British architects and interior designers SHH took on the new-build Kensington House project in London with a commission to create a complete interiors scheme for the six storey house.
Kensington House by SHH
The property is comprised of a very generously proportioned reception room, large formal dining room, family room, cinema and pool room, all located on the lower 3 floors. The entire first floor is occupied by the master suite, with the remaining two floors taken up by 5 further bedrooms and en suite bathrooms.
The client’s brief was simple. The house had to suit the needs of an international couple with a large family. As for the look? ‘Cream, off-white and funky’. The new-build house is a contemporary take on a Georgian terrace house, set within a classic Square, combining all the conveniences of modern living with state-of-the-art AV and comfort cooling, without compromising on space and traditional proportions.
UPPER GROUND LEVEL
The house is entered at upper ground level, which consists of a double volume entrance foyer (overlooked by the mezzanine from the master suite floor), a free-floating staircase and the principle reception room. The entrance hall floor is Buffon limestone with one double volume wall hung in a creased, pearlised wallpaper from Brian Yates. The long wall on the right features an exaggerated silver gilt mirror from Harrison and Gill and a rabbit fur-upholstered ottoman with chrome legs from Interdesign by Ipe Cavalli, whilst a forest of 12 Broom lamps, in assorted heights by Brand Van Egmond from Greenwich Village, complete the installation. The far back wall, housing the stair windows, is hung with a voile curtain, with hand-stitched voile circles from JAB, tied back with 3 bespoke silk and crystal tiebacks from Jason d’Souza.
A centrally-located double door ushers visitors into the 66 sq m reception room. The bespoke, irregularly shaped floor rugs, from Tim Page Carpets and designed by Rene Dekker of SHH, are made from a wool and silk mix; with the pattern based on the weave of the formal scatter cushions. These (3) are laid out in such a way as to gently guide the visitor either left or right without splitting the room in two halves. The front part of the room is to be used as the formal area and has been treated in a more prescribed manner, thus having the largest chandelier (the Light shade by Moooi from Greenwich Village), Cocoon and Moon sofas by the Swedish designer Kagan from Interior Supply, upholstered in faux kid skin from J Robert Scott. It also has two Ferlea leather chairs from Greenwich Village and a selection of Minotti Caulfield tables from EDC.
The garden side of the room, has a less formal feel, using low Italian style modular seating in the form of the Dune by Emmemobile from EDC, upholstered in a light pewter velvet from J Robert Scott, combined with the pearlised leather upholstered Dragonflies from Interior Supply, a faux fur pouf and extra large chair, both from Ipe Cavalli. The chandeliers are the small and medium Light shade and the art is an original mixed media on canvas by Scottish Artist Elidh Macaskill. A second entrance door to the room has been skilfully blanked off using two laser-cut metal panels, designed on the traditional damask pattern and hung with crystals.
Curtains throughout are full height, lined silky linen with the over curtains done in a crocheted type cream leatherette both from Sahco Hessline The whole scene is beautifully encased within the pearlised polished plaster walls, applied by DKT.
This is reached via the main staircase and comprises a passage leading into the family room at the back and the dining room at the front, both of which can be accessed through the centrally located internal kitchen. The passage houses a specially made giant Scheherazade light by artists Eric de Dormael and Sylvie Janvier for Ombré Portée and supplied in the UK by Cameron Peters. This consists of a floor standing light box incorporating 2m high metal rods with feather and glass bead tips, gently swaying when ever there is the lightest air movement.
The family room is comfortable, warm and airy, decorated using soft creams and natural shades. The wall covering is a basket weave vinyl by Vescom UK with the floor consisting of layers of sumptuous carpet and shag pile rug both by Stark Carpets. A modular sofa by Minotti is upholstered in alternate hounds tooth and plain silky chenille by Zimmer Rohde and is scattered with various silk cushions. The coffee table is made up of a mock croc upholstered ottoman and glass up and over table called the Ryan and Pat from Interior Supply and these are complimented by a small Fil de Fer floor lamp from Greenwich Village and the Cezar side table, a quirky hourglass-shaped design in off-white satin lacquer by Minotti.
