east meets west
Returning to the UK after living abroad, Sammy and Nim Harari filled their new home with bold colour and Asian elegance
Years spent living in Thailand inspired one couple to give their new home in London an Asian twist
Having sold his advertising agency and spent time travelling around Asia, Sammy Harari got married and settled down with his wife Nim on the island of Ko Samui in Thailand where he became involved in property development. The birth of Sasha, now 7, and Skye, 4, a few years later prompted the family to move back to the UK. ‘Our children were just getting to the age where we were thinking about schools, and it seemed a good idea to have them educated here,’ says Sammy.
The couple knew precisely where they wanted to live, which was in a Georgian terrace on a particular road in west London. So when a property came onto the market here, they put an offer in straight away. ‘ We pretty much bought it sight unseen,’ says Sammy. ‘The story goes that the houses on the street were built as homes for the mistresses of prominent gentlemen. The size was just what we were looking for, but the layout wasn’t quite right, as the bedrooms were on the ground floor and the sitting room was upstairs.’
So the pair embarked on a renovation project that would take more than a year to complete. ‘We had no desire to rush into anything,’ explains Sammy. ‘The more planning you can do right at the beginning, the fewer mistakes happen further down the line.’
Fortunately, the Hararis had the help of May Wong of May Ping Designs. The interior designer, who lives
locally, had collaborated with Sammy on many of his international projects, so he felt confident leaving her to oversee the renovation while he worked abroad.
The priority was to make better use of the available space, opening up the ground floor to improve the flow of the interior. ‘ We wanted the dining room to lead on to the kitchen and the kitchen to overlook the garden, which we’d planned to re-landscape,’ explains Sammy. Additionally, a TV room would be located downstairs and a more formal drawing room, master en suite, guest bedroom and bathroom upstairs. The loft would house the children’s bedrooms and bathroom.
‘Ideas for decor and furnishings came later,’ says Sammy. ‘I wanted quirky English modern elegance. As Nim and I are both admirers of late designer David Collins’ interiors,’ bold colour features heavily on the ground-floor level. The dining room is painted purple, with gold and lime green in the curtains and chair seats, while works of art are set against the dark blue walls in the drawing room. On the floor above, muted tones lend a restful feel to the bedrooms, with subtly textured walls and delicate patterned wallpaper.
Vintage furniture blends in with the modern aesthetic, alongside finishing touches with an Eastern heritage. ‘ We’ve got the best of both worlds here,’ says Sammy. ‘A 200-year-old building with a contemporary interior, which also reminds us of our time abroad.’
KITCHEN- DINER Sleek and streamlined, the glossy wall units match the splashback and contrast with the wood veneer. Gaggenau flat kitchen hood series 200, £1,108, Kitchens & more. For similar glossy kitchen cupboards try echo Grey, from £3,304, magnet
DRAWING ROOM dark blue walls, velvet textures and large framed prints pack a punch. celestial polished cotton rug, £700sq m, colbourns. Versailles cubes, £395 for a set of two, Oka. Paco desk, £399, made.com
home truths THE PROPERTY Grade ii listed Georgian townhouse LOCATION West london ROOMS hall, family room, drawing room, dining room, kitchen-diner, four bedrooms (one en suite), two bathrooms PURCHASED 2013 PREVIOUS PROPERTY ‘ We still have our...
MASTER BEDROOM An oversized headboard creates a boutique hotel feel. cavendish headboard, from £600; cavendish bed, from £1,500, both the White company. chinese trunk in oyster, £245, the Nine schools. silkx by arte vinyl wallcovering, £23.60sq m,...
BATHROOM Luxury is the order of the day in this spa-like zone. leadon freestanding bath in matt white, £2,800; Zone Project wall-hung basin, £ 422, both cp Hart. fabbian d28 G03 00 light, £157, all square lighting. travertine polished wall tiles in...