By Hebe Hatton
'Our style ethos is spontaneity. Loving something immediately is crucial, if you have to think about it then it’s probably not right.' The mantra behind the decor scheme of former CEO of Vodaphone and Cheif Executive of Amazon turned philosopher-artist, Philipp Humm is clear in every room of his North London home. Every piece of furniture, every lighting fixture, the artwork on the walls, the sculptures that cover so many surfaces all feel curated, carefully chosen for that exact space.
For decades Humm was already making art under a synonym and it wasn't until 2016, when The Wall Street Journal made the connection between Philipp Humm and Rudolph Humm that Humm gave up the boardroom to pursue his first passion. This 'second life', as he himself calls if, needed a new home, so in the same year, Humm bought a dilapidated Victorian property in North London with his now wife, photographer Daniele Mah, and transformed it into the perfect modern home for their spontaneous approach to decorating to run wild.
For a former CEO and investor in some of the biggest names in tech, the home is surprisingly modest, and yet exactly right for a Dalí-esque artist, filled with quirky furniture and surrealist artwork. The house was originally a four-bed, however, the first floor has been turned in Humm's studio, with his bold, surrealist paintings lining the walls and rubber masks covering the mantle.
Humm's surrealist approach seeps from his artwork into his interiors, and every room is filled with quirky shapes and bold hues. 'Daniele and I have a few absolute favorites in the house, the red lip sofa, Bocca. Inspired by the 1935 Portrait of Mae West by Dalì, as well as from the hot red lips of Hollywood stars, Studio 65 architects achieved a masterpiece destined to become an object of cult.' says Humm. 'Dali is a driving inspiration in my work, as you’ll see, there are many pop art references running through my paintings and color palette. This is one of the ‘hero’ items in our abode.'
The central room that flows through into the open-plan kitchen-diner is the perfect example of how Humm and Mah carefully blend styles from all eras in one place. An antique mahogany chest sits in the center of the room, its polished surface reflecting the rosy pink glow of the neon light. A mid-century style leather couch sits in front of a deep charcoal wall where one of Humm's sticking, pop-art-like pieces hangs.
The kitchen, a sleek and simple black design, seems relatively tame in comparison to the rest of the house. It was chosen by Mah for the perfect contrast with the bold and intriguing artwork that sits on the adjunct wall – enough to make even the blandest of kitchens feel exciting. And note the splashback, it mirrors the gallery, adding color and depth to the minimalist kitchen.
'Another favorite is our marble dining table and chairs and the pink neon light on the ground floor. The marble was selected after trawling through many incredible slabs at the marble yard and was then cut to size. The table base was also custom-made for the slab.' explains Humm.
'The chairs were found on our favorite go-to place for furniture, 1st Dibs, they always have remarkable pieces, like our vintage Italian designer chairs from the 70's which were in immaculate condition. We are both drawn to strong colors and unique statement pieces of furniture that span from classical to contemporary, we think it’s always coolest when you mix these elements.'
On the second floor is the dramatic master bedroom. A mismatch of antiques from various eras brings contrasting shapes into the room. A baroque bed sits with a 70s chandelier and Mid-century modern pieces are paired with elegant carved wooden finds. Nothing matches and yet, just like all the other rooms in the home, it completely works.
In the bedroom, there's also what Humm calls his 'trash art' wall, a collection of drawings and charcoals from when he was studying at the London Art Academy.
Philipp Humm will showcase new works at Start Art Fair at Saatchi Gallery from 13 -17 October.
Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.
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