The focus in this room is the wall unit, specially made by Page Lacquer, based on a design by the team. It artfully combines two complimenting colour lacquers into a floor and wall unit used both to house the TV as well as creating storage and display. The under curtains are lined silk with the over curtains in an unlined ‘tea biscuit’ fabric by Decorator Walk, designed by American interiors guru Kelly Werstler and supplied by Turnell and Gigon. The scene is rounded off with the large Galotti and Radice ‘Sole’ mirror centred at the far end of the room.
The dining room, with is formal proportions, uses minimalist Italian table, the Raj from Galotti and Radici and chairs from Minotti, to great effect against the spectacular backdrop of the cross combed polished plaster fire breast, applied by DKT. The remaining walls are hung in a soft greige silk from Vescom UK with the two long elevations using the Silent Gliss Panel glide system to show off alternate banners of circular voile from Zimmer Rohde and a silk weave by J Robert Scott. These opaque and transparent banners allow the room to be treated with differing levels of day light, depending on the mood and the occasion. The jewel in the room is the Hellbob, designed by Ruhl Haagmans of Windfall and supplied by Cameron Peters. This serpentine layout, is made up of 12 wire frame, suspended balls, precision encrusted with thousands of Swarovski crystals. The spheres are shown in 3 different sizes and are hung at different levels, creating a sparkling ‘Milky Way’ constellation.
The pool level lobby is a mezzanine room overlooking the pool and is used to access the stairs to that level. The windows, curtained in a contemporary damask voile from JAB, frame the space age polished silver Megaron chair from Cheetah Design.
This floor is located in the basement of the house and encompasses the cinema, utility room, large pool leisure room, plant room and staff quarters. The pool room is unique in its sheer size, covering almost 104 sq m – a luxury considering the space restrictions of most modern living! By far the largest area is taken up by the pool, with ancillary areas housing the open double shower and the jacuzzi as well as the plant room and changing area.
The far short wall is hung with a retro design washable wall paper by Elitis from Abbott and Boyd, whose design inspired the rest of the silver and white scheme. To soften the room, the long elevation to the right makes use of banners in a striped sheer also from Abbott and Boyd. Both long elevations are hung with giant glass fibre sculptures which were specially chosen, enlarged versions of the design on the wall paper, 3 in silver and 3 in white, unifying the whole scheme (made by DKT). The occasional furniture consists of a polished chrome chaise and an accompanying seat both by Megaron, the floor light is the Luna Nel Pozzo by Catellani (a silvered sphere with small exposed light bulb, sub-merged under water) and the side tables are the Rock Meteors by Arik Levi. The scheme is complimented by the crocodile embossed leather upholstered workout bench and matching dumbbells. The jacuzzi and changing area have used silver lacquered pieces from a range by Odue, designed by Marco Maggioni and Giorgio Gurioli and supplied by Cameron Peters.
In the entrance passage, just outside the cinema, a selection of silicone pots, made of floppy soft white silicone, sit comfortably together on a sand blasted crystal drappé. The Foulard console resembles a draped sheet of fabric, instantly frozen in time.
The cinema room, originally larger but reduced to add a small staff room, is never the less a great family sized entertainment area, covering 36 sq m. At the far end of the room is the 62 inch plasma screen TV and accompanying speakers. These have all been cleverly incorporated into the new black suede wall, which has removable panels for access by the AV specialists. New overhead bulkhead lighting was installed, on a separate circuit, to compliment the existing system and to create extra drama if required. The carpet used here is a stone coloured strie loop pile from Stark, sitting well with the stone suede walls, from Stereo, and matching scatter cushions in fabrics from Robert Allen. Fun young seating is supplied in the form of the Boa sofa from Edra with the more grown up Loveseats from Arkitipo supplied by Interdesign UK. Added occasional lighting by way of the large and medium Dolmen lights from GVUK, the Fat Fat table from B&B Italia and the string curtains from Missoni round off the room.
