Go bold or go home: de­sign­ers turn up the vol­ume

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

Give me a de­cent bud­get to ren­o­vate my house, and top of my list would be some new cur­tains, a walkin pantry and loads more stor­age. But the fi­nal­ists in the So­ci­ety of Bri­tish In­te­rior De­sign (SBID) awards, which took place last week in Lon­don and cel­e­brated the best of the UK’s cre­ative minds, showed rather more am­bi­tion.

A home com­plete with a “sky city for cats” – an en­try into one of the three res­i­den­tial de­sign cat­e­gories – is a con­tem­po­rary home for a mother and daugh­ter in Tai­wan with soft light­ing, mod­ern wooden beams and a Scan­di­na­vian feel. One room was created with a dis­cern­ing fe­line client in mind: a scratch­ing pole runs up the wall, con­nected to an ob­sta­cle course on the ceil­ing, with hanging wicker ham­mocks.

It was up against a beach house in Shore­ham-by-Sea in West Sus­sex, which is half a home, and half a teen den with at­ti­tude. A sign in scrawl­ing blue neon let­ters hangs above the glass­fronted fire­place read­ing, “No­body is worth your tears and the one who is won’t make you cry”. To top it all off, a stain­less steel slide runs down from the games room on the first floor into the open­plan liv­ing area.

The most lux­u­ri­ous of all the en­tries was the £10mil­lion ren­o­va­tion of a 5,000 sq ft, four-bed­room du­plex pent­house on the 22nd floor of the Neo Bank­side com­plex on Lon­don’s South Bank. The clients – de­scribed as “a pro­fes­sional cou­ple with global busi­ness in­ter­ests” – wanted the in­te­ri­ors to re­flect their love of red and tigers.

The de­sign­ers, Hill House In­te­ri­ors, in­stalled a baby grand pi­ano in red lac­quer, a 300-bot­tle wine cel­lar un­der the stairs, and a su­per-sized din­ing ta­ble that has been crafted out of re­cy­cled sugar wood. It is ac­com­pa­nied by 12 red vel­vet din­ing chairs, and above it hangs a Sharon Marston co­ral and sil­ver chan­de­lier. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a life-size tiger pic­tured on the cou­ture rug in the liv­ing room.

The most suc­cess­ful projects at this year’s awards – which also cel­e­brate the best ho­tel, res­tau­rant and bar trans­for­ma­tions of 2018 – were more pala­tial than play­ful.

En­trants came from all over the world. The win­ner of the award for the best res­i­den­tial house un­der £1mil­lion was the Ir­rawady House in Ge­orge­town, Malaysia, by the de­sign firm Nev­er­more. Lav­ish and con­tem­po­rary, it boasts a float­ing black stair­case, an Ital­ian mar­ble counter in the kitchen, and gold fin­ishes through­out the house. It’s de­scribed as hav­ing old-school op­u­lence and con­tem­po­rary cosi­ness mixed un­der the same roof.

The judg­ing panel – which in­cluded Sir Michael Dixon, the di­rec­tor of the Nat­u­ral His­tory Mu­seum, and He­len Brock­le­bank, chief ex­ec­u­tive of lux­ury trade body Walpole – named a fam­ily home in Mis­sis­sauga, Canada, as the win­ner of the award for the best res­i­den­tial de­sign over £1mil­lion. This wa­ter­front prop­erty took two and a half years to ren­o­vate, and has been de­signed to em­u­late a manor house with clas­si­cal lines and a dou­ble-height hall. The seren­ity of the sub­tle colour scheme, of greys and blues with veined mar­ble fea­ture walls, re­flects the sparkling wa­ters of the lake.

An in­ter­na­tional de­sign firm also scooped the third res­i­den­tial cat­e­gory, the award for the best res­i­den­tial apart­ment un­der £1mil­lion. It went to El­liot James, an Asian con­sul­tancy, which created a party pad in Sin­ga­pore that was el­e­gant yet edgy, with graf­fitibacked din­ing chairs sit­ting on pol­ished mar­ble floor­ing and spe­cially com­mis­sioned art­work.

The list of nom­i­nees for the awards was dom­i­nated by stylish Bri­tish en­tries, most of whom created real, live­able spa­ces, rather than show-off de­signs. It in­cluded Peter Staunton’s Flint Hall – a 15,000 sq ft ru­ral man­sion in War­wick­shire, which the de­signer de­scribes as “clas­sic coun­try style with a mod­ern twist”.

“We chose nat­u­ral ma­te­ri­als that age well and add warmth and char­ac­ter, such as the sweep­ing stair­case made from wrought-iron spin­dles,” says Staunton. “But rather than fea­tur­ing a crys­tal chan­de­lier above it, we hung glass pen­dants at dif­fer­ent heights to add a talk­ing point.”

Staunton used light­ing to dif­fer­en­ti­ate each space, with Vene­tian-style chan­de­liers in the din­ing room and Flos pen­dants in the kitchen.

He is scathing about the in­te­ri­ors in new de­vel­op­ments in Lon­don where he be­lieves the de­sign pal­ette is be­com­ing “ubiq­ui­tous”. He aims to be more eclec­tic, mix­ing style, char­ac­ter and colour. An ex­am­ple of this is his use of in­ven­tive, mod­ern ma­te­ri­als to high­light cer­tain as­pects of the rooms, such as a silk wall cov­er­ing by Phillip Jef­fries that looks like brushed brass from a dis­tance, and ac­cents a shal­low chim­ney breast.

An­other nom­i­nee at the awards was Lucinda San­ford, who, with her on­estop ren­o­va­tion shop in Ber­mond­sey, will tackle ev­ery­thing in a build, from the lo­cal plan­ning author­ity to choos­ing soft fur­nish­ings. She shares his con­tempt for the de­fault “greige” colour schemes of new homes.

Her en­try, a Vic­to­rian ter­race in Ful­ham, bucks this trend, with Cole & Son for­est wall­pa­per run­ning up the stairs and a black lime­stone par­quet floor­ing through­out the hall. The util­i­tar­ian feel of the home’s Crit­tall-style win­dows is soft­ened by her choice of greys, creams and flo­ral prints. “Peo­ple have got braver,” she says, cit­ing the

The red-themed in­te­rior of the Neo Bank­side flat, top left; a bath­room in a Hert­ford­shire home by Claire Gaskin, below

Cole & Son wall­pa­per in a Ful­ham house by Lucinda San­ford, above; the fe­line­friendly “Sky City for Cats”, above cen­tre

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