This exceptionally large nineteenth century London house was originally a professional artist’s combined studio, gallery and private residence. In subsequent years, it was gradually converted into a smaller house and four apartments.
Rose undertook a complete renovation of the property and turned it back into a family house: a single dwelling with an internal courtyard, cinema, wine cellar, spa and pool.
It was a major project, requiring extensive restoration work. This included the removal of a heavy, unsympathetic staircase, installed following bomb damage in the Second World War, and its replacement with a 12-ton cantilevered stone staircase, more typical of the original building. All plasterwork and mouldings were carefully restored by skilled craftspeople, using traditional techniques.
A restrained, subtle palette, a pared-back approach to furnishings and decoration, and organic, untreated textures such as marble, untreated wooden floorboards, limestone slabs and rough linens work together to give the house warmth, energy and serenity.
So, too, does the mix of old and new art; and old and new furniture: fine, elegant antiques and pieces of Rose’s own design. A second floor study, for example, which was originally a ballroom, features a seventeenth century Mughal rug, floor-to-ceiling contemporary photographs, an octagonal Regency partners’ desk and two capacious and ridiculously comfortable sofas.
The house is also highly functional. Sound and temperature are controlled by hidden iPad panels in every room.
Undeniably one of the loveliest houses in London, this is at once a modern house, a historic house and a house that has been given back its soul.
"This is a classical building and I wanted to be true to the original setting. If the space is properly balanced, then the rooms can be simply furnished and allowed to breathe. In that context, the design can be very minimal."