1st FLOOR – MASTER SUITE LEVEL
The master suite occupies the entire 1st floor and includes a mezzanine entrance foyer which overlooks the front door and entrance foyer below, a large his and hers bathroom, a dressing room and the bedroom.
The suite, entirely done in off-white, is entered by way of a small foyer off which the other three rooms lead. Together with the dressing room, the walls here have been hung in a delicate genuine mother of pearl wall tile laid out in a ¾ staggered brick format, ingeniously hiding the tile joints, making the whole area ‘seemingly seamless’. A bespoke contemporary plaster and wood sculpture sits proudly at the entrance to the dressing room. This Rabih Hage creation called the Semi Semainier, resembling a tall piece of furniture, was specially made by the artist to suit the narrow wall that it guards. Originally in dark fumed oak, the dressing room wardrobe doors have been upholstered in a pearlised faux leather and the handles have been replaced with a chrome and acrylic design to soften the overall feel. A plush wall to wall, carpet finishes off the room.
This off white, pure wool trellis design from Stark runs through into the bedroom, where the walls are hung in the most delicate moiré covering. Called Silver Snow from the Precious Metals Collection by Maya Romanoff, this subtle take on a classic style makes use of a gossamer-thin silk expertly glued to a silver leaf backing. This method makes the watermarks delicately dance across the wall depending on where the viewer is standing and how much light is being reflected.
Upon entering the room, one is immediately aware of the contemporary chandelier ensemble. Made up of solid Swarovski crystal and hollow glass candles, the master lighting designer, Ruhl Haagmans has created a modern version of the traditional chandelier, called The Balance. With the two main groups, each component is suspended separately from the ceiling by thin tension wires and is hung to look like a traditional fitting. No power is supplied to the actual components, rather they are spot lit by recessed l/v ceiling down lights. Between them, single ‘Little Balances’ float ethereally as if, like tiny bubbles, escaping the two main groups, over a tall silver plinth from Boffi. The ’18 arm’ sits in the right hand corner at high level, over two Narciso arm chairs, finished in chrome and upholstered in pearilsed mock croc and a small round ‘Stars’ table, both from Boffi at Interdesign. The full length Ice mirror from Mint completes this vignette. The 8 arm, suspended slightly lower, sits over the Phillipe Starck Darkside console table from Baccarat, the chrome Yvette chair by Boffi and the specially designed, 3 drawer bevelled glass make up unit, from Johnny Egg.
Floating in front of the sheer voiles from Fox Linton, a giant, shaped headboard float buttoned with Swarovski crystals, crowns the super king bed base by Ipe Cavali, both upholstered in faux kidskin. The bed is scattered with a collection of different sized cushions in silks and linens, delicately trimmed with crystals and feathers, along side the fur throw and the linen bedcover from Romo. The picture is finally framed with two bespoke bevelled glass and mirror side tables from Johnny Egg, clear glass bobble lamps from Davidson and silver silk lampshades by A Shade Above.
Bedroom two was designed to reflect the taste of a young stylish adult with a penchant for Schiaparelli pink. Greige strie carpet by Stark is used on the floor and the window treatment includes self-patterned silk/cotton curtains by Rubelli and voiles by JAB. The barely damask design, done in minute glass balls on the oyster wall paper by Ulf Moritz from Brian Yates, envelopes this sophisticated scheme. The complimenting bed in faux kidskin with its deep buttoned headboard and plain bed base is a classical style used in this contemporary idiom and sits well next to the simple chrome tables with classical leg from HB. The humour is brought in with the Set up Shades by Moooi from GVUK and the felt cushions by Anne Kyyro Quinn, as well as the large fun fur floor cushions. Extra wardrobes were designed to include a high-gloss silver lacquer carcass and sand blasting on the mirrors using the wall paper repeat. The plexi glass desk and chair by K2, designed by one of the team, was made in a 30mm material and then added to with sandblasting and coloured up with a pink cushion. Task lighting comes in the form of the Giant curved floor lamp from Dwell.
