As soon as the owners of this ground floor apartment set eyes on the exterior of the imposing manor house, they were sold. ‘The house has a dream entrance designed by Sir John Soane, complete with Ionic pillars,’ they say. ‘We loved it before we’d even stepped inside.’ In recent times, the house was a gathering place for a host of rock stars and art greats in the 1960s. ‘It definitely feels as if an air of creativity is still floating around,’ they say. Initially, the ballroom-like proportions of the rooms seemed a bit daunting.
The family had moved here from a more normal house and felt that their style needed a rethink if it was to enhance the grand scale of their new home. ‘We wanted to create drama and glamour but without turning it into a museum set.’
Given the Grade II-listed status of the property, the couple have left the architecture to speak for itself’ and, apart from restoring the original fireplace surrounds and period mouldings, they have focused on the interior design and making the property work for their young family. ‘With a house like this, you feel as if youre looking after it for the next generation.’
The familys central space is a large open-plan living room with a dining area. ‘We needed to turn what could have been several cavernous spaces into a cohesive flow, says the owner. To achieve this, they have grouped carefully chosen pieces together and softened the look with rich velvets and large-scale lighting that add a sense of drama that suits the high proportions.
At the far end of the living area, gold-covered mid-century chairs and a gleaming etagere create the full luxe look reminiscent of a more glamorous era.
The Mint List
Finding a stack of paintings in the basement was one of the unexpected bonuses of living in a house with an artistic heritage. The couple asked the artist’s son (and former owner) if they could frame them and they are now hung in the dining area as a homage to the house’s creative past.
A stylish green old-school Aga sits inside an original hearth and is especially useful at this time of year when the couple have large numbers of friends and family to stay . It cooks a Christmas turkey to perfection – you just leave it in overnight, says the owner.
Green range cooker
This bedroom is shared by the couple’s three children. The large space has been cleverly divided into zones and there are extra-tall fabric headboards which double up as pinboards and are finished off with illuminated initials. These help to soften the whole room and also personalise this shared space.
The couple didn’t want the large nursery carved up into separate rooms but nor did they want the feel of a draughty Victorian dormitory. The solution was to create three cosy zones including this central play area where the children’s friends can also come and have fun.