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Art Design Home Tour: This London Townhouse Retains Its Elegance With An Impactful Use of Blue

Home Tour: This London Townhouse Retains Its Elegance With An Impactful Use of Blue

Home Tour: This London Townhouse Retains Its Elegance With An Impactful Use of Blue
In the informal living area, a large mirror hides the TV screen, which is only visible when switched on. The space is furnished with Gryphon armchairs, Fox Linton silk wool curtains, a chess set from Ralph Lauren and accessories and lighting pieces from Katharine Pooley’s own decor brand
By Chelsia Tan
November 26, 2020
The work of British designer Katharine Pooley, the elegance of a restored Arts and Crafts townhouse in London is revealed through handcrafted details and blue accents that make this show-stopping space shine

True refinement transcends time, location and trends—this is the belief of British designer Katharine Pooley, who was recently commissioned to transform a five-storey Arts and Crafts townhouse in Mayfair, London.

Having grown her eponymous design studio in London over 15 years, the highly sought-after designer is the creative mind behind some of the most stunning homes around the world. When the studio was approached by a client to transform a dilapidated townhouse into a functional but beautiful family home, Pooley did not hesitate to dive into the intricacies of the project.

In the formal living area are Christopher Boots Prometheus chandeliers, Holly Hunt armchairs and side tables, bespoke velvet ottomans from Amy Somerville and a custom-made curtain  in ombre silk  by Vanners  as well as  lapis and brass coffee tables by Katharine Pooley
In the formal living area are Christopher Boots Prometheus chandeliers, Holly Hunt armchairs and side tables, bespoke velvet ottomans from Amy Somerville and a custom-made curtain in ombre silk by Vanners as well as lapis and brass coffee tables by Katharine Pooley

The brief was clear: the client, an international ambassador to London, wanted to restore the building to its stately grandeur. Above all, it was to be designed for both family living and entertaining, as the client often hosts visiting diplomats and members of royalty from around the world.

The entrance hall is adorned with a bespoke Lasvit glass chandelier made according to Pooley’s design
The entrance hall is adorned with a bespoke Lasvit glass chandelier made according to Pooley’s design
British designer Katharine Pooley
British designer Katharine Pooley

Comprising two connecting red-brick buildings, the 21,000sqft property was in an extremely poor condition. “The building had incredible historic detailing throughout, most of which was badly damaged by its previous owners, who had ripped out historic ceilings, removed fireplaces and partitioned rooms to create a block of offices with no thought to preserving the historical integrity or beauty of the building,” says the designer.

(Related: Home Tour: A London Townhouse With A Colourful Mix of Art And Vintage Pieces

The dining room features De Gournay wallpaper, custom-made lighting pieces, dining chairs from Blainey North and a stunning custom-made dining table with a starburst inlay incorporating blue and white agate at its centre
The dining room features De Gournay wallpaper, custom-made lighting pieces, dining chairs from Blainey North and a stunning custom-made dining table with a starburst inlay incorporating blue and white agate at its centre

Determined to restore the property’s original architectural elements, Pooley and her team enlisted the help of craftsmen and restoration experts, who revived the mouldings, cornices, fireplaces and joinery. The potential of the seven-bedroom townhouse was soon revealed during the restoration process. One room on the first floor, in particular, demanded more attention. “The main drawing room needed more consideration as the ceiling was in very poor condition and required extensive refurbishment,” says Pooley.

To highlight the natural symmetry and the expanse of the space, Pooley created a balanced layout that emphasised the room’s elegant furnishings. Gorgeous lapis coffee tables are paired with chandeliers made of rock-crystal shards crafted by Australian lighting designer Christopher Boots in the formal living room. This space is pulled together by display niches framed by backlit white onyx. The result leads the gaze upwards, and one can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the painstakingly restored details on the ceiling.