Bedroom 3 has a slightly more 60’s feel to it, defined by the Missoni rug that dominates the room. The slight floral, painted anaglyptic on the wall, glass beaded covering behind the headboards and the white silk and voile curtains act as a blank canvas for the multitude of colours used in this scheme. Bespoke headboards in bubble gum colours, scatter cushions in silks, satins and mohair all expertly detailed with special trimmings sit playfully on the pink Mr Sam beds by Il Loft from Interdesign. The finishing touch is given by the fitted cream floral bedcover by Sahco, framed by the contrasting throw in green mohair velvet. Added lighting uses pendant shades in matching fabrics next to the beds and a large floor standing lamp, swathed in matching fabric and topped with a fun drum both by A Shade Above. Other occasional items include bespoke fun-fur bean bags, chrome side tables on zebrano bases from HB and the over scaled Govinda dresser from GVUK, detailed with porcelain daisies.
The turquoise bedroom (bedroom 4), although considered and quite mature, was in fact created for the youngest member of the family who had quite a definite opinion on her room. Layers of window treatment allow for the creation of a multitude of moods. Strict geometric voiles from Zimmer and Rohde sit between the plain black out silk curtains and the laser cut turquoise panels from Abbott and Boyd. When drawn, these panels cast exquisite shadows over the thick luxurious rug from Tim Page Carpets. Again, bespoke headboards in exaggerated curves, draw the viewer to look at the beds, both upholstered in turquoise fabric from Abbott and Boyd. This is in stark contrast to the soft cream shades of the ribbed velvet bedcovers from Romo, mohair throw from Abbott and Boyd and the scatter cushions from Jason d’Souza, Donghia and Anne Kyyro Quinn. The leisure area consists of the Curly turquoise leather chair from Interdesign and white storage boxes from Cheetah Design, with the work space dominated by the Klemm table and the Phillips side chair (both from EDC) upholstered in Donghia. Other features here are the floral plexi glass mirror and matching clear bedside tables designed by the team as well as the tall Camp light and the Cobra bedside lamps both from Conciluce. The walls are in ‘crosses’ from Brian Yates.
Bedroom 5 was designed according to the strict oriental theme, which dominates the life of this family member. The bamboo partition headboard, dark wood bedside tables and lamps as well as the bed itself are all from the Otto range by Gervasoni from Roger Oats. Further furniture includes two Japanese wardrobes designed by the team and made by Interior Joinery, finished in aged oak and using horsehair panels from in the doors. The repertoire is completed with a contemporary upholstered chair from Wychwood and reproduction Japanese footstool. Walls are hung in raw silk from Vescom UK and the panel glide window treatment uses alternate banners of taupe mohair from Fox Linton and sheer and leatherette fabric by Elitis from Abbott and Boyd.
Bedroom 6 belongs to the oldest sibling in the family, whose request was to use greys, buttermilk and a smattering of red. Although the smallest room, it does not feel cluttered in here with the large Italian bed from Minotti, upholstered in faux elephant from Lelievre. Simple complimenting grey wools, from Fox Linton, were used in the scatter cushions and the burst of colour comes from Donghia. A lined silk strie from J Robert Scott makes up the bed cover and this is complimented by the mohair and satin throw. The bedside tables are wall hung drawer units from GVUK as are the simple yet effective Luce Che Dipinge wall lights from GVUK, which use reflected light on a white-framed canvas to maximum effect. New zebrano doors by Interior Joinery, replace the plain taupe ones originally fitted by the developer, to add some personality to this small room. Additional items include the Barr cube polished table and the Barr cube stool in leather, both from HB and a mirrored cube, swivel storage unit from Interdesign.
Visit the SHH website – here.