New Elegance #10

Believe it or not, this clean-cut elegant house used to be a nightmare of swags, tails and ruby red Victoriana

Get the look: The chair, centre, is a mid-century find, recovered in Christopher Howe corduroy. These are Austrian armrest stacking chairs by Roland Rainer for Emil & Alfred Pollak. The cabinet is by Ico Parisi. The photograph is by Ryan McGinley. The drawings are by a family friend of the home owner.


A Victorian townhouse in north London. There is a kitchen and living room on the ground floor. The family room and dining area are on the lower-ground floor. The main suite and dressing room are on the first floor, with a study and WC on the half-landing. There are three bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor, with the family bathroom on that half-landing.

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Faithful fans of Victorian style, look away now. Because this north London townhouse breaks all tradition, having stripped out the overbearing fireplaces, terracotta tiles and generally staid aura and replacing it with a style that’s lighter, brighter and a whole lot sharper.

The furniture was painstakingly curated until the right Pierre Jeanneret chairs, the perfect Georgian sofa and the most delicately balanced mid-century Italian pendant came along.  The result is spaces that exercise restraint and balance: such as the angles of a chandelier subtly mirrored by an Alexander Calder mobile and the curves of two Martin Eisler armchairs echoed by a pair of Fifties chairs from Golborne Road.

Get the look: The lounge chair is by Martin Eisler. The paintings are by Jessica Dickinson. The photograph is by Nan Goldin. The mid-century light is from Caira Mandaglio – try 1stdibs for similar. The coffee table is by Fernand Dresse.

Every room deserves a centrepiece light and this mid-century design is big, beautiful and so poised. It doesn’t feel overbearing – it just hovers elegantly.

Without the distracting floridity of period features on the walls, photography by Moby, Nan Goldin and Anne Collier can get top billing. The art and photography collection injects extra dashes of originality into this home.

A vibrant blocky yellow emanates from the Jessica Dickinson artwork (pictured above) in the living room.

Get the look: The shelving is by Tamzin Greenhill Designs. The butterfly artwork is by Damien Hirst. The vintage chair is by Hans J Wegner.


This home is all about clean-cut interiors punctuated with covetable furniture and contemporary art.

The lazier end of the double-aspect family room mixes luxe seating with conceptual art from LA.

Get the look: The sofa is by Minotti. The cushions are from The Conran Shop. The Delay artwork is by Shannon Ebner.

Bespoke ice-white and brass shelving, above, provides storage for the plentiful stacks of art and design books.


The lower ground floor is a surprisingly light space, with iconic design shapes set against pale timber cladding and flush cabinetry, black-framed glazing and seamless terrazzo flooring.

A pivoting door leads out into the garden and helps provide end-to-end natural light, while designer lights add illumination. Toys, games and the stuff of family life are stored in the run of handleless cabinets.

Get the look: The table is a bespoke design by Clayton Cabinets. The Mobile chandelier and Tube wall light are by Michael Anastassiades. The dining chairs are vintage Mart Stam for Thonet. The concealed storage is by Tamzin Greenhill Designs, made by Grovecourt.


The crisp, streamlined kitchen has a timeless design. And when you get bored of it, it can be simply updated with different handles.

The kitchen table base is by Jean Prouvé, but the kitchen carcasses are by (gasp!) Ikea. The Michael Anastassiades lights in the kitchen (and lower-ground floor) exemplify clean-lined simplicity.

Get the look: The base of a dining table by Jean Prouvé is covered with a marble top. These are Medea dining chairs by Vittorio Nobili. The light is by Michael Anastassiades. The cabinets are Ikea carcasses, with handles by Sugatsune Kogyo UK. The appliances are by Gaggenau. The bar stools are by Allan Gould.


Six of the house’s old fireplaces went, making way for lots of  iconic lighting and mid-century shapes.

The original fireplaces were huge and dominated the rooms – if you’ve got a doorway on one wall, a radiator on the other and a really grand fireplace, it doesn’t leave much scope for redesigning a space. The solution? To replace them with surrounds in minimalist black steel and Belgian tiles – and pass on the old ones to neighbours. The result was clean, uninterrupted lines to work with and a good start to neighbourly relations.

Get the look: The Tulip table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll and EA 217 office chair by Charles and Ray Eames for Vitra are available at The Conran Shop. The artwork is by Ben Branagan.


To ease visitors into the more contemporary rooms, the hallway has retained a hint of Victorian style – it’s a transitional space. The old tiles have been kept but covered with new ones – in case the next owner wants to rediscover them.

Get the look: The floor tiles are by Emery & Cie. The photograph is by Anne Collier. The Esper pendant by Roll & Hill at SCP is similar to this one.


Monochrome tiles and Fifties-style mirrors exude the Art Deco glamour of a New York hotel suite.

Get the look: The statuary marble tile design, framed mirrors and washstand are by Tamzin Greenhill Designs.


In the bedroom, walls have been painted in deepest blue, the fireplace was reduced to a black steel surround and blackout curtains were hung to create a space that’s cosseting after dark.

Get the look: The walls are painted in Blue Note emulsion by Benjamin Moore. The artwork is by Wangechi Mutu. The throw is by Frette. The headboard is upholstered in a fabric by C&C Milano. The bedside light is by Paavo Tynell. The cabinet is vintage.

A sumptuous rug makes this corner of the main bedroom a cosy space to unwind in.

Get the look: The rug is by Luke Irwin. The ND83 chairs are by Nanna Ditzel Design for Snedkergaarden. The artwork is by Wangechi Mutu.

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Photography ⁄ Paul Raeside

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