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A Glass Box


A grand Edwardian house, poorly converted into two apartments: one on the lower three floors needed help, updating and simplifying. I removed an old butler's pantry from this corner of the big staircase hall, replacing it with a large bookcase with simple brackets at the top 'supporting' its old ceiling, keeping the elaborate Jacobean-style cornicing and plasterwork around it that had to be preserved.


The existing stair to the large basement was mean, narrow and carpeted in a cheap-looking wood 'conservatory' rear extension, totally unsuited to the house. I replaced this with a simple glass box, its glass top supported by a glass beam from which hangs a chandelier by genius modern Surrealist, Rolf Sachs: a birdcage filled with crystals.


My new stair used every available millimetre of width, with limestone treads against unskirted walls, the slenderest possible railings, and even a radiator cut into the thickness of the brickwork.


The room is entirely furnished with an enormous bed/sofa on which the whole family can sprawl and watch movies. It can pull apart into various separate units for more formal parties.


A basement guest room, dimly lit from a very deep lightwell, is made warm and luxurious with gold wallpaper and pleated gold silk for curtains and lining the wardrobe doors, which have my Coral handles in polished brass.


Another oak boulder newel-post marks the foot of the stair, which gives onto a corridor running the depth of the house. I broke up the monotonous length of this by forming an elegantly curved bow-front to the big playroom/cinema, with natural oak-framed windows borrowing light.


The apartment has a long, narrow kitchen, at the end of which is this little top-lit breakfast room with a banquette and TV.


A detail of the bookcases that fill one wall, in natural oak, the shelves broken up by cupboard doors covered in padded panels of stitched-together scarlet leather with polished brass versions of my Ring handle.


I designed the balustrade in grey steel to complement the original leaded window, with a sweeping curve of handrail elegantly wrapping around a playful newel-post of sculpted oak 'boulders': an organic, earthy counterpoint to Rolf's crystals and all that glass slickness. The 'boulders' are loose on a steel pole, so that you can spin them as you pass, like a giant toy.


To provide as much wardrobe space as possible without making the space seem too monotonous, I made an extra cupboard, its doors with mirror in random panels framed in limed oak.


A bedroom bow window with a pretty view of a tree-lined square demanded this big, comfortable window-seat with heating built in the base. (Rather too many cushions, but there we are.)


Yet another wardrobe unit, this one with my Oval Coral handles in white lacquer.


The bedroom has an unfortunate box in one corner holding the stair to the upstairs apartment. I hid this by forming a curved niche holding cupboards, and opening onto a dressing-room that extends, in reality, only to the right, but with mirror on the offending staircase wall, seems to open to the left also. A simple trick, but it makes a huge difference to the room.


This big room, lit from the corridor and a lower yard, is made glamorous with aubergine lacquered walls. My Sabre table with a sharp red-lacquered top feels flattered to sit with a Gio Ponti Superleggera chair. The radiator cabinet has openwork panels of laser-cut tan leather on board.


The adjoining bathroom has the same wallpaper under glass around the bath. Bath panel and cupboards are in simple plywood with strips of oak in a random ribbon pattern.


A detail showing the laser-cut tan leather screens in off-white painted frames, reflected in the lacquered tabletop.


A detail of my polished brass Coral handle, oak strip on plywood door, and limestone top. I love this odd combination.


The radiator cover with tan leather panels sits well with a deep-buttoned chair in my David Hicks by Ashley Hicks Angelica Trellis flocked silk.


A detail of the nice contrast between the roughly carved oak and the precisely engineered, smooth, grey steel handrail.


The wardrobes, reflected in the mirrored wall, running up to a window, have open framed doors, filled with sensuous billows of silk, and my Coral handles in white enamel.