Design studio Elicyon is known for its harmonious layering of materials but when redesigning this apartment, one of the world's best homes, the textures and finishes were combined with the specific aim of creating a totally relaxing ambience.
As founder and director Charu Gandhi explains, ‘We always start a project by asking our clients about their favorite places, but this is not so that we can replicate those interiors. It’s more about recreating how a special space makes a person feel.’
In this case, the clients, a couple with young children, fondly recalled the sense of relaxation that came with their visits to Hotel George V in Paris. For their apartment, which is set within a 19th-century building overlooking Hyde Park, Charu and Elicyon design associate Holly Beazley paid homage to the hotel’s luxurious Parisian finishes.
A sense of calm is evident in myriad ways throughout this home. For Holly, bespoke finishes and crafted detailing were key to creating the desired atmosphere. ‘No detail was overlooked, from the entrance with its polished plaster walls to the layers of tactile materials in the living spaces and bespoke pieces in the more private areas such as the bedrooms,’ she says.
From the start, Holly and Charu were careful to dovetail the luxe details with how the clients wanted to use the space. For example, as the family has another apartment on the same floor, the kitchen is more of a part-time ‘holiday home’ space, while the larger neighboring one is used for preparing full meals. One of the kitchen ideas was to imbue the smaller space with a different character, using onyx for the worktops and giving the cabinets a liquid metal finish, while the drawers emulate shagreen.
In contrast, the blind is in a plain, almost rustic linen. ‘We kept the window dressing simple, to let the richer materials shine through,’ adds Charu.
Throughout the spaces, there is an interplay between full-on luxury and calmer, pattern-free areas. ‘When you want to create an atmosphere, you need moments of quiet, too,’ says Charu. ‘These are where you pause and absorb the overall mood.'
The double living space is characterized by slimline brass trims, polished surfaces and deep rugs, and is divided into a sociable side and an area for watching TV.
The team also pushed practical design boundaries, most notably with the undulating brass and crystal chandelier that hangs in the living space, one of their boldest living room ideas.
At one point, suspending this spectacular light within its listed-building setting seemed an impossible challenge. ‘But we worked out a way to create a plasterwork “plate” that slotted into the ceiling in a seamless and integrated way,’ Charu explains.
The chandelier also forms a stunning focal point from the mezzanine level above. With meticulous attention to detail, the gleam of the brass chandelier is picked up in furniture trims and the frames around the antiqued mirror panels. All the finishes have a polished aesthetic.
The chandelier makes an astounding statement, but throughout the apartment there is a beautiful interplay between full-on luxury and calmer pattern-free spaces.
This mezzanine level hosts a work area. Home office ideas include elegant shelving echoing the Art Deco detailing on the balcony.
In the main bedroom, bedroom ideas include wardrobe doors that shimmer with delicate oriental motifs. ‘The temptation with a smaller space is to treat it simply, but here we went in the opposite direction, adding lots of layers and details to give an intimate, cosseting feel,’ Holly says. 'Layers of suede, faux shagreen and silk, give this bedroom a real Princess and the Pea mood, where texture is paramount.' The console conceals a TV, while its mirrored surface adds to the sense of space.
Elicyon worked side by side with craftspeople including Aiveen Daly to create interesting pieces for each space. ‘It was lovely to use talented makers throughout this project and the clients really appreciate the handmade elements,’ Holly adds. ‘Working with craftspeople was a highlight of this project.’
The influence of the Hotel George V in Paris is most obvious in the bathroom, where bathroom ideas include combining slabs of cloudy onyx with brassware finished in rose gold. ‘This cloudy onyx has lovely, almost blush undertones,’ says Holly. ‘The space is everything you would wish a bathroom to be.’
Interior designer/ Elicyon
Photography/ Michael Sinclair
Text/ Jo Leevers
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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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