This apartment at Chapter House, a restored Victorian property in the heart of London’s theatre district, has two bedrooms, an open-plan living space, ‘zoned’ to give a distinct feel to the living, kitchen and dining areas. The apartment also features generous outside space with views of the varied architecture of the area.
'Japandi' style has become known colloquially in the design industry as the fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics. In this compact yet spacious Covent Garden apartment, the overall result is a design scheme that is highly curated, contemporary, fresh and warm. The home, designed by Stephane Piazza, Architect and Designer at Clerkenwell-based Apt Architects, combines Ikebana-style greenery, mid-Century wooden furniture, minimalistic accessories and generous geometric forms.
The sleek, black kitchen is by Dada.
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A low window gives a view of the bustling street below.
An open-plan living room, kitchen and dining area is a study in silhouettes, from the angular red armchairs to the curving, pale sofa and the boxy windows, framing the central London views. A modern black Dada kitchen contrasts with these feminine curves and bright pops of colour. A Brutalist dining table is a foil to the soft tapestry artwork on the wall.
'The choice of furniture in the open-plan living room was inspired by ultimate design classics,' architect Stephane Piazza says. 'We chose the Utrecht Cassina red armchairs for their geometry and because they are a beautiful example of modern architectural design. Their striking profile is one of the first things the owners encounter when entering the apartment.'
He adds, 'balance is key to the space, and the curved, low-texture sofa introduces a certain softness.'
To achieve this balance, Piazza says that the final decisions for the dressing of the space were made within a short time frame. He says, 'pretty much everything was decided simultaneously to make sure that each piece adequately contributed to the final scheme, in the right proportions and in the right location.'
A compact dining area sits next to the kitchen, and leads out to the terrace.
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Stephane Piazza’s brief was to create a space that felt aesthetically holistic, 'each item being part of a puzzle' in the metropolitan scheme. The way the space is configured means that different rooms branch off into unexpected spaces, such as tangential bedrooms and bathrooms, that give each room a sense of privacy.
Piazza says, 'I wanted the owners’ first impressions as they came through the front door to be peace and comfort, with an element of surprise, too. The owners can walk through the rooms and discover spaces within spaces; we created special moments along the way by combining classic, vintage and eccentric pieces to give each space an eclectic, design-led feel.'
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The two bedrooms in the apartment share a stillness and a quietness that is usually unachievable in such a bustling part of the UK’s largest city. Heavy, thick curtains soften the largely minimalist, cool schemes, along with tactile, textured wallpaper and soft bed linens. Vintage accents come from the small side table and Anglepoise-style lamp in the guest bedroom, and the mid-Century style occasional chair and abstract console table in the master bedroom (above). These sleek, wooden pieces introduce the warmth seen in the living room into the bedrooms to unite the scheme.
'Throughout the design process, we played with various textures and materials to ensure there was a red thread throughout the apartment, bringing the rooms together for the owner to create a really intuitive space. We landed on warm woods, which give each of the space a real sense of depth.'
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The dynamic outdoor terrace was designed with entertaining in mind by Andy Sturgeon, landscape and garden designer and winner of the Best Show Garden award at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019.
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Sturgeon says, 'The plants we chose were specified to fit the aspect of the terrace. The more shady areas include shade-tolerant species such as Dicksonia Antarctica, Libertia Grandiflora and Nandina Domestica. The sunnier spaces include species such as Amelanchier Lamarkii, Cistus and Pennisetum Alopecuroides Hameln.'
The soft-furnishings outside give the outdoor space a cosy feel, perfect for long summer evenings or crisp winter afternoons with a range of outdoor-safe blankets and cushions.
Piazza says, 'We designed the outdoor space to act as a continuation of the main indoor living space, creating a sense of fluidity that transcends the seasons.' The romantic views of classic London architecture provide an awe-inspiring backdrop for the owners and their guests.
The scenery demonstrates the contrast of the original Victorian brickwork of the development, with the contemporary glass architecture just across the street. The towering brick walls that flank the garden give the owners privacy and seclusion, remaining safe in the knowledge that they are still in the middle of theatreland and amongst the best venues and restaurants in the world.
The apartment also has access to a stylish, private home gym space.
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Designed in the same Japandi style by Apt Architects, the gym is exclusive to residents of this building.
Apartment in Chapter House, designed by Apt Architects
Photographer: Jack Hobhouse