‘My design has a certain theatricality’
me because they want something different. My design has a certain theatricality and playfulness. It tells a story,” he says.
Despite the down-to-earth location, off the usual beaten track for A-list actresses and supermodels, Carter’s house has hosted an extraordinary number of famous names. Helen Mirren and Orlando Bloom are among a long list of actors to have filmed there, Emeli Sandé and Paloma Faith are some of the many to have shot music videos in the house, and hundreds of fashion photographers have helped it grace front covers all over the world. Many other visitors pass through its theatrical corridors for monthly event nights, including Bedtime Story Nights that see them spilling out on to the pavements in their pyjamas.
Also known as the “micro boutique hotel” 40 Winks (40winks.org), this quirky three-bedroom house, built in 1717, is one of the oldest in London. When Carter bought it 20 years ago, for £149,999 from the Spitalfields Historic Building Trust, it was near derelict. “It had never had any heating beyond the fireplaces and the only running water was the rain that poured in from the roof. You could sit in the kitchen and look up to see the sky,” says Carter, whose (now ex) wife was pregnant with their first child at the time. He spent two years and huge sums renovating the ruin, partly financed by a grant from the Heritage Trust.
“In the Sixties, the house was used as a launderette, and after that simply for storage, so much of the original panelling and staircases survived. The East End was never a fashionable place to live, so houses in this area avoided modernisation in the Fifties and Sixties that saw people ripping out all the original features,” says Carter. He preserved and restored what he could and turned the rest into the most exotic of family homes.
He commissioned Timna Woollard, the decorative painter – whose chinoiserie designs can be seen on the walls of The Wolseley – to paint his kitchen in the late Renaissance style of Rome’s Palazzo Sacchetti. The moodily cloudy sky on the ceiling is also echoed in the music room higher up the building, adorned with a chandelier made from
The house in Bow was completely restored, main; the opulent bathroom with gold walls, below