Home Tour: How A Designer Convinced Her Client To Use Colourful Accents In This Cosy London Apartment
Located in the heart of London in Knightsbridge, this duplex apartment encapsulates the multiculturalism of the British capital. A project that was six years in the making, this apartment was designed by Natalia Miyar; the layout was reimagined to unite two adjacent apartments within a 19th-century building in the Belgravia district. It draws on inspiration from around the globe, and strikes the perfect balance between light and colour, as well as masculinity and artistic flair.
“It was for a long-term client and this was his bachelor pad,” explains Miyar. “Amusingly, he ended up getting married right afterwards, but the brief was to create a light-filled home with open spaces. I had a great experience working with him before. I also knew about his personal art collection, which was a wonderful help, as we had great pieces to work with that add another layer to the design.”
Miyar herself is very much a citizen of the world. Born in Mexico to Cuban parents, she spent her childhood living in her birth country and Miami, and currently takes on projects all over the world, while basing herself in London. It is clear that she has brought some of the colour and vibrancy from her own life into this apartment, aided by the owner’s extraordinary art collection. The abode features the work of artists such as Alexander Calder, Bernard Buffet, Roberto Matta and Ben Nicholson, which makes visitors want to linger on in any given room.
The entrance hallway is dominated by a circular mirror and an array of potted plants, leading to a modern staircase. Here, a painting by Alexander Calder takes pride of place and is the centrepiece in this space. A similar approach is adopted in the sitting room, where a surrealist art piece complements the array of grey and blue tones that Miyar has chosen.
“I love that room,” says Miyar. “I love the vintage armchairs, the coffee table in fumed wood, and the way the pattern play really works. It has character but feels contemporary and warm—it’s a tricky room as it’s really big, and I wanted to keep the grandeur of the space but also make it feel intimate.”
London in winter can be a gloomy city to live in, and Miyar got around that by adding several light-enhancing features. “The roof extension was key and there are a lot of skylights,” she says. “We also used a very light colour palette. The pale wood floors, which are so beautiful, work well with the bronze features. The contrast of light and dark textures makes everything feel brighter, and helps to give that incredible feeling of expansiveness.
“It took a team of architects to turn what was originally two small apartments with no outdoor areas into a spacious three-bedroom flat with a roof terrace; and this new outdoor area makes the property particularly desirable. “It took a whole team to make it happen,” Miyar explains.
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“Some people are daunted by the process of doing something like that, but the result is incredible.” Miyar’s tips for creating a good outdoor space in a city include using furniture you would traditionally see indoors. “Get really comfortable seating with cushions and blankets, and treat the outside like another room; just one that happens not to have walls and a ceiling,” she says.
The client had originally asked for the apartment’s three bedrooms to be done up in a light palette. “If the man could have no colour, he would,” Miyar says with a laugh. “But I persuaded him to use this beautiful textured wallpaper, and add colour to the floors and bed. The curtains are also textured, creating very serene and dreamy bedrooms that feel cosy all year round.”
This aesthetic continues in the two guest rooms, using blue and rust tones in one room, and green accents in another. Linking the sleek kitchen and the stylish bathrooms is the use of natural stone and marble, which dominate in both rooms. “The client had a very clear vision,” Miyar says. “He loves stone, and he wanted it used everywhere; the master bathroom is an example of exactly what he was hoping for. It was also a beautiful, happy coincidence that we managed to find marble with incredible veining.”
In the kitchen, similarly luxurious materials were used, creating a light finish, and clever interplay between contrast and texture. “I really love the entire apartment,” says Miyar. “I went back recently to see the client, and he was delighted; he said we knew what he wanted for the place before he did.” What could be higher praise than that?
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This story was adapted from the August-September issue of Tatler Homes; the e-version is available with our compliments on Magzter