René Dekker Design was thrilled to be asked by the clients to work on this award winning and quite frankly ‘once in a lifetime’ project. Even a seasoned Interior Designer like Dekker understood the magnitude of what this project would need and what it would represent once completed. This was a high end London home that knew no equal! The client had always wanted the interior design to be a unique combination of luxury yet ‘playful’ elements, fun furniture playing off against luxe finishes….basically a dream project for any designer and boy were we ready!
Entering three levels up at what would normally be ‘Ground Level’ you are welcomed by a bright, light, breath-taking Entrance Hall Colonnade. To one side, an awe inspiring double volume wall made up of hand sculpted grey basalt blocks which is the ‘spine’ of the building, that runs through from the front to back of the building at all levels. To the other, a punctuated fenestration looking out onto a courtyard with ornamental garden. Here we are greeted by the first playful features, the over-scaled ‘Melt Mee’ chandeliers. These bespoke Murano light sculptures, made to look like traditional chandeliers that have melted in the sun, hold centre stage in Act 1 of this multi-faceted project. The scene is completed by another fanciful item in the organic shaped, emerald green velvet, deep buttoned banquette, set within a mosaic alcove. The space also benefits from a long shallow pond, lined in gold mosaic which has several water features and crisp white orchids, providing the tranquil sound of softly running water. To the left, a door leads into the two bedroom fully equipped staff living quarters and to the right, the feature bronze wardrobes in the cloakroom.
Gold was a big player in the schemes throughout the house and nowhere does this play out more than the Guest Powder room on this floor. This room is really a ‘pod’ surrounded on three sides by the two Study rooms and on one side by the Study lobby. Sensors automatically turn on the lights as you open the door, a must have option for any guest toilet where there are several lighting switches. Flanked on two sides by a leaf embossed plaster wall completely gilded in gold, this room will leave you speechless! Further details in this glamorous ‘throne room’ include a cigar leaf pattern granite floor which morphs into a matching polished plaster wall and ceiling. The vanity shelf is in a matching granite and this is topped with a metallic ceramic basin in the shape of a broken bowl.
The ‘His and Hers’ Study combines a masculine colour scheme with hints of gold and pops of red. Leather panels with top stitching line most of the walls and act as a modern take on a classical room, giving it a library feel and shows off the clients collection of Fauvist masterworks. The Powder room pod is completely clad in dark oak panels bedecked with a brass Gingko tree design and the floor is a rich dark chocolate parquet incorporating gold leaf in the figuring. An uncluttered and minimalist feel has been achieved by top London Interior Design team, showing restraint in the furniture choice, namely two identical desks in brass and leather with accompanying twin tone swivel office chairs. With just a hint of understated glam, the schemes are completed using modern table lamps ‘dressed’ in black crystals. This room also benefits from a long slot window with a view of the massive tree sculpture chandelier by Willow lamp and then looking down into family room.
At the end of the long Entrance colonnade, the stairs take you down to the open plan Family living space where the ceiling is at a dizzying height. The space comprises of an informal dining area, TV/entertainment and family kitchen. The first thing that strikes you is the feeling of light and space. On all sides the rooms leads out onto either the garden or the terraces through double volume sliding glass doors. No matter where you look in this wonderful space, there are eye-catching details that blow the mind. The ceiling is hung with two complimenting bespoke light sculptures, imported all the way from Cape Town. Designed in the shape of a tree when viewed from below with ‘branches’ dripping with various coloured metal chain, these works were a long process to get right. Not to mention the engineered slab that could sustain a ton of extra weight and the complicated extra works involved in the power supply and hidden locations of drivers, these pieces also include some cool integrated illumination. Each branch has several tiny up-lights which gently illuminate the branches above, then sandwiched between the branches are long strands of LED that outline the delicate cut out details. Finally there are several ‘saucers’ each with 3 with three powerful spot lights that shine back into the tree and create, not only a third light source but, magical shadows on the ceiling. The full height linen curtains add allure and style complimented by the pale neutral scheme. In terms of furniture, these rooms abound with Italian design! The dining table is a specially made Murano piece, with LED lighting within the table base which is dimmable on the main Lutron system. Adding that extra bit of sophistication, we sent the swivel dining chairs (from Spain) to the factory in Murano where they fashioned bespoke matching glass covers for the bases, creating a sensational ensemble. In the TV/Entertainment area a large 12 seat corner sofa wraps itself around the funky wall unit and there is a smaller more intimate seating area next to the suspended fire-place. Another jaw-dropping feature on this level is the liquid-metallised oak floor. High quality engineered oak planks were meticulously finished in ‘Champagne’ silver and provide yet another special touch to this amazing interior.
