Adventures in pattern
A guide to balancing colour and prints
From opulent wallpapers to a gold-leaf clad
living room, nothing about this north London family home is half-hearted. Patterns are layered on top of patterns and design studio Les Trois Garçons has mixed different styles, countries and periods. ‘The starting point was the clients themselves,’ says the studio’s Hassan Abdullah of homeowners Alistair Graham and Yen Sum. ‘Al is English/ Australian and his wife Yen is Malaysian/chinese via Australia, so we wanted to convey their mixed heritage in the interior of the house.’ The couple share the four-storey property with their son Hugo (four), and another baby is on the way.
Key to the look of this home is fearlessness. Instead of adding the odd statement wall, the designers have created rooms that are enveloped in 360-degree pattern and colour. The hallway is clad in striking Cole & Son wallpaper – a damask with metallic blue peacocks – and rather than complement these grandiose walls with more pared-back accessories, Hassan has thrown caution to the wind. There are carved Chinese dragon chairs, two vintage Italian chandeliers, a classical bust, and a sunburst mirror. ‘Strong wallpaper needs dark and bold furnishings to anchor it,’ he explains.
The most imposing space is the palatial living room, where the walls and ceiling are clad in cork wallpaper that has been coated in gold leaf. ‘The down-to-earth cork gives the gilding a rather lovely sheen,’ says Hassan. The room’s look was inspired by a house the Dalai Lama once stayed in when visiting west London. The accompanying furnishings are arranged symmetrically: a button-back wing chair and a modern armchair are mirrored by the same designs at the other end of the room. ‘ We wanted to instil some order, otherwise it could have been too busy,’ says Hassan. ‘The combination of antique and modern pieces also restores a sense of balance – they don’t fight each other.’
This blend of old and new is reflected elsewhere in the house. In the kitchen, alongside burnished wallpaper that resembles antiqued mirror panels sits a strikingly industrial addition: a wooden sign salvaged from a cinema in Newcastle. All of the vintage pieces were sourced by Les Trois Garçons on special buying trips to France, Brussels, Italy and England, while the duo designed the majority of the contemporary furniture themselves.
Each room is designed to have a different ambience. ‘It’s boring when the whole house looks the same,’ says Hassan. ‘A home should reflect the character of its owners and cater for different moods. Al and Yen love strong pattern and design; our job was to make everything work beautifully.’ lestroisgarcons.com