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A House in London


A very grand portrait of a very grand man, King Edward VII, was flanked by drawings by contemporary artists - and a piece of a Coptic tunic, 1,500 years old. The Louis XVI chair was covered in a cut-up Allegra Hicks dhurry. I designed a Georgian box-style cornice for the room, replacing an ugly Victorian floral one: the space looked instantly larger.


L-shaped rooms are always awkward to use. I turned this one into two rooms, for symmetry, privacy, and the added wall space, forming an intimate little library behind new glazed doors, with matching ones to the stairs. An 18th century sofa was covered in cheap Indian cotton; above it, a Cameroonian feather hat; in front, my Drum table.


The whole space was fitted with little cupboards and drawers. Here, a wide central drawer pulled out with a flap on which to rest a particularly large book; the flap opened to reveal stored treasures within. The books in this very small space were organised by colour, the harmony of which made it seem somewhat larger.


The small library in the short end of the L was entirely fitted with strongly architectural joinery that I designed to frame the shelves with a series of colonnettes, above which ran a coded inscription in two shades of grey. On the shelves, objects and pictures punctuated the books, but never obstructed them. A library should be about books, not looks.


The bedroom was painted parchment-colour, with a strong pink and purple kilim on the floor. Bed and windows were draped in a small print from Bernard Thorp, with Shatoosh-coloured silk borders, the same colour used on the frames of the pictures, all black and white, photographs and prints. A pair of old chairs were covered in bright sari silks bought in Bombay.


My wallpaper design had very small elements, to hide the scuff marks, and very big, to pull the space together. The big ones were a maze, and an alchemical emblem for Solution - chosen for its intriguing look, not its meaning. In a slim wedge of space outside the door of the living room I built this bar table, two slabs of glass on a slender steel leg.


I eventually replaced the original fireplace with this one carved in India to my design in Dholpur pink and white sandstone. At the same time I designed an 'Ice Ray' pattern for the walls, in subtly varied tints and sheens of varnish, giving the warm look of old parchment. To understate the giltwood mirror, I hung a big branch of white coral on it. The rug is by Allegra Hicks.


I gave this small bathroom a sweeping vaulted ceiling, 'floating' with a black-painted reveal. Bath surround and shower were lined with black glass - Vitrolite, full of 30's chic - its silver-leafed trim with featured screws. A wicker chair by Borek Sipek, and a roman blind in cloth hand-painted by Shipibo Amazonian people, worked well with the zebra carpet.


At the foot of my elaborate bed, inspired by French Empire models, I designed a cream-lacquered chest of drawers with facings and strap handles in tan coloured saddle leather. The small bookcase held only cream and white books.


Two sides of this very small, intimate room had an L-shaped seat, thick mattresses edged in moss fringe, on open oak bases laced with upholsterer's webbing, below which was space for leather baskets for storage. The roman blind was made from a Sumatran wedding skirt.


Coming in the front door, the whole side wall of the house stretched unattractively before you, up the stairs, with a round arch resting on plaster brackets. I broke up the wall with slender pilasters replacing the brackets, and a segmental arch below the round one. Children of the house used this for basketball practice. The crumpled photograph is by Ingrid Dinter.


The staircase of this typical Chelsea house for a young family was the scene of constant traffic and other punishments, like naughty scribbling by children. I designed this wallpaper for it to hide all these marks, which it did very effectively for 15 years. The green glass was already in the window, and suggested the green print on the paper.


To expand the space of the small dining room, I designed a painted scheme as if the room was an open loggia atop a skyscraper, with vitrines on the ledges all round holding models of country houses, and billowing curtains of an Ottoman design from an old velvet in the V&A.


One of the painted vitrines, showing a grand Irish castle.


I hung curtains within the architraves here to make the small room feel bigger, edging them with a serrated border of magenta. Behind, transparent panels of shocking pink silk covered the top lights, giving a glowing air to the room. I designed the cabinet to hold a collection of plaster miniatures; above this floats a work by artists Langlands and Bell.


Another corner of the dining room, with simple chairs from Habitat painted to match the antique ones in the room. The étagère was part of my first furniture collection, Jantar Mantar: three separate tables stacked up to form an obelisk-shaped display unit.


The living room's original fireplace with some of my furniture: a Klismos chair, X-frame OttomanAdam and Eve tables and, in the foreground, a Drum table.


I extended the kitchen to add a cosy eating corner with a view of the garden, and useful storage under the seats. The windows open in, leaving a diagonal steel grille outside for security, which also gives the effect of slender glazing bars with a double-glazed window. I designed the canted ceiling to extract cooking smells - not a practical success, but it looked good.

   LIVING ROOM     I covered the sofa in lambskin, prompted by an armchair that my great hero Jean-Michel Frank made in the same material in 1930: it's warm in winter, cool in summer, and wonderfully luxurious always. I love the contrast of textures with the flocked silk of my  Angelica Trellis    fabric. In front is my  Slim    table. 


I covered the sofa in lambskin, prompted by an armchair that my great hero Jean-Michel Frank made in the same material in 1930: it's warm in winter, cool in summer, and wonderfully luxurious always. I love the contrast of textures with the flocked silk of my Angelica Trellis fabric. In front is my Slim table.