Sul­try so­phis­ti­ca­tion

The new mod­ern pal­ette em­braces moody colours in se­duc­tive, sludgy tones. Team them with state­ment light­ing, as in this Zurich apart­ment

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - News -

This Zurich apart­ment em­braces the new mod­ern pal­ette – moody colours in se­duc­tive, sludgy tones

Vera Miler has the spirit of ad­ven­ture. An avid trav­eller and the man­ager of Burberry’s store in Zurich, she has owned this el­e­gant apart­ment in the city’s pop­u­lar Seefeld district since 2005. Sit­u­ated on the third floor of a beau­ti­ful Art Nou­veau build­ing dat­ing from 1908, her home is as out­ward look­ing as she is: it boasts three bal­conies, two of which look out to­wards Lake Zürich.

Vera found the apart­ment through a friend, who had been us­ing it as an of­fice. ‘There was no real bath­room or kitchen, but I fell in love with the par­quet floors, the huge bay win­dows and the four-me­tre-high ceil­ings,’ she re­calls. To turn it into a fam­ily home for her­self and son Max (17), she en­listed the help of in­te­rior de­signer Hanne Poli. It was Hanne who sug­gested the apart­ment’s grown-up colour scheme of warm greys and choco­late browns – ‘colours with no name’, as she de­scribes them. ‘The build­ing ex­udes old-world no­bil­ity and re­fine­ment – I wanted to un­der­line that as­pect but in a mod­ern, per­sonal way,’ says Vera.

The dark colours were a bold choice, es­pe­cially in the hall­way, which has lit­tle nat­u­ral light. Hanne and Vera made them work fram­ing them with paler shades and in­stalling mir­rored walls, which are dis­creet, but cre­ate the il­lu­sion of more open space. They ex­per­i­mented in other ways, too, par­tic­u­larly with light­ing – which Hanne prefers to hang in the cor­ners of rooms, rather than in the cen­tre, to cre­ate drama – and with wooden fur­ni­ture, which con­trasts with the apart­ment’s re­fined pro­por­tions.

Though Hanne and Vera kept pat­tern to a min­i­mum, there is plenty of tex­ture. It catches the eye in a mod­ern, un­der­stated way. ‘Be­cause I work in fash­ion, tex­ture is like an ad­dic­tion for me,’ ex­plains Vera. ‘I love pre­cious fab­rics like linen and cash­mere, and re­fined tone-on-tone pat­terns, such as the white wall­pa­per in my bed­room.’ Vera sees her home as a work in progress, and goes to greater lengths than most to find the per­fect pieces to fur­nish it. Re­cently, she saw a pic­ture of a sofa by Dan­ish de­signer Oliver Gus­tav and promptly hopped on a plane to Copen­hagen so that she could meet him and see his de­sign in the flesh. ‘I think this sofa will be the next thing I buy,’ she says. han­nepoli.com

‘The build­ing ex­udes old-world no­bil­ity and re­fine­ment – I wanted to un­der­line that as­pect but in a mod­ern, per­sonal way’

1 The colours

I use ex­actly the same shades as I did 20 years ago, when I started my busi­ness: all kinds of nudes, warm greys – colours that have no name, if you like. Some hues in Vera’s apart­ment were bor­rowed from art­works: for ex­am­ple, the choco­late brown be­hind the din­ing ta­ble was taken from the Natanel Gluska paint­ing hang­ing on the wall. I knew that us­ing it would make the piece pop. I of­ten mix my own colours, and I can see right away which shade will make a room fan­tas­tic.

• En­trance ‘Tal­lanstown Grey’ by Paint & Pa­per Li­brary matches the colour in the hall­way. £46.50 for 2.5 litres of Pure Flat Emul­sion (paintand­pa­per­li­brary.com).

• Liv­ing room ‘Choco­late Colour’ by Lit­tle Greene is sim­i­lar to this deep shade (above). £21 for one litre of Ab­so­lute Matt Emul­sion ( lit­tle­greene.com).

• Kitchen ‘Dimpse’ by Far­row & Ball is a good match for this pale grey (far right). £43.50 for 2.5 litres of Es­tate Emul­sion (far­row-ball.com).

2 The light­ing

You will sel­dom see a light fit­ting in the cen­tre of a ceil­ing in my in­te­ri­ors. I love cre­at­ing asym­me­try in a sym­met­ri­cal space – it’s about pro­duc­ing dra­matic scenery as well as func­tion­al­ity. I al­ways ask clients what they want to use light­ing for – read­ing, eat­ing or snug­gling up.

3 The mir­rors

I use a lot of mir­rored walls in my in­te­ri­ors projects; they’re a smart way of get­ting light into a room or mak­ing it ap­pear larger or taller. They’re in­cor­po­rated in such a way that it’s hard to see they are even there. I like the idea that peo­ple might not re­ally un­der­stand what some­thing is, only the ef­fect it cre­ates.

4 The li­brary

Vera’s apart­ment used to be an of­fice, and the area where the big book­case now is used to be a li­brary – so for me, it was a no-brainer to use this space for her vast book col­lec­tion. To cre­ate a sense of grand pro­por­tions, two rooms were opened into one big liv­ing space and a huge white sofa was placed in front of the wall of shelv­ing. The over­all ef­fect is so ar­rest­ing; it has such an im­pact when you walk into the room.

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