House Design

Design house: Explore this Chelsea home – it's a masterclass in sleek, modern design

A London home with a seductively sumptuous side

Gunter and Co Home
Photography/Mary Wadsworth
(Image credit: Future)

W

hat is striking upon entering this stucco-fronted house in the heart of Chelsea is that there are very few right-angled piece of furniture in sight: the hallway console has a gently rounded marble top; the formal sitting room’s voluptuous sofas are teamed with equally shapely coffee tables and much of the bespoke cabinetry displays subtle curves. 

Gunter and Co Home Hallway

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

Irene Gunter of interior architecture firm Gunter 
& Co, the designer behind this extensive renovation, is a great advocate of curves.

‘They relate to the concept of biophilia; human beings respond much better to soft shapes rather than harsh lines and corners, so introducing rounded forms contributes 
to a feeling of comfort and belonging,’ she observes. 

The homeowner, Snowy Li, who shares the 
house with her husband, Barry Wen, is equally enthusiastic. ‘The curves soften the rooms and give the schemes an almost art-deco feel,’ she notes.

Gunter and Co Home

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

Snowy and Barry are a young, dynamic Chinese couple who work as a fashion designer and entrepreneur respectively, and they travel 
extensively both for business and leisure.

Their global outlook informed the brief for this house. 

Gunter and Co Home Bathroom

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)


‘We have stayed in a lot of wonderful hotels and these have really helped us to define what we want from a home,’ recounts Snowy. 

She continues, 
‘We know, for example, how important lighting 
is to us. We love soft, warm light and rooms 
that exude a sense of luxury.’

Gunter and Co Home Kitchen

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

When Irene pressed the pair to define their notion of luxury, beautiful stones immediately came into the conversation. ‘Barry and I both grew up in Beijing where marbles are key; they always feature on the floors and in the kitchens,’ explains Snowy.

The couple particularly loved an unusual, patchwork-like Patagonia granite that Irene suggested, and this exotic stone plays a starring role as the splashback 
in the kitchen on the lower ground floor. 

Gunter and Co Home Kitchen

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

Snowy jokes that prior to the pandemic, their home was one of the most sociable houses in Chelsea. 

‘Barry and I never used to cook much but with this wonderful kitchen we’ve experimented with every 
type of cuisine: Chinese, Brazilian, African, Italian and English,’ she enthuses, adding, ‘when you 
have such a beautiful space, you want to get your friends over to spend time in it.’ 

Gunter and Co Home Master Bedroom

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

Eye-catching stones continue to weave a thread through the house, from matt white Palissandro marble for the sinuous base of the dining table to translucent alabaster for the table lamp in the master bedroom.

Gunter and Co Home Sitting Room

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

Snowy’s go-to interiors palette is predominantly pale but Irene encouraged her to embrace subtle touches of colour: gentle blues, greens, golds and pinks, complemented with accents of warm antiqued bronze. 

Gunter and Co Home Dressing Room

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

The hues give energy to the rooms, enhancing the classic architecture that includes ornate cornicing and panelling – details Irene reinstated to give another layer of character to the spaces.

Gunter and Co Home Master Bath

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

Even 
the shower in the master bathroom has a beautiful bowed glass screen, designed to echo the lines 
of the vanity unit on the opposite wall. 

The entire first floor forms an indulgent master suite and here Snowy’s favourite room is the master bathroom. ‘I can simply stand and look at it for 
a few minutes every day, it is so dreamy,’ she says. 

Gunter and Co Home Master Bath

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

The scheme sees panels lined with cloud-patterned wallpaper by Fornasetti, complemented with oversized scallop-shaped sconces and a free-standing bath – perfectly curved, of course – that is centred 
on the window to enjoy views of the garden.

Gunter and Co Home Study

Photography/Mary Wadsworth

(Image credit: Future)

Words/Rachel Leedham

Jennifer Ebert
Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. 


Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.