Deck­ing out ev­ery­thing from su­per-yachts to coun­try piles, peter Mi­kic’s in­te­ri­ors are mas­ter­pieces in colour

Living Etc - - CONTENTS / ETC -

Aus­tralian-born, Lon­don-based in­te­rior de­signer Peter Mi­kic has forged a rep­u­ta­tion for highly tex­tured, colour­ful, tai­lored and so­phis­ti­cated spa­ces, draw­ing on his back­ground as a fash­ion de­signer be­fore mov­ing into in­te­ri­ors in 2006. Now with head­quar­ters in an ever-ex­pand­ing Shored­itch of­fice with a team of 12, he over­sees projects as di­verse as KX gyms and coun­try piles, lux­ury city apart­ments and su­per-yachts for the likes of Elis­a­beth Mur­doch. Here, he shares his de­sign se­crets.

How did you get started?

I grad­u­ated in fash­ion and tex­tiles at RMIT Univer­sity and started menswear la­bel Stonewood & Bryce with fel­low grad­u­ate and friend Theo Van­derzalm be­fore mov­ing to Lon­don in 1995. It was great fun and a huge suc­cess – for five years, we showed on the cat­walk in Mi­lan along­side Dolce&gab­bana and Prada, we sold to amaz­ing shops like Har­vey Ni­chols, Bar­neys New York and Bergdorf Goodman and had fans in­clud­ing David Beck­ham and Jude Law.

So how did you break into in­te­ri­ors?

Prop­erty de­vel­op­ers Nick and Chris­tian Candy com­mis­sioned us to do the uni­forms for the staff on their su­per-yacht Candyscape I in 2006. They fell so in love with

the elab­o­rately em­broi­dered ki­monos we de­signed for the wait­resses that they asked us to de­sign the cur­tains and cush­ions too. Then they bought the La Belle Epoque pent­house in Monaco, for which we did all the em­broi­dery, in­clud­ing 18m pan­els for an enor­mous din­ing room, de­pict­ing Ja­panese cranes fly­ing around the room.

What’s your style?

Ev­ery­thing I do is about how it feels – does a space make you want to lie on that sofa, cook in that kitchen, sleep in that bed­room? Work­ing with sump­tu­ous ma­te­ri­als and sen­su­ous, en­velop­ing colours that draw you into a space and make you never want to leave is also im­por­tant. And I love colour – it takes me to a com­pletely dif­fer­ent place men­tally and emo­tion­ally.

When do you draw the line on ‘more is more’?

Bold and bright can feel har­mo­nious, but it all has to work to­gether so that no sin­gle thing stands out. If I use a bold colour on a wall, I have to use the same bold­ness in other ar­eas (floor, fur­ni­ture and light­ing). Noth­ing should over­whelm – I want some­one en­ter­ing a room to be able to ab­sorb it in its en­tirety and then slowly start to no­tice things bit by bit, not be bowled over by one ‘wow’ thing.

What in­spires your de­sign schemes?

It might come from a client – their love for a ta­ble or art­work – or I’ll start with a fab­ric like vel­vet be­cause this will go into the smarter rooms, set­ting the mood for the rest of the house. I like to keep up with what’s new in wall­pa­per and fab­ric. Currently, I’m re­ally lov­ing Phillip Jef­fries’ wo­ven raf­fia wall cov­er­ings, Cole & Son’s Ard­more African print wall­pa­pers and borders and Pierre Frey’s ikat-style Haikou pat­tern. I’m go­ing to use this in a child’s bed­room for a house in the coun­try.

How do you cre­ate vis­ual bal­ance in a room?

I in­stall ev­ery­thing, take a break for a day or so and then come back to re­assess, usu­ally re­mov­ing 30 per cent. Spac­ing and pro­por­tion are es­sen­tial – you must be able to walk around a sofa, so if there’s not much room, go for an ex­tra-large chair rather than a sofa, teamed with a lovely ot­toman. Add pat­tern to the floor with a soft, vi­brant rug – it cre­ates cosi­ness with­out over­stuff­ing the room. It’s im­por­tant for the eyes to feel calm and for you to psy­cho­log­i­cally not feel locked in. Flow is cru­cial for the mind – the space must be able to breathe.

What’s your own home like?