The Shy 10.02 chandelier by  Bec Brittain is  a sculptural addition to this lounge area, which also features a Grady rock crystal side table from Matthew Studios,  a bespoke lacquered coffee table and a photograph by Henry Dallal
The Shy 10.02 chandelier by Bec Brittain is a sculptural addition to this lounge area, which also features a Grady rock crystal side table from Matthew Studios, a bespoke lacquered coffee table and a photograph by Henry Dallal
Accent cushions add a tactile touch to this lounge area
Accent cushions add a tactile touch to this lounge area

“You just don’t find plasterwork of this quality anymore, and it was a complete labour of love to restore it to its original glory. Anything that could draw the eye upwards to these expansive plaster works of art was to be immediately embraced,” explains Pooley. “Beautiful lighting is like the best jewellery; it draws the eye and elevates everything around it.”

The theatrical use of lighting extends to the other rooms as well. The show begins when one steps into the main entrance, where a dramatic glass chandelier flows gently into the space, imploring guests to venture into the reception room.

(Related: Home Tour: See How A Gold Wallpaper Adds Instant Glamour To This London Apartment)

The exquisite joinery in this bedroom is crafted in bleached Birdseye maple with crackled gesso mirrored panels
This bathroom features Calacatta Zebrino marble tiles  and a bespoke vanity with a stained veneer and polished nickel trimmings and handles
 

Designed by Pooley and handcrafted by Lasvit in the Czech Republic, it comprises hundreds of glass pieces that are assembled in a graduated wave. This crystalline display is subtly lit by spotlights, creating an iridescent shimmer that is reflected by the chevron-patterned parquet floor.

The presentation of the dining room is no less regal. Taking centre stage is a commanding chandelier with rows of cascading Murano glass pieces from Venice. This stunning fixture is set against panels of hand-painted wallpaper from De Gournay and anchored by plush dining chairs surrounding an agate crystal table. 

This terrace area showcases sofas from Kettal, cushions from Holly Hunt, limestone flooring  and a skylight that looks down into the gym below
This terrace area showcases sofas from Kettal, cushions from Holly Hunt, limestone flooring and a skylight that looks down into the gym below

As much as the townhouse is to be a space for entertaining, it is also a home for the family. The basement gym and spa are a private sanctuary, while the informal living room on the ground floor is where the family gather to relax and bond.

The trimmings of the curtain in this bedroom echo the geometric pattern on the rug as well as the angular forms of the mirror and joinery in the bathroom
The trimmings of the curtain in this bedroom echo the geometric pattern on the rug as well as the angular forms of the mirror and joinery in the bathroom

This informal living room is decked in a monochromatic palette that serves as a canvas for the citrine crystal lamps, a blue leather sofa, and a wool carpet with a geometric print of architectural photographs. Presiding over the space are Roll & Hill Modo chandeliers in crystal and stainless steel—futuristic elements that enhance the room’s contemporary surroundings.

(Related: Home Tour: How A Designer Convinced Her Client To Use Colourful Accents In This Cosy London Apartment

“The client wanted a glossy, masculine aesthetic for much of the property and this brief inspired my design choices for the informal living room, an important room as the client foresaw spending a lot of time in this space. I chose a monochromatic palette that placed glossy, luxurious finishes at its heart,” says Pooley.

This blue bedroom features bedding made bespoke by Katharine Pooley, custom-made selenite wall  lights and wallpaper from Altfield
This blue bedroom features bedding made bespoke by Katharine Pooley, custom-made selenite wall lights and wallpaper from Altfield

To accommodate the family’s love of films and music, a high-tech AV home cinema system sits above a marble-framed fireplace. This cutting-edge feature resembles a mirror but when activated, a screen appears through the glass. This cosy retreat overlooks the newly added ground floor terrace, where the team has built a large retractable screen for an outdoor cinema experience. This private enclave offers the bird’s-eye view of the nearby Hyde Park and houses a glass lift built within the property’s central grand staircase, a complicated and meticulous process that took two years.

(Related: 10 Whimsical Designer Pieces For Your Home

An onyx feature wall is the focal point of the spa area
An onyx feature wall is the focal point of the spa area

“Every detail was considered and taken care of, and the client was able to continue his busy life. When the project was finally completed, the client and his family were spellbound by the design and also thrilled that we created it for them,” says Pooley, beaming with pride at the results.

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Art & Design Tatler Homes Home Tour Home Tour Decor Furniture London De Gournay Lasvit Katharine Pooley

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