Developer John Hitchcox puts the soul back into his home, where Jimi Hendrix used to live.
A Victorian villa in west London. On the ground floor are a kitchen, dining and living area, piano room and cloakroom. In the basement is a flexible living area with pool, music studio and utility room. On the first floor is the master suite. On the second floor are four bedrooms, shower room and bathroom.
When property tycoon and music buff, John Hitchcox saw this house, he bought it within a week. He loved the area but when he discovered Jimi Hendrix had written Purple Haze when he was living here in 1967, it felt like serendipity and gave the house soul.
However, just after its first renovation the house burnt down, so John and his wife, Phoebe have just completed its latest refurbishment. The major structural difference this time is the back room, which has been completely opened up and supported by a pin – disguised as what looks like a giant chair leg.
Neither of the couple cooks much but they entertain a lot so the kitchen is practical and in keeping with the space. They like to be organised so love that everything has its place, behind closed doors.
John thinks open-plan living really helps to make a happy home. He loves that the whole family (which includes two teenagers and a toddler) can all be in the same space together but doing their own thing.
With Philippe Starck as a business partner and a design empire at his disposal – much of the furniture has been custom-made by Yoo Studio.
The retractable roof – which opens on to the terrace outside the couple’s bedroom above – allows guests to dine alfresco when the weather allows. The mirrored door gives the impression of stepping into a secret garden.
For John, who pioneered loft living in London in the Nineties, the stand-out area is the basement, a flexible living space, with professional music studio, playroom and a dance floor, which descends to reveal a Bond-like swimming pool.
John (who originally trained as a conductor) has built up a collection of guitars, including one of the first electric models and another used by Beatle George Harrison, by rewarding himself with one when he finishes a project.
Glamorous metallic tiles and a bespoke guitar-shaped marble basin, set the tone for the rest of the house.
John had this print of The Bather by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (just seen) blown up for $35. He picked up pictures of Chinese girls on a work trip.
This is a sanctuary for John’s wife, Phoebe. Mirrors on both sides provide optimum light, and a handy adjoining walk-in wardrobe.
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