Interior designer Cindy Leveson is no stranger to making the impossible happen and within her client’s 1950s London apartment, the brief of knocking down internal walls to create an open living, dining and cooking area came with the sort of challenge that Cindy welcomes.
Specifically, how to accommodate extensive art collections with less internal wall space.
‘I came up with the idea of creating hidden artwork panels around the exterior of the main living space,’ says Cindy. 'In this home you are surrounded by wall-to-wall art, decorative objects and textiles that nurture a sense of creativity, curiosity and comfort.' The whole project is a masterclass on decorating with art. Here, we take the tour.
Working with her trusted project manager, Mark Van Oss & Associates, they devised a system of weighted, pivoting panels that pop out from the wall and rotate 365 degrees to expose a new framed artwork on the reverse.
‘They are an extraordinary feat of engineering and provide an inspirational way of creating a larger, interchangeable picture hang.’
When the walls were removed, structural concrete pillars were discovered and with valued collaborator Rupert Bevan, Cindy has designed a series of cabinets of curiosity using mirror, glass and lighting by DesignPlusLight to disguise the supports – now home to her client’s collections of decorative china – noteworthy if you are looking for ways to display china.
This level of detailing forms the essence of Cindy’s approach. Trained as an artist and having worked as a fashion PR, she set up her interior design practice Leveson Design in 1990.
‘I grew up with an appreciation of antiques and textiles and am passionate about creating spaces that value atmosphere and personality as much as they do the visual aesthetic.’
Given free rein by her client to revitalize her former childhood home, this apartment has taken on the Wunderkammer look that became popular in the 15th and 16th centuries – where a room (or a series of rooms) comes alive with art and objects of wonder: think bronze busts, paintings and all manner of furniture, curios and objets d’art.
‘As an avid collector, the owner’s personal collections showcase her personal journey. This is the fourth house I have worked on for her and it is lovely to see how pieces have been reimagined in new ways,’ says Cindy.
The kitchen design (above) is a work of art, with all practical appliances tucked away behind closed doors.
‘I wanted the island to feel like an art gallery installation when not in use, with no visible outlets or equipment. I drew the wavy design and Rupert Bevan realized the idea for me, creating a brass river across the stone surface, and an undulating rim around the edge that sits on top of layers of bent plywood finished with an aged brass veneer.’
Throughout, color is cleverly calibrated with just a few tones of white and a favorite blue of Cindy’s used on shutters, cabinetry, trim and decorative wall details.
Both old and new furniture finds in the main living areas have been upholstered in a profusion of fabrics from favorites, including Howe London, John Boyd Textiles, Manuel Canovas and Christopher Farr Cloth.
While in the main bedroom and two welcoming guest bedrooms, bespoke choices from the likes of Hare’s Tail Printing, Robert Kime, Tissus d’Hélène and Penny Morrison elevate the visual appeal.
Finishing touches to the project include prototypes from Cindy’s new rug collaboration with Hector Coombs at Shame Studios. ‘Projects are always being added to, but it is wonderful to see my client so at home, enjoying her collections in a new light. It is a very special space
"In this home you are surrounded by wall-to-wall art. decorative objects and textiles that nurture a sense of creativity, curiosity and comfort"
Finishing touches to the project include prototypes from Cindy’s new rug collaboration with Hector Coombs at Shame Studios.
‘Projects are always being added to, but it is wonderful to see my client so at home, enjoying her collections in a new light. It is a very special space.'
Interview / Ali Heath
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Ali Heath is a UK-based interiors journalist, stylist, creative consultant, interior designer, and author and has over 17 years freelance experience, working with prestigious interior magazines, newspapers, and private clients. Her work is featured regularly in many leading interior titles, and she is represented internationally by Living Inside agency, in Milan. Ali is the author of interiors book Create, publishing June 2023. Her first bestselling book, Curate, was published in 2020 and Ali is Contributing Editor and Creative Consultant for the new book from The White Company, The Art of Living with White, published in September 2022.
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