My part­ner Se­bas­tian [Scott, a tele­vi­sion pro­ducer] and I ren­o­vated an old ho­tel in Not­ting Hill to be­come our home – it was chaos. Ev­ery ceil­ing was low­ered, ev­ery room was di­vided, a stair­case was miss­ing, pi­geons were liv­ing on the top floor, plas­ter­board walls were at all sorts of strange an­gles. Now our home re­veals ev­ery­thing about me. I like hav­ing things I’ve found on our trav­els on dis­play – not for any­one else’s in­ter­est, but more to re­mind me of my life ex­pe­ri­ences. Accessories such as bold, graphic rugs were also vi­tal for lift­ing our spir­its in the rooms where we en­ter­tain.

How do you make a room feel unique?

I like hav­ing things made and be­ing able to see the fin­ger marks of the maker. I work with ar­ti­sans who still carve and foundries who make me bronze han­dles or legs for so­fas. I use Ash­ley Hicks’ hand-beaten han­dles for door and drawer knobs

and all my rugs are made in Nepal, tra­di­tion­ally hand-knot­ted us­ing Ti­betan wool, Chi­nese silk hemp and linen. I’ve just de­signed a ta­ble with old barn wood, treated, cleaned and coloured in vivid brights, then en­cased in resin by Barn in the City, teamed with blocky legs in the mid­dle, so you can’t see them, and edged with bronze. Crafts­man­ship brings hu­man­ity to a space so not ev­ery­thing looks too pol­ished and shiny.

Why do you love us­ing vin­tage pieces?

They bring his­tory and depth to a room that new fur­ni­ture doesn’t bring, whether they’re an­tique or mid-cen­tury. I’m guided by how a piece speaks to me – I like the slightly quirky, some­times even a bit weird. Vin­tage lights in a small bath­room cre­ate great in­ter­est, but they need to be tall and nar­row, so as not to take up too much vis­ual space.

Where do you go to buy?

I scour flea mar­kets to find bits and bobs for shelves, like Kemp­ton Park in Sun­bury and L’iles-sur-la-sorgue in Provence. I source a lot on­line from and an ar­ray of deal­ers like James Wor­rall and Do­rian Caf­fot de Fawes An­tiques via The Decorative Col­lec­tive web­site. I also have a net­work of small an­tiques shops around the coun­try who call when an in­ter­est­ing piece comes in. Not­ting­ham is es­pe­cially great for find­ing vin­tage fur­ni­ture. I also pick up lots of pieces from the Royal Draw­ing School’s end-of-year show.

How do you ground all that colour and pat­tern?

I like to use high­lights of both shiny and un­lac­quered me­tals, in­ter­est­ing woods, glass and mir­rors – all the things that help to throw light around a room. One client loved their very dark wooden din­ing ta­ble, but it was in an equally dark room, which was lucky to have an enor­mous win­dow. So I changed the table­top to glass and it looked so much bet­ter – the re­flec­tion and light com­pletely trans­formed the room.

Fi­nally, what’s up next?

We’re work­ing on a Ja­cobean-style new-build house com­plete with a carved stone stair­case, a huge apart­ment in a new Chelsea de­vel­op­ment called The Glebe, a min­i­mal­ist Lon­don ter­raced house and a ram­bling coun­try home for a fam­ily of five. What can I say? I like to be ver­sa­tile.

For more info about Peter’s work, visit pe­ter­mi­

CLOCKWISE from left peter in­jected this is­ling­ton house with hints of glam­our; a mag­nif­i­cent stair­case in the foyer of a late-vic­to­rian lon­don town­house; Ard­more border 109/5025, £20 per 10m, Cole & Son; Dutch com­pany Barn in the City gives wood new life with its iced Blue Modeste cof­fee ta­ble, from £19,305; and Crys­tal emer­ald wood from the com­pany

CLOCKWISE from right Deep, rich tex­tures add piz­zazz to a 19th-cen­tury pem­bridge Gar­dens villa; May­fair’s Charles Street gets the peter Mi­kic treat­ment; cut glass floor lamp, £1,950 for two,

James Wor­rall; and in­dul­gence is the or­der of the day for this lux­u­ri­ous lon­don en suite

CLOCKWISE from left this lit­tle cor­ner of north lon­don gets a colour splash; things get an­gu­lar in a Vic­to­rian town­house in le­in­ster Square; Wish­per cof­fee ta­ble, ap­prox £4,532; and fifties arm­chair, price for two avail­able on re­quest, Gior­gio ram­poni, both

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