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KENSINGTON HOUSE

This was a new-build house; taken on as an FF&E/interior decoration project with minor building works only to the guest WC’s (turning them both into staff shower rooms). Other works outside of soft furnishings included specialist plaster finishes to the reception and dining rooms, new built-in joinery in bedroom 2 and the installation of a cinema room, including all AV equipment. The 1,114 sq m house is set over 6 floors and comprises of a very generously proportioned reception room, large formal dining room, family room, cinema and pool room, all located on the lower 3 floors. The entire first floor is occupied by the master suite, with the remaining two floors taken up by 5 further bedrooms and en suite bathrooms.

The client’s brief was simple. The house had to suit the needs of an international couple with a large family. As for the interior design? ‘off-white, cream and funky’ in the words of the client’s PA. The new-build house is a contemporary take on a Georgian terrace, combining all the conveniences of modern living with state of the art AV and comfort cooling without compromising on space and traditional proportions.

The house is entered at upper ground level, which consists of a double volume entrance foyer (overlooked by the mezzanine from the master suite floor), a free-floating staircase and the principle reception room. The entrance hall floor is Buffon limestone with one double volume wall hung in creased, pearlised wallpaper. The long wall on the right features an exaggerated silver gilt mirror and a rabbit fur-upholstered ottoman with chrome legs, whilst a forest of 12 Broom lamps, in assorted heights by Brand Von Egmond, complete the installation. The far back wall, housing the stair windows, is draped with a voile curtain, with hand-stitched voile circles, tied back with 3 bespoke silk and crystal tiebacks.

A centrally-located double door ushers visitors into the 66 sq m reception room. The bespoke, irregularly shaped floor rugs, designed by high end interior designer René Dekker, are made from a wool and silk mix; with the pattern based on the weave of the formal scatter cushions. These (3) are laid out in such a way as to gently guide the visitor either left or right without splitting the room in two halves. The front part of the room is used as the formal area and has been treated in a more prescribed manner, thus having the largest chandelier, combined with the well-known Vladimir Kagan sofas which are upholstered in faux kid skin. It also has two stylish leather chairs and a selection of Minotti tables.

The garden side of the room, has a less formal feel, using low Italian style modular seating in the form of the Dune by Emmemobile , upholstered in a light pewter velvet combined with the pearlised leather upholstered Dragonfly chairs, a faux fur pouf and an extra-large chair. The chandeliers are the small and medium Light shade shades and the art is an original mixed media on canvas by Scottish Artist Elidh Macaskill. A second entrance door to the room has been skilfully blanked off using two laser-cut metal panels, designed on the traditional damask pattern and hung with crystals. Curtains throughout are full height, lined silky linen with the over curtains done in a crocheted type cream leatherette and the whole scheme has been masterfully encased within the pearlised polished plaster walls.

The Garden Level is reached via the main staircase and comprises a passage leading into the family room at the back and the dining room at the front, both of which can be accessed through the centrally located internal kitchen. The passage houses a specially made giant Scheherazade light by artists Eric de Dormael and Sylvie Janvier for Ombré Portée. This consists of a floor standing light box incorporating 2m high metal rods with feather and glass bead tips, gently swaying when ever there is the lightest air movement. The luxury interior design in the family room is comfortable, warm and airy, decorated using soft creams and natural shades. The wall covering is a 3D basket weave vinyl and the floor is strewn with layers of sumptuous carpet and shag pile rugs. A modular sofa by Minotti is upholstered in alternate hounds tooth and plain silky chenille and is scattered with various silk cushions. The coffee table is made up of a mock croc upholstered ottoman and glass up and over table called the Ryan and Pat and these are complimented by a small Fil de Fer floor lamp from and the Cezar side table, a quirky hourglass-shaped design in off-white satin lacquer by Minotti.

