Design house: A period property in London has been given a modern touch
Moving house is always a challenge, but even more so with a transatlantic lifestyle, so the owner of this period property decided to call in the experts to help with its total transformation
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Life often evolves in ways you do not expect and for New Yorker, it has definitely thrown up a challenge or two. ‘I came to Britain in 2001 to open the London office for my firm,’ says the homeowner. ‘I thought it would only be for a short while, but years later, I’m still here.’
The owner has lived in London for all that time, but following the end of a long marriage he has had to start afresh, setting up a new family home for his children who spend part of their time with him. ‘My ex-wife and I lived in Hampstead for ten years, so it made sense to stay in the same area,’ he says. ‘Besides, I love it here as you feel as if you’re in the countryside.
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‘This house appealed to me because of its glorious period features,’ says the homeowner. ‘It has generously sized rooms, particularly on the ground floor, and a floor-to-ceiling glass extension overlooking the garden.’
The owner had no appetite for a renovation so the fact that the previous owners had installed new bathrooms, creating extra space where necessary, and a modern kitchen made the property even more attractive.
‘Given my work commitments, which include travelling back and forth between here and America for business, I decided I needed the help of an interior designer,’ says the owner, ‘especially as all I brought with me was a rug, one significant painting, my library and a wardrobe of clothes. A friend recommended Marion Lichtig and when we met, we got along instantly, seeing eye to eye on taste. I wanted the children to feel at home with the casual elegance that the space requires.’
At first, the minimal aesthetic introduced by the previous owners was not to the owner’s liking. However, as time has passed, he has found it refreshingly simple and, thanks to Marian's expertise, he has been able to indulge his penchant for classic Danish furniture, mid-century abstract paintings and Persian rugs. The result is that she has created a calm and relaxing family home that looks as though it has evolved gradually.
Kitchen, dining and living room
Interior designer Marion Lichtig chose the rustic table as a warm note for the minimalist white kitchen, which had been fitted by the previous owners. The dining chairs are a nod to the homeowners's love of Danish furniture, while the seating area features a layered scheme of contemporary and classic pieces.
Original features were what first attracted Peter to this house. ‘It's one of the things that I love about Hampstead. The period houses remind me of the old brownstones in New York, but less cramped and with more green spaces around them.’
The interior designer used the Persian rug and mid-century abstract painting, which the owner brought with him, as a starting point for the interior design.
The area outside the sitting room is ideal for brunches and family barbecues, which the homeowner likes to host on Sundays.
The bookcase was built to house the owner’s library of books, as well as a lifetime's worth of documents and letters. It was designed by Marion and carpenter Neil Traylen to echo the cabinetry in the kitchen.
The previous owners' major renovation works included the creation of this minimalist bathroom, where the stud wall has been left open at the top to allow in natural light from the main bedroom; the large mirror also helps open up the room.
‘Marion did particularly well here,’ says the homeowner. ‘The deep royal blue velvet on the chairs is both rich and calming.’
‘I love the bedside lamps,’ says the homeowner, ‘but eventually, I would like to get some artwork to hang above the headboard, too. I've only been working with Marion for a year, and the process takes time.’
Photography/ Richard Powers
Interior designer/ Marion Lichtig
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.
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