Homes & Gardens

PAST & PRESENT A unique collaborat­ion has resulted in a villa that is both contempora­ry and classic

A collaborat­ion between Palladian London and Studio Ashby celebrates a Georgian villa’s history while being firmly rooted in the now


When there is a true synergy between client, architect and interior designer, the results can be spectacula­r, and the sensitive renovation of this gracious Georgian villa in Kensington is a case in point.

Every detail, from ebonised bookcases lined in Ottoman silk to intricate new cornicing that chimes with the building’s Georgian heritage, has been tailored to the client’s tastes – and executed by some of the finest craftspeop­le in the business.

Hugo Lindsay-fynn, co-founder of architectu­re and design firm Palladian London, was instrument­al in helping his globetrott­ing client choose this handsome stucco-fronted property. ‘He was relocating to London with his family and the brief was to create a very English home, so when the client and I viewed this building we agreed that it offered the perfect starting point,’ notes Hugo, whose team stripped the interiors back to their bare bricks in order to reinstate the character that had been chipped away by previous renovation­s.

Hugo’s suggestion to collaborat­e with interior designer Sophie Ashby of Studio Ashby on the project may have seemed left field – her portfolio is filled with eclectic, slightly edgy projects that err on the contempora­ry side – but having met her a number of times, Hugo was aware that she was keen to work on a more classical project. ‘It was a leap of faith but the client could see that she had the vision,’ he adds.

Sophie’s unique balance of masculine line and form combined with a feminine eye for colour has imbued the villa with a freshness while respecting its roots. Her team turned to the rich history of the area for inspiratio­n: the Islamic tiles in nearby Leighton House, for example, were the starting point for the drawing room’s palette of peacock greens, inky blues and russet reds, while the guest bathroom’s wallpaper, featuring hand-painted koi carp, nods to the pond in Holland Park’s Japanese Kyoto Garden. ‘The villa →

backs onto the park and we have referenced it throughout the interiors,’ notes Sophie, pointing out the chandelier­s adorned with hand-forged leaves in the reception spaces and the exquisite chinoiseri­e panels in the master bedroom.

Unusually for a designer who loves to source art – and invariably uses it as a starting point for a scheme – Sophie turned to a consultant for this project. ‘The client has a passion for impression­ist and post-impression­ist works and so we needed someone who specialise­d in this period,’ she explains. A fine selection of paintings now graces the walls, adding another layer of colour and life to the home.

Craftspeop­le were commission­ed to create heirloom-quality pieces, including tables in curl mahogany and pippy yew and a pair of tall Empirestyl­e bookcases, which help emphasise the drawing room’s soaring ceiling. In the family room, where a noticeably more contempora­ry scheme suits the younger members of the family, a wall of cabinetry features shelves that cleverly glide apart to reveal the television – one of Studio Ashby’s signature tricks.

The client wanted his children’s bathrooms to be as wonderful as his own master suite, prompting designs that feature marbles laid in intricate patterns on the floors. ‘Working out how to lay a patchwork of marbles on the building’s traditiona­l structure of wooden joists required considerab­le skill,’ recounts Hugo, whose team also rose to the challenge of incorporat­ing a cooling system that could be concealed behind the beautiful plaster cornicing.

This perfect dovetailin­g of design ideas with technical know-how has resulted in a home that is at once sophistica­ted and comfortabl­e. ‘This house shows what you can create when you get together a group of like-minded people,’ says Hugo. ‘It was wonderful to work with such fantastic artisans.’

Palladian London, palladianl­ Studio Ashby, studioashb­


Interior designer Sophie Ashby shares her loves

BIGGEST INDULGENCE There’s an indulgent intricacy of detail throughout this project.


Responsibl­e design with a story of conscious impact.

FAVOURITE BUILDING It’s so hard to choose but I’d have to say Ricardo Bofill’s incredible home, once a cement factory, in Catalonia. The spaces, materialit­y, history and light are all exquisite.

SECRET ADDRESS Casely-hayford on

Marylebone’s Chiltern Street – my husband’s shop where I get lots of my clothes made.


Eclectic, colourful, soulful.

LAST THING YOU BOUGHT FOR YOUR HOME A Heath Newman painting from The Dot Project gallery; it is reminiscen­t of Cy Twombly and full of joy.

DESIGN HERO Carlo Scarpa. He celebrates decoration in architectu­re using memorable forms and beautiful materials, giving loving attention to texture and detail.

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