The dining room, with is formal proportions, uses a minimalist Italian glass top table with stylish Italian chair, to great effect against the spectacular backdrop of the cross combed polished plaster fire breast, applied by top London specialist decorators DKT. The remaining walls are hung in a soft greige silk with the two long elevations using the Panel glide system to show off alternate banners of circular voile and a silk weave banners. These opaque and transparent banners allow the room to be treated with differing levels of day light, depending on the mood and the occasion. The jewel in the room is the Hellbob chandelier designed by Windfall. This serpentine layout, is made up of 12 wire frame, suspended balls, precision encrusted with thousands of Swarovski crystals. The spheres are shown in 3 different sizes and are hung at different levels, creating a sparkling ‘Milky Way’ constellation.

The basement floor of the house encompasses the cinema, utility room, large pool leisure room, plant room and staff quarters. The pool room is unique in its sheer size, covering almost 104 sq m - a luxury considering the space restrictions of most modern London. By far the largest area is taken up by the pool, with ancillary areas housing the open double shower and the Jacuzzi as well as the plant room and changing area. The far short wall is hung with a retro design washable wall paper, whose design inspired the rest of the silver and white scheme. To soften the room, the long elevation to the right makes use of banners in a striped sheer. Both long elevations are hung with giant glass fibre sculptures which were specially chosen, enlarged versions of the design on the wall paper, 3 in silver and 3 in white, unifying the whole scheme. The occasional furniture is a set of five pieces of organically shaped furniture, one sofa, one chair and 3 different size ottomans, fully upholstered in water proof fabric, called the Saryama Islands designed by Moroso and this is complimented by the crocodile embossed leather upholstered workout bench and matching dumbbells. The final piece of this theatre are the columns that appear to be made from water. The designer was inspired by a scene in the movie The Abyss, where water takes on an organic form.

The cinema room, originally larger but reduced to add a small staff room, is never the less a great family sized entertainment area, covering 36 sq m. At the far end of the room is the 62 inch plasma screen TV and accompanying speakers. These have all been cleverly incorporated into the new black suede wall, which has removable panels for access by the AV specialists. New overhead bulkhead lighting was installed, on a separate circuit, to compliment the existing system and to create extra drama if required. The carpet used here is a stone coloured strie loop pile, sitting well with the stone suede walls, and matching scatter cushions. Fun young seating is supplied in the form of the Boa sofa from Edra with the more grown up Loveseats. The master suite occupies the entire 1st floor and includes a mezzanine entrance foyer which overlooks the front door and entrance foyer below, a large his and hers bathroom, his and hers dressing room and the bedroom. The suite, entirely done in off-white, is entered by way of a small foyer off which the other three rooms lead. Together with the dressing room, the walls here have been hung in a delicate genuine mother of pearl wall tile laid out in a ¾ staggered brick format, ingeniously hiding the tile joints, making the whole area ‘seemingly seamless’. A bespoke contemporary plaster and wood sculpture sits proudly at the entrance to the dressing room. Originally in dark fumed oak, the dressing room wardrobe doors have been upholstered in a pearlised faux leather and the handles have been replaced with a chrome and acrylic design to soften the overall feel. A plush wall to wall, carpet finishes off the luxury interior. This off white, pure wool trellis design runs through into the bedroom, where the walls are hung in the most delicate moiré covering. Called Silver Snow from the Precious Metals Collection by Maya Romanoff, this subtle take on a classic style makes use of a gossamer-thin silk expertly glued to a silver leaf backing. This method makes the watermarks delicately dance across the wall depending on where the viewer is standing and how much light is being reflected.

