Things have turned out just as the owners had hoped when they moved house over a year ago.
The family live in an enviable Grade II-listed college that was sensitively converted into apartments and houses in the 2000s. The four-bedroom property is set within the quiet oasis of an Italian-style courtyard, with elegant planting and a central fountain, and a terrace overlooking landscaped gardens.
The property the owners bought had not been decorated since the original conversion, so it was ready to be refreshed. Hiring the help of an interior designer that they admired was the obvious choice. ‘We like the way the company’s designs look contemporary but not ultra-modern,’ they say.
The owners love to entertain so they needed to create a comfortable family home that was sharp enough for receiving visitors at cocktail hour. Unlike similarly sized homes in the area, there’s no basement beneath this house and, because it’s a listed building, they weren’t in a position to create one. This meant that the sitting room had to function as both formal drawing room and more casual family room.
Whispering Cheik artwork by Sarah Dwyer
Josh Lilley Gallery
Helen Green Design
Fortunately, thanks in part to the building’s original purpose as a college, the sitting room is impressively large, which gave the designers the scope they needed to create a scheme that strikes the perfect balance between the dual roles required of it. Also helping to boost the versatility of this space are some clever design tricks, including tub chairs set on swivel bases so that they can face into the formal or informal parts of the room, while a cabinet one might expect to contain drinks actually conceals the television.
‘This is our favourite room,’ say the owners. ‘It was the only time we looked at the proposed scheme and said, “Go for it”. We particularly love the bespoke light over the table.’ Constructed from rectangular sheets of brass and bubble textured glass, it emits a wonderful warm glow.
In the elegant dining room, the dark walls come into their own in candlelight, perfect for giving evening meals a sense of occasion. The owners admit that the strong point of the house is the overall effect created by the architecture and bespoke pieces working together, and the lifestyle it allows them and their family to enjoy, be it hosting a formal dinner party for business associates or a family barbecue on the sunny terrace.
Hermès at Dedar
As there are no windows in this space, a line of glass-fronted cabinets with mirrored backs were chosen to bounce light around the room. Attention to detail, a fundamental principle of this home’s interiors, is clearly demonstrated by the repetition of linear design in the precisely positioned units, lighting and wide-plank flooring.
Lining bookshelves is a simple but effective way of introducing a distinctive accent to a room. Here, raffia provides a tactile contrast to the deep blue-black of the walls, while letting the objects on display stand out against its paler shade.
Farrow & Ball
This beautifully lit display is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. The storage is bespoke and designed to fit the exact dimensions of the space, alternating between hanging rails, shelving and drawers.
The neutral background is deceptive – a close look reveals the walls are covered in a textural tweed fabric, and the metal of the bedside tables and wall lights is hammered for a rustic feel.
The Fremont Sign artwork
A smart desk and chair provide a neat study area in the guest bedroom. Throughout the house, the high ceilings and windows that are small and set higher in the wall on the upper floors are a reminder that the house was not originally built to be lived in. Because of this, choosing furniture with the right proportions was particularly challenging, which is why almost everything was designed to fit.
Clean lines and light colours, together with a wall-mounted vanity unit and large mirror, give the bathroom a spacious feel. A textured grey blind adds warmth and ties in with the metallic fixtures.
Eminently cosseting, this scheme’s depth comes from an expertly composed blend of textures and colours. The fabric of the bespoke padded wall panels is inspired by straw marquetry and their square shape brings structure to the scheme.
Bespoke wall panels
Hermès at Dadar
Skilfully conceived and finished pieces have been offset by carefully sourced accessories, such as the floor lamp, cushions and bowl-type sculptures. The square shape of the padded wall on the other side of the room (see previous image) is echoed in furniture such as the chair and chest of drawers in this corner.