Extravagant, moi! How one woman transformed her south London home into a mini Palace of Versailles…

Jewellery designer Caroline Haelterman loves 17th century art and design so much that she transformed her home into a mini Versailles

A miniature sculpture in the style of 17th century Italian artist Bernini and an extravagant (not to mention enormous) chandelier may be the first things you notice when you step through the threshold of Caroline Haelterman’s home, but your eyes won’t linger there for long.

Lurking behind the door to the jewellery designer’s flat in Borough, south London, is a little slice of 17th-century Versailles, complete with a vaulted ceiling and antique furniture and paintings galore.

The 49-year-old former interior designer bought the property from the developer in 1997 and immediately set about putting her own, um, rather baroque, stamp on it.

The heart of the home is the living room, which features a triple-height vaulted ceiling overlooked by a mezzanine level with an intricately carved wooden balustrade that was once part of a gypsy caravan.

In the opulent master bedroom a grand four-poster bed dominates the room that leads to a separate dressing room and mirrored bathroom.

Even in the kitchen Caroline has gone to extreme measures to disguise all evidence of modern living by carefully camouflaging the oven inside a marble table.

The TV and office equipment are similarly stowed away inside invisible cupboards meticulously installed by Caroline to look as authentic as possible.

‘It’s my favourite period in history and I wanted to create something that evoked that time, but that was also liveable’, she told the Daily Mail.

‘I’d been looking all over London and had seen some dogs of flats. It was an empty white shell, but I really liked the space. The fact it was empty gave me a good idea of what could be achieved.’

From the outside the flat looks like any other unassuming Victorian building conversion. Caroline, who is originally from Belgium, spent three months overseeing the project to transform the flat into a mini Versailles and even created the trompe l’oeil brickwork on the plastered walls in the dining room.

But after nearly 17 years in the flat Caroline and her husband have decided to sell their little slice of the past to move to a bigger property in Henley-on-Thames.

So, if you’re bonkers for a bit of baroque and have £1.25 million to spare, give them a call. Or perhaps send a carrier pigeon with your carefully crafted quill-written note sealed in wax – naturally!

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