about finding the freedom to live your best life and not conform but to embrace your style and free your home," Whitehead told Dezeen.

"The book embraces wide design influences and influences of popular culture in a non-judgemental way."

For one glamorous project, Making Living Lovely lists Joan Collins and the 80s hit show Dynasty as a starting point. At the back, the 2LG Sourcebook recommends watching Sex and the City and "strutting" to Little Mix.

Making Living Lovely by 2LG Studio
Russell Whitehead and Jordan Cluroe are a couple and the founders of 2LG Studio

The design world can have staid and buttoned-up attitudes to decoration, the pair have found.

"When we launched our business [in 2013] we were made very aware of boundaries and rules and the 'right' way to design," said Whitehead. "The widely accepted way to design homes and live in our interiors was rammed down our throats and we wanted to dive straight into the middle of that and hold firm to what we loved."

One example is pink. While it might be popular, people still have a lot of preconceived notions about the colour.

"The ongoing gender battleground that is pink never ceases to amaze us. Why is it so challenging and confronting for so many people in their homes?" asked Whitehead. "We can't tell you the number of times we have posted an interior with pink in it [on Instagram] that someone has commented 'nice for a girl's bedroom'."

Reductive ideas about who can enjoy particular colours can make people opt for safe but bland hues.

"Perhaps the reason grey and neutrals have been so prevalent for so long is partly that they are neutral in the gender spectrum," mused Whitehead. "We hate boxes and prefer to think of a sliding scale for style as much as gender."

Making Living Lovely gently guides the reader towards finding room for fun and colour in their homes.

"Take some time to unpick your own habitual judgements. Listen to your own inner voice and don't let rules or gender constructs cloud your vision," advised Whitehead.

"If you love something but feel it will bring your gender into question, drive towards it and embrace that. The only opinion that matters is your own."

Being LGBT+ has given the design duo, who are also a couple, a unique perspective.

"The struggles of growing up queer opened our eyes up to wider individual struggles early on," said Whitehead.

"Home can be a haven in times of struggle as much as it is an empowering expression of how you see the world and a facilitator of the way you choose to live your life."

Read on for 2LG Studio's picks from Making Living Lovely:

Making Living Lovely by 2LG Studio

Perry Rise, Forest Hill

"Of course, our own space, Perry Rise, is a passion project for us. It was the first time we gave ourselves the freedom to express the way we want to live and the slow process of five years gave us time to indulge in some wicked collaborations throughout."

Making Living Lovely by 2LG Studio

Hither Green, south London

"Hither Green was special too because it has been a slow process with an incredibly brave young couple who were so open to the process. Their bathroom is a crowd-pleaser for sure, but it is also taking their life to the next level.

"This project happened in phases to make it affordable and indeed it is still ongoing as we are about to embark on a large extension with them, four years after the beginning of the project."

Making Living Lovely by 2LG Studio

Ercol x 2LG Loveseat

"We loved collaborating with Ercol on their iconic loveseat to create a Pride chair emblazoned with a new rainbow that reflects the way we see colour as joy.

"We have worked with Ercol for several years, specifying their classic pieces for our client projects, so this felt like a natural progression of that relationship. It raised money for Pride charities and put a smile on many faces, we hope."

Birley Lodge, St John's Wood

"Birley Lodge was an early project for us but remains a favourite as the client was so open and allowed us to explore our 80s Dynasty side in the brutalist setting. Who said brutalism can't be fabulous?

"We embraced the original texture, including exposed concrete ceilings and the original teak double doors in the living space, bringing our signature colour with terracotta tones and custom vintage upholstery throughout. We imagined the space as a city pad for Joan Collins."

Making Living Lovely by 2LG Studio

Tilford Road, Surrey

"Tilford Road was a total departure for us as designers with its grand arts and crafts architecture.

"We embraced the roots of that period and brought new craft pieces from Russell Pinch, Ercol and our own hand-printed floral wallpapers designed and made in collaboration with Custhom Studio."