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A Library in Fulham



Looking back towards the door to the hall in the original house, from the stair down to the main library which my client used as an office: the railings with their slender 8-pointed stars were in dark grey-painted steel. The high window opening was already there, a 60's monstrosity of ribbed glass which I replaced with a triple-hung sash like the ones Thomas Jefferson always used (you can slide both sashes up high enough to walk out.)


Two of the handsome chairs from King George VI's coronation sit against a wall of bookcases and cupboards. I painted all the shelf interiors in a lustrous, rich red which set the old calfskin bindings off beautifully. The floor was simply the existing pine boards painted a grey stone colour.


Here my client gradually bought the house next door and connected through, one floor at a time, over several years. The hall, here, was the ground floor of the original house, two rooms and a narrow passage turned into one large one to fit some of his beautiful Irish furniture and lovely pictures like the Edward Clifford portrait here, next to the secret door through to the new library in the next house.


From the basement library, looking up at the stair. Through the arched doorway is a youthful self-portrait by the brilliant interior and set-designer Oliver Messel.


The door of the entry way opened onto a curving gallery over the library/office below. Opposite is the stair which turned through my arched doorway and descended behind bookcases.


Looking from the front of the second house, with the big Irish crystal chandelier hanging from false beams that I designed to hold it and to distract from the underside of the staircase coming from the floors above. The chandelier, like the elaborate gilded appliques and the furniture and pictures, came from my client's ancestral family home.


I built a new kitchen/dining room out into the garden: one large space, with a glazed front and a sweeping vaulted ceiling that hung in front of it, over the dining table.


The exterior of my new dining room: the central window had four bifold sashes that opened completely, with glazed doors to each side, leaving a totally open front for the occasional sunny afternoon. The deep cornice above was intended to make it feel like a real building rather than yet another conservatory extension in a London garden.


The very first thing I did in this house was this very architectural TV cabinet/bookcase, deliberately overscaled for what was then a small back room, with a central panel painted with an Indian love scene. When they bought the house next door and formed one big room on this floor, the cabinet was very surprised to suddenly be seen from a distance, but it still worked.


The kitchen area had skylights on one side, madder red laminate counters and stone-grey painted units with glazed doors. I designed the cornice specially for the house, with very simple lines and a single, graceful curve.