Amid the tumult of change, it can be tempting to cling to the familiar. This was not the case, however, for the homeowners and their two sons, who moved to Britain early in 2013, shortly before they bought a classic Georgian townhouse in London. To this quintessentially English building they could have imported their cosmopolitan style – a reflection of their dual nationalities and extensive travel – but instead, they looked more locally for inspiration.
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‘We knew we wanted to be close to central London, but we weren't sure where,’ says the owner. After a three-month search, they settled upon this elegant five-storey building in the south west of the city. ‘It's nicely proportioned and light with high ceilings, and we liked the garden, which is unusually large for this area,’ explains the owner.
While respecting the living arrangements that they had inherited when they bought the property, the family could not ignore the fact they needed to make some alterations to make the house work effectively for them. With the help of Dry Architects, an infill extension was created on the ground floor, giving the homeowner a dramatic, double-height sitting room with a conservatory roof, while French doors offer excellent views of the garden, which was such an important part of the property's appeal.
These significant structural changes were complemented by a series of smaller adjustments that opened up and simplified the ground and lower-ground floors, making them more practical for family life. 'There were a number of odd corridors and small rooms. The new configuration is a much better use of space,' says Claire Collett, of Dry Architects.
The subtle texture and soft gold hue of the handmade wall covering is key to the glamorous yet cosy atmosphere, while an elliptic coffee table makes an unusual focal point.
‘This is the only area where I didn’t follow the designers’ recommendation,’ says the owner. ‘They suggested a bespoke hardwood kitchen, but I preferred a German make, which I'd had before and knew would work for me.’
‘We are very keen on family meals,’ says the owner, who is also an accomplished cook. A generous table, able toseat eight diners, ensures meals are taken in comfort.
Rugs have been used throughout the lower-ground and ground floors to denote areas with designated functions. This rug is used to help define the area where the family watches television.
A built-in desk and matching shelves create a sleek look, which is given warmth by the wall colour and mellow hues of the timber.
A bespoke seven-tier glass and polished nickel chandelier emphasises the grand proportions of this double-height room.
The American brand Baker is one of the owner’s favourites. Its Constellation mirror, designed by Thomas Pheasant, brings an energising note to the entrance hall.
A blind with a shimmering gold pattern is an invigorating addition to this luxurious scheme. The veining of the polished marble walls gives a sense of depth, while Art Deco-inspired details, such as the taps, introduce old-fashioned glamour.
These Italian strung curtains have an appealing shape that draws attention to the sumptuous silk fabric and the handsome Georgian windows.
Photography/ Paul Raeside