Life on the grid

In Lon­don’s rad­i­cally reimag­ined King’s Cross dis­trict, de­signer Rhonda Drake­ford has cre­ated a hy­per-mod­ern space that suits its in­ner-city set­ting

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - News -

In Lon­don’s rad­i­cally re-imag­ined King’s Cross dis­trict, de­signer Rhonda Drake­ford has cre­ated a hy­per-mod­ern space that per­fectly suits its in­ner-city set­ting

We of­ten start ren­o­va­tion projects by con­sid­er­ing how to make the most of our homes’ ex­ist­ing fea­tures – but this bland, white box of a new build, on the eighth floor of an im­pos­ing, brick-and-tile high-rise, was dis­tinctly lack­ing in per­son­al­ity. In fact, the star at­trac­tion of the two-bed­room apart­ment in Lon­don’s King’s Cross was the view. ‘The sur­round­ing tower blocks are unashamedly ur­ban, and I wanted the apart­ment to re­ally be­come part of this set­ting,’ ex­plains its in­te­rior de­signer, Rhonda Drake­ford. She’s pulled this feat off by cre­at­ing her own pas­tel-toned take on Bru­tal­ism.

Rhonda is best known as the cre­ative force be­hind Dark­room, the cult life­style brand cur­rently host­ing a pop up shop at Bert & May on Vyner Street, east Lon­don. How­ever, for her in­te­rior de­sign projects, she works un­der the name of Stu­dio Rhonda. ‘ While there are recog­nis­able traits across ev­ery­thing I do – strong, struc­tural grids and bold colours that play off or­ganic tex­tures – my Dark­room aes­thetic is quite fo­cused, while Stu­dio Rhonda is more free. It’s a con­ver­sa­tion with each client.’

The clients in this case are a cou­ple, both chefs. They wanted a home with im­pact – some­where to run cook­ery cour­ses, meet clients and do plenty of en­ter­tain­ing. It needed a state­ment kitchen and an el­e­ment of con­crete. Be­yond that, they trusted Rhonda’s vision. She in­cluded con­crete via pig­mented tiles, all spe­cially made by Bert & May, ar­ranged in strict, graph pa­per-like for­ma­tion. ‘I wanted the im­per­fect fin­ish of hand­made tiles to serve as a con­trast to the sharp grid­lines,’ she says.

The colour of con­crete also in­forms the chunky bands of grey paint that give def­i­ni­tion to each room. ‘They’re about be­ing play­ful and cre­at­ing op­ti­cal il­lu­sions,’ ex­plains Rhonda. Against this back­drop, brighter shades pop out. First came the pink, cho­sen to echo a neigh­bour­ing high­rise, then shades of blue – cobalt and corn­flower – in­spired by the ever-chang­ing skies out­side. Prim­rose yel­low and pea green com­plete the con­fi­dent quar­tet, with Rhonda de­lib­er­ately choos­ing var­ied tones rather than a rigid pal­ette. ‘I’ve used chalkier shades of bright colour to bring more depth to the over­all look,’ she says.

See­ing Rhonda’s vi­brant vision come sharply to life, the home­own­ers cheer­fully dis­carded their for­mer fur­ni­ture in favour of more colour­ful pieces – many of them made by Rhonda her­self. The de­signer also cre­ated the mu­ral in the liv­ing room, which is in­spired by math­e­mat­i­cal charts. The fin­ished apart­ment tran­scends its bland be­gin­nings. ‘It cre­ates quite an ab­stract feel­ing,’ says Rhonda. ‘Like float­ing above a cityscape.’ stu­ Kitchen Be­spoke cab­i­nets are sur­rounded by spe­cially-made Bert & May tiles. A ‘Rok’ sink by As­tra­cast is com­bined with a blue Vola tap. The black ‘Slice’ chop­ping boards are by Dark­room and the con­crete con­tain­ers on the is­land are from Etsy Stock­ist de­tails on p269 ➤


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