Bringing a Georgian townhouse in London into the 21st century and giving it a large dose of personality was the challenge facing interior designer, Anna Hewitson. The property had been an office for many years and was then converted back into a house by a developer, so Anna virtually had a blank canvas to work with.
'I became involved in the project when the owners approached me in early 2017,' she says. 'They love the area as it's surrounded by restaurants, and they wanted to live in a house with an eclectic feel that epitomised the cool London vibe.’
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The house is Grade II* listed, which made life more complicated as any work done had to comply with strict planning regulations. 'It couldn't be altered structurally. Even changing the floors or fireplaces required planning permission,’ says Anna. 'And because the building is old, we never quite knew what we would discover. We had to bring in a structural engineer to examine the fireplaces, with the result that concrete lintels had to be inserted to support two of them.’
Top of the priority list was storage. 'We installed custom-built wardrobes in the bedrooms and a large bespoke vanity unit in the master bathroom,’ says Anna. 'A built-in dresser and an island were built to match the existing cabinets in the basement kitchen, while a pantry room, utility and wine room were also created.’
Anna used themes throughout the house to provide continuity. As an antidote to the urban location, an artificial living wall in the courtyard can be glimpsed from the rooms at the rear. The nod to the outdoors continues with plant displays throughout the house, and a statement artificial moss wall in the bathroom.
For a cohesive look, Anna also stuck to key materials and accessories. 'I used brass ironmongery and detailing throughout the house,’ she says. 'I also added antiqued mirrors on each floor to maximise the light and give the illusion of more space.’
The function of each room dictated the colours she used. 'The owners wanted a dark, atmospheric space for the music room, where they could hang out with friends. I incorporated burnt orange accents to lift the blue scheme and added gorgeous fabrics that you want to touch, such as velvet, then I used the same colour palette in the dining area beyond.’
The blue and grey palette continues up the stairs in varying shades. The master bedroom at the top of the house is a blend of soft blues and greys. 'The brief was to create a haven,’ says Anna. We wanted it to be gentle and calm - an elegant, restful room to chill out in.’
Despite the owners' love of urban life, once you are inside the house, secondary glazing ensures that the sounds of city life fade away and it's so quiet you could (almost) believe you were in the countryside.
An Edwardian lithograph takes centre stage. The emphasis here is on texture with layering of fabrics and hints of pattern, such as gentle geometricsand small abstracts.
The owners had seen similar rounded, comfortable dining chairs in a restaurant, so interior designer Anna Hewitson had these made and upholstered in the same advent colour as in the adjoining music room.
Dark blue walls create a moody space punctuated by accents of burnt orange to lift the scheme.
The large island was built to match the existing units. The limestone worksurface has an ingenious cutout tohold a range of herbs.
Gentle tones and a variety of textures create the desired ‘haven.’
MASTER EN SUITE
The statement bath, along with the dramatic chandelier, inject period elegance.
Photography/ Brent Darby