Inside Out (Australia)
The refurbishment of a London loft turns out so well it becomes a headline show at London Design Week
FOR ITS NOMADIC OWNER, THIS LONDON LOFT IS WHERE HER CREATIVE SPIRIT IS MOST AT HOME
There’s nothing quite like a hard deadline to focus the mind. Morgwn Rimel, the owner of this spectacular London loft, had agreed that her home – her first-ever interior project – would be open to the public as part of the 2018 London Design Festival, showcasing pieces from her pick of the best British and international designers. “I’d been having trouble decorating my home. It was hard to narrow down my ideas and I worried about making the wrong choices,” says Morgwn. That indecision disintegrated as the date for the pop-up exhibition loomed and, in the end, her work and home (which was visited by thousands) were widely lauded.
It’s easy to see why. “My place is playful, curious, optimistic and calm,” says Morgwn. “It’s the opposite of how my mind feels sometimes, which is precisely why I need to live in a place like this! I would say it’s a reflection of my ideal inner landscape.”
She bought the property six years ago, after being drawn to its volume of space. The ceiling is more than triple height at its peak and there are arched windows that fill the living area with light. Having lived in lofts before, Morgwn loved its flexible floor plan. “I was looking for a home that was unique. It had good bones, good energy and potential for further renovation.”
The home’s previous owners had engaged West Architecture, a fledgling architectural practice at the time, to remodel the space by inserting a suspended plywood mezzanine that hangs from a single cable. “They won awards for this work,” says Morgwn. “It made sense for me to go back to them so the adjustments I wanted would blend seamlessly with what was already there.”
West Architecture delivered a ply-clad bedroom, a second closed mezzanine, another staircase and extra skylights. “I also redesigned the kitchen and bathroom, replaced the plumbing
“I WAS LOOKING FOR A HOME THAT WAS UNIQUE, HAD GOOD BONES, GOOD ENERGY AND POTENTIAL FOR FURTHER RENOVATION”
MORGWN RIMEL, HOMEOWNER
and electrics, and commissioned some joinery,” she says.
Morgwn had a clear understanding of the ways she intended to use the space, which informed the architectural layout and build, but once that work was complete she decided to get a good feel for the loft by living in it almost bare for about a year before turning her attention to the furniture, art and decor.
When she did tackle the interiors, Morgwn opted for colourful, distinctive pieces that punctuate the space. Her dining table, for example, is a bespoke piece made of recycled plastic, melted down and pressed into shape. “It has a painterly, marblelike effect and a lovely, velvety feel,” she says. A grouping of vibrant Dinosaur Designs vases in the kitchen holds what she calls her “freakebana” display – spray-painted flowers arranged ikebana style. In her living area hangs a hammock that was bought in Colombia. “I highly recommend getting a hammock,” she says. “It’s much more comfortable than a sofa.”
Originally from the US, Morgwn lived in Montreal, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney before settling in London. “I moved here to take up a post as director of The School of Life, which I led for a number of years before embarking on my latest ventures.” She jokes that the English capital is, in comparison to Sydney’s North Bondi, “bad for the body but good for the brain.”
“There’s no city on earth like Sydney when it comes to water and a healthy, laidback lifestyle, but what London lacks in outdoor life it makes up for in its quality of intellectual and cultural life. London is a magical place.”
Check out Morgwn’s ideas at thegreatwave.house and @morgwnrimel
“IT MADE SENSE FOR ME TO GO BACK TO THE ARCHITECTS THE PREVIOUS OWNERS HAD USED SO THE ADJUSTMENTS I WANTED WOULD BLEND SEAMLESSLY”