Upon entering the room, one is immediately aware of the contemporary chandelier ensemble. Made up of solid Swarovski crystal and hollow glass candles, the master lighting designer, Ruhl Haagmans has created a modern version of the traditional chandelier, called The Balance. With the two main groups, each component is suspended separately from the ceiling by thin tension wires and is hung to look like a traditional fitting. No power is supplied to the actual components, rather they are spot lit by recessed l/v ceiling down lights. Between them, single ‘Little Balances’ float ethereally as if, like tiny bubbles, escaping the two main groups, over a tall silver plinth. The ’18 arm’ sits in the right hand corner at high level, over two arm chairs, finished in chrome and upholstered in pearilsed mock croc and a small round ‘Stars’ table. The full length Ice mirror completes this vignette. The 8 arm, suspended slightly lower, sits over the Phillipe Starck Darkside console table by Baccarat, the chrome chair and the specially designed, 3 drawer bevelled glass make up unit. Floating in front of the sheer voiles, a giant, shaped headboard float buttoned with Swarovski crystals, crowns the super king bed base, both upholstered in faux kidskin. The bed is scattered with a collection of different sized cushions in silks and linens, delicately trimmed with crystals and feathers, along side the fur throw and the linen bedcover.

Bedroom two was designed to reflect the taste of a young stylish adult with a penchant for Schiaparelli pink. Greige strie carpet is used on the floor and the window treatment includes self-patterned silk/cotton curtains. The barely damask design, done in minute glass balls on the oyster wall paper by Ulf Moritz, envelopes this sophisticated scheme. The complimenting bed in faux kidskin with its deep buttoned headboard and plain bed base is a classical style used in this contemporary idiom and sits well next to the simple chrome tables with classical leg. Extra wardrobes were designed to include a high- gloss silver lacquer carcass and sand blasting on the mirrors using the wall paper repeat. The plexi glass desk and chair , designed by Award Winning Interior Designer René Dekker, was made in a 30mm material and then added to with sandblasting and coloured up with a pink cushion.

Bedroom 3 has a slightly more 60’s feel to it, defined by the Missoni rug that dominates the room. The slight floral, painted anaglypta on the wall, glass beaded covering behind the headboards and the white silk and voile curtains act as a blank canvas for the multitude of colours used in this interior design scheme. Bespoke headboards in bubble gum colours, scatter cushions in silks, satins and mohair all expertly detailed with special trimmings sit playfully on the pink bed. The finishing touch is given by the fitted cream floral bedcover, framed by the contrasting throw in green mohair velvet. Added lighting uses pendant shades in matching fabrics next to the beds and a large floor standing lamp, swathed in matching fabric and topped with a fun drum. Other occasional items include bespoke fun-fur bean bags, chrome side tables on zebrano bases and the over scaled Govinda dresser detailed with porcelain daisies.

The turquoise bedroom (bedroom 4), although considered and quite mature, was in fact created for the youngest member of the family who had quite a definite opinion on her room. Layers of window treatment allow for the creation of a multitude of moods. Strict geometric sit between the plain black out silk curtains and the laser cut turquoise panels by Elitis. When drawn, these panels cast exquisite shadows over the thick luxurious rug. Again, bespoke headboards in exaggerated curves, draw the viewer to look at the beds, both upholstered in turquoise fabric.

Bedroom 5 was designed according to a strict oriental theme, which dominates the life of this family member. The bamboo partition headboard, dark wood bedside tables and lamps as well as the bed itself are all by Gervasoni. Further furniture includes two Japanese wardrobes designed by René Dekker, finished in aged oak and using horsehair panels from in the doors. The repertoire is completed with a contemporary upholstered chair and a reproduction Japanese footstool. Walls are hung in raw silk and the panel glide window treatment uses alternate banners of taupe mohair and sheer.

Bedroom 6 belongs to the oldest sibling in the family, whose request was to use greys, buttermilk and a smattering of red. Although the smallest room, it does not feel cluttered in here with the large Italian bed, upholstered in faux elephant . Simple complimenting grey wools were used in the scatter cushions. A lined silk strie makes up the bed cover and this is complimented by the mohair and satin throw. The bedside tables are wall hung drawer units as are the simple yet effective Luce Che Dipinge wall lights which use reflected light on a white-framed canvas to maximum effect. New zebrano doors replaced the plain taupe ones originally fitted by the developer, to add some personality to this small room.

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