When interior designer Margot Tsim was contacted by her clients, who both have demanding jobs in finance, plans for an extensive overhaul of their late-Georgian townhouse were already underway.
They entailed considerable structural changes, including dropping the lower ground floor by 1.5 metres and adding a glazed double-height addition that is presided over by a mezzanine, ensuring that the upper ground level is awash with light.
The sleeping quarters, too, were entirely reconfigured to create a luxurious main suite and gym on the first floor and three bedrooms on the uppermost storey.
‘The clients wanted to future-proof the home, so the design was very much geared towards a family,’ Margot explains.
A dramatic note is struck in the entrance hall with a polished Pietra Grey marble floor and the ceiling’s punchy graphic monochromatic wallpaper, which draws the eye upwards, is one of the most original hallway ideas we have seen.
Open plan sitting area
Stepping into the living room is rather like entering the hallowed sanctuary of a high-end art gallery.
Mesmerizing portraits by Canadian fashion photographer Raphael Mazzucco gaze from the walls; tailored, angular pieces of furniture are finely balanced with more organic forms; and two contemporary pendant lights hang like sculptures from the ceiling of the living room and the glazed atrium beyond.
‘The owners love art and they wanted that sense of being in a gallery when you walk into the house,’ explains Margot. ‘Every choice we made was important, as each piece of furniture or lighting had to hold its own in the room.’
Taking inspiration for their living room ideas from the artwork, even the furniture they have chosen is like art – the sofa with its curves and the structured shapes of the armchairs. The sculptural chandelier is a bespoke piece.
Walls were removed to reveal the depth of the house and create a connection with the garden.
‘We wanted to bring in some organic forms, particularly as the architecture is quite linear,’ explains Margot, pointing out the curved sofa and ottoman. The former’s pale chenille upholstery may not seem the most practical choice but it is, in fact, a robust outdoor fabric. ‘The clients requested pieces that look beautiful but are relatively easy to maintain,' says Margot.
The seating overlooks the atrium. This space was created by excavating the lower ground floor by 1.5 metres and adding a glazed extension.
‘The bar was a very important feature for the clients as they are avid wine collectors; they wanted to be able to enjoy a few drinks with friends while looking out to the garden,’ says Margot.
The glossiness of the blue cabinetry in the bar is balanced with the quiet beauty of a live edge American walnut bar top.
The lower ground floor of the property was designed as a more informal space featuring a generous kitchen that opens up to the dining and seating area overlooking the garden.
Units in dark-stained oak have been lifted with pale worktops and iridescent blue tiles laid in a herringbone formation.
The clients favor a monochrome palette but they weren’t afraid to introduce accents of color to their kitchen ideas, hence the iridescent blue tiles that Margot suggested for the backsplash in the kitchen and the inky blue leather of the button-back banquette seating.
This, in turn, ties in nicely with the high-gloss blue cabinetry of the bar on the mezzanine above. ‘You view the dining area from the bar and vice versa, so it was important that these two colors should complement each other,’ explains Margot.
Brick slips bring texture to the double-height wall and are carried outside to the wall of the terrace.
‘We also used the same limestone flooring both inside and out, as we wanted the transition between the spaces to be seamless,’ explains Margot.
An oversized oak table and leather banquette bring a convivial feel to this space, which links seamlessly with the terrace beyond the doors.
Bedroom ideas, such as velvet curtains and a tailored headboard, create a sense of luxury. Like in the rest of the house, blue and green accents add richness.
The metal-framed shower screen echoes the frames of the mirrors.
On a beautiful but practical note, porcelain tiles mimic the beauty of Nero Marquina and Calacatta marble in their bathroom.
Looking for bathroom vanity ideas (opens in new tab), the couple turned to a bespoke solution – a timber vanity unit, designed to tie in with the cabinetry in the adjoining dressing room, which brings a touch of warmth.
‘The owners see this as their forever home and it will continue to evolve with them,’ says Margot.
Interior design / Margot Tsim Interiors (opens in new tab)
Photography / Paul Massey
Text / Rachel Leedham
Interiors have always been Vivienne's passion – from bold and bright to Scandi white. After studying at Leeds University, she worked at the Financial Times, before moving to Radio Times. She did an interior design course and then worked for Homes & Gardens, Country Living and House Beautiful. Vivienne’s always enjoyed reader homes and loves to spot a house she knows is perfect for a magazine (she has even knocked on the doors of houses with curb appeal!), so she became a houses editor, commissioning reader homes, writing features and styling and art directing photo shoots. She worked on Country Homes & Interiors for 15 years, before returning to Homes & Gardens as houses editor four years ago.
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