In her private life
Danielle Bux is far from being a drama queen. In fact, she’s disarmingly down-to-earth. But in her home, she can’t get enough theatrical flourishes. ‘I wanted this house to feel like a stage – with all the old-school glamour that suggests,’ she says. Right from the entrance hall, with its dazzle of Deco glass, floor-to-ceiling velvet curtains, serious chandeliers and the dusky gleam of bronze, the house announces that the play’s the thing. That’s before you even reach the cinema room with bar (whisky sours, optional) and its stretch-out crimson armchairs that rival a director’s suite for double-bill comfort. Yes, each space of this family abode whispers ‘glamour’ as seductively as a Forties femme fatale, but with a modern-day dash of Danielle’s own personality.
The house is home to Danielle, her daughter Ella, her ex-husband Gary Lineker and his four sons. ‘I’m still stepmum to his boys and he’s still stepdad to Ella, so this remains a family home for all of us,’ she says simply. ‘People seemed so shocked that we still get on, but I don’t know how else we would behave, except as decent human beings. Gary’s my best friend.’
It’s that straightforward, no-messing attitude that helped bag Danielle this property in the first place. ‘I’d admired it from the outside for ages,’ she recalls, ‘but the agent told us that it was complicated – it was divided into four flats, so it wasn’t likely to come on the market for a few years.’ Instead, she and Gary did up a place a stone’s throw away. They had barely moved in when the agent called to say that this house had unexpectedly come up. ‘I couldn’t believe the timing,’ says Danielle. ‘Gary’s immediate reaction was, “Forget it – we’ve already found somewhere”. But the agent and I talked him around. It was a dream house and too good an opportunity to miss.’
Danielle had bought and done up several houses since Ella was a baby, so was less fazed by the prospect of another move, but even she lost heart when the build dragged on and on. ‘The renovators were complete perfectionists, but in the end, I just booked a removal van, turned up and said, “Okay, you’d better finish up and leave now…”’
To translate her glam vision for this house into a reality, Danielle called upon the skills of interior designer Jo Berryman. ‘I just loved her style – and the fact that with Jo, nothing is generic,’ she says. Right from the beginning, Danielle and Jo were ‘on the same page’. Mad Men was an initial inspiration, says Danielle – ‘we both loved the casual glamour, the textures, the moody sense of drama’. Jo also brought artistic influences into play; the colours of the dressing room are reminiscent of Paula Rego’s atmospheric paintings and sexy painterly pinks dance around the master bedroom.
Tactile textures, from velvet to soft leather, and deliciously dark shades of teal and sea green are a flowing undercurrent to this home. Skirtings and window frames in darkest grey – which Danielle and Gary had spotted at the Chiltern Firehouse – also flicker through the spaces, like black trim on a reel of film. ‘Jo’s approach is always creative,’ says Danielle. ‘The way she interprets a space is more like an artist than an interior designer.’
Jo Berryman called in lighting and furniture from New York and rugs from Istanbul for a unique feel, as well as integrating pieces that Danielle and Gary had chosen for their previous home. You get the feeling Jo and Danielle had a blast together. ‘Gary wanted to be quite hands-on too, but we tended to take the mickey and send him off to make coffees,’ Danielle confesses. ‘To be honest, he did have some good ideas – like rejigging the dressing room and the master bathroom – but we weren’t going to let on!’
The result of this collaboration is a look that’s glam, but knows when to stop – and that’s just short of flashy. Part of the trick, says Danielle, is choosing antique and vintage over shiny and new. ‘Things that have lived a little are much more attractive to me. Gary says maybe that’s why I like older men too…’ she quips.
Danielle currently divides her time between here and LA, where she’s working on several screen projects (under wraps for now). ‘LA is fiercely competitive, but oddly, it feels like a more level playing field,’ she says. ‘Here, I was always an easy target – “Oh, she’s just Gary Lineker’s wife”.’
Her dramatic home has the odd twist in the plot as well, such as Gary’s steely-eyed portrait hanging in the downstairs loo. ‘Yes, ours is an unconventional arrangement,’ Danielle admits. ‘Things might change, but for now, it works. And, hey, who wants to be conventional?’ To see more of Jo Berryman Studio’s interior design portfolio, visit joberryman.com