The mood and style of the house changes dramatically upon entering the formal Living room. Entering from the large hallway, the room enjoys three distinct furniture groups and is the perfect entertainment room for larger or smaller gatherings. The curvaceous space with its undulating walls is like a dark cocoon, embracing the luxury within. To the right is an intimate conversation space made up of 2 deliciously tall velvet arm chairs. Ahead a less formal seating arrangement made up of the iconic De Sede sofa in cream leather, a pair of gold velvet Italian arm chairs and a few small portable suede poufs. The scheme is grounded with a rich green circular silk rug from Colbournes and complimented by an early twentieth century oil painting. In front of the island fire breast wall, with its abstract metallic mosaic (made with silicone not glass) is a circular conversation zone at once directing the attention inwards yet also towards the fire. The walls here have been cleverly clad with a specially designed timber wall panelling with inset velvet panels and behind one set of panels lies the secret bar, a glorious piece of bespoke lacquered joinery in a verdant green to complement the scatter cushions and the rugs. The unit, which includes wine fridge, basin and bottle storage, is designed to fit over a stunning piece of back-lit agate composite again in shades of green and gold with the whole area crowned in a serpentine chandelier in crystal beads. The formal dining room is an extension of the Living room, making use again of the same wall panelling and sharing the two sided fire place. With seating for 22 people, we commissioned an extendable dining table from Italy and for some added drama we installed a fabric tented ceiling and a rectangular crystal beaded chandelier. Further features include a built in joinery unit with integrated warming drawers, hidden storage for crockery and glassware and a full height window overlooking the pool.
The Formal Reception leads not only to the Dining room but also to the indoor pool. The house is unique in that the pool is next to the principle entertainment areas; with space in London at a premium, the pool is usually designated to the lower ground or basement floors. And what a pool this is! Shaped roughly like an inverted comma, the luxury indoor pool stretches from the far back wall through a window that can open fully (and the floor drops away too), out into the garden, making this an indoor/outdoor feature! The space underwent many design changes over the years and even while the main contractor was already on site. To begin with the client had experienced a raised private seating pod at the Cavalli club in Dubai which she wanted us to emulate. We designed a small round seating space which hangs over the pool and has a crystal canopy, manufactured by the very talented team at Windfall GMBH. We wanted gas torchieres on the feature wall but health and safety prevented, which forced us to reconsider the concept. Instead we had over scaled candelabra made using hot water, coloured light and small fans to create the illusion of flames. This theatrical space also has a very large water feature, a Jacuzzi and a full length skylight all adding to the experience…and finally, another gold guest toilet. Here, René Dekker took inspiration from the Secession building in Vienna, using stylised foliage bas relief, complimented by 3D foliage consisting of flowers and ferns and to ensure the viewer looks their best, two fantastic crystal wall lights.
The lower ground floor is definitely where the party’s at! The Games room is made up of a large cinema entertainment space, a bar, a large wine room, a pool table and kitchenette. During the design phase, the clients had recently been to a French Chateau and had experienced a cheese and wine tasting in the cellar. The design team at award winning studio René Dekker were tasked to work the details of a 500 year old design into this modern home. This included over-scaled and stylised bas relief, modern Gothic chandeliers and distressed finishes. Top of the range AV includes a drop down screen, rear projector and surround sound speakers. The furniture can be easily moved away to create a dance floor and the free standing bar, made from glossy black lacquer, serves the best cocktails in London!
Across the hall is the Wellness area, made up of a fabulous gym, his and hers shower rooms, a steam room, Bikram yoga room, nail bar & hair salon as well as a dedicated pole dance area. A playful element in this room is the full length mirror along the left wall, framed in a large white lacquered frame. But the mirror belies what goes on behind it, a large steam room, a heated yoga room and a guest WC are all deftly hidden with secret doors. The main space is occupied by the gym which includes the most up to date computerised equipment as well as free-weights, core training equipment and a dedicated pole. The shower pod has two identical shower rooms, with the walls completely tiled in gold mosaic and ceiling painted in gold to boot! At the far end of the room, is the ‘beauty parlour’. This dark and tranquil room accommodates a fully functional hair salon with adjustable basin and cutting chair, a nail bar, a massage table and light therapy Lipolight.
See Wimbledon House II for the second instalment of the case study