Historic Homes

A Chic Cottage in London, England

Kemi Lawson, co-Founder of The Cornrow, invites us inside her utterly charming home in Northern London, which she affectionately refers to as Cottage Noir.

Originally built in the 1750s, Cottage Noir is a harmonious fusion of two workmen's cottages—one serving as a bakery, the other as the residence for the baker. Today, Kemi Lawson shares this charming space with her husband and two daughters, seeing themselves as the new guardians entrusted with its legacy.

Stepping inside, you'll be captivated by the Afro-Aristo meets Caribbean chic aesthetic that permeates every corner. Kemi, with Nigerian and Jamaican roots, drew inspiration from her heritage, adorning the home with art and textiles reminiscent of her childhood in Lagos, Nigeria. The result is a celebration of the African-Aristo diaspora, showcasing a high-end, luxurious interpretation. Each room tells a story of the past and present, beautifully interwoven in a tapestry of cultural richness.

Having spent 15 years in finance, Kemi discovered her passion for decorating upon moving into Cottage Noir. Faced with the challenge of finding a modern African-Aristo Caribbean chic aesthetic, she identified a gap in the market. Thus, The Cornrow was born—a business venture she embarked on with her sister. The Cornrow offers a curated edit of modern African-Aristo decor, marrying history, art, and contemporary design.

As you explore Cottage Noir, notice the black and white geometric patterns that dance through the space, symbolizing a perfect harmony. West African symbolism and imagery, including nods to Haitian freedom fighters, are thoughtfully sprinkled throughout. Hand-dyed fabrics add a tactile and personal touch, creating an atmosphere of celebration and remembrance for Kemi's ancestors.