MOD­ERN SCHEME

Mov­ing house is al­ways a chal­lenge, but even more so with a transat­lantic life­style, so the owner of this pe­riod prop­erty de­cided to call in the ex­perts to help with its to­tal trans­for­ma­tion

Homes & Gardens - - CONTENTS - AN­DRÉE FRIEZE RICHARD POW­ERS WORDS PHO­TO­GRAPHS

An ex­pert eye for ab­stract art­work adds a dis­tinc­tive touch to the calm dé­cor of this grand pe­riod home.

Life of­ten evolves in ways you do not ex­pect and for New Yorker Peter Stromberg, it has def­i­nitely thrown up a chal­lenge or two. “I came to Bri­tain in 2001 to open the Lon­don of­fice for my firm,” says Peter. “I thought it would only be for a short while, but six­teen years later, I’m still here.”

Peter has lived in Lon­don for all that time, but fol­low­ing the end of a long mar­riage he has had to start afresh, set­ting up a new fam­ily home for his three chil­dren who spend part of their time with him. “My ex-wife and I lived in Hamp­stead for ten years, so it made sense to stay in the same area,” he says. “Be­sides, I love it here as you feel as if you’re in the coun­try­side.

“This house ap­pealed to me be­cause of its glo­ri­ous pe­riod fea­tures,” says Peter. “It has gen­er­ously sized rooms, par­tic­u­larly on the ground floor, and a floor-to-ceil­ing glass ex­ten­sion over­look­ing the gar­den.” Peter had no ap­petite for a ren­o­va­tion so the fact that the pre­vi­ous own­ers had in­stalled new bath­rooms, cre­at­ing ex­tra space where nec­es­sary, and a mod­ern kitchen made the prop­erty even more at­trac­tive.

“Given my work com­mit­ments, which in­clude trav­el­ling back and forth be­tween here and Amer­ica for busi­ness, I de­cided I needed the help of an in­te­rior de­signer,” says Peter, “es­pe­cially as all I brought with me was a rug, one sig­nif­i­cant paint­ing, my li­brary and a wardrobe of clothes. A friend rec­om­mended Mar­ion Lichtig and when we met, we got along in­stantly, see­ing eye to eye on taste. I wanted the chil­dren to feel at home with the ca­sual el­e­gance that the space re­quires.”

At first, the min­i­mal aes­thetic in­tro­duced by the pre­vi­ous own­ers was not to Peter’s lik­ing. How­ever, as time has passed, he has found it re­fresh­ingly sim­ple and, thanks to Mar­ion’s ex­per­tise, he has been able to in­dulge his pen­chant for clas­sic Danish fur­ni­ture, mid-cen­tury ab­stract paint­ings and Per­sian rugs. The re­sult is that she has cre­ated a calm and re­lax­ing fam­ily home that looks as though it has evolved grad­u­ally.

“Peter was in­cred­i­bly gen­er­ous with his trust in me,” says Mar­ion. “I had to buy lit­er­ally ev­ery­thing, which for an in­te­rior de­signer is a won­der­ful sit­u­a­tion to be in. But I still made sure that I took my time be­cause I like to feel my way as I go so that the house evolves, rather than be­ing done all at once.”

Mar­ion fo­cused on art­work in par­tic­u­lar, as this is one of Peter’s pas­sions, ev­i­denced by the fact that, in spite of her at­ten­tion, Peter is keen to add to his col­lec­tion. “When I moved to Lon­don, I went to var­i­ous fairs, in­clud­ing Frieze and the Af­ford­able Art Fair,” he says. “I’m drawn to early-to-midtwen­ti­eth-cen­tury ab­stract works, and I feel the house still needs some more paint­ings, es­pe­cially in my bed­room.”

This as­pect aside, Peter and Mar­ion feel that the house is fin­ished, with just some fine tun­ing re­quired. “I have quite a busy life, but I love com­ing back here – it has a real sense of calm,” says Peter. “I par­tic­u­larly en­joy the study in the early morn­ings when the win­ter light comes through the stained glass win­dows, and I like be­ing out in the gar­den on long sum­mer nights and host­ing bar­be­cues. It’s a fun house to live in and the fam­ily home that I was look­ing for.”

STUDY

The book­case was built to house Peter’s li­brary of books, as well as a life­time’s worth of doc­u­ments and let­ters. It was de­signed by Mar­ion and car­pen­ter Neil Traylen to echo the cab­i­netry in the kitchen.

Rug, Rare Rugs, rare­rugs.co.uk. Car­pen­try,

Neil Traylen, nrt­car­pen­try.co.uk.

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