A trick of the light

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Interiors -

Let’s hope the Chan­cel­lor doesn’t take a leaf out of King Wil­liam III’s 1696 rule­book and in­tro­duce a win­dow tax. In the lux­ury mar­ket jewel-like glass ex­ten­sions and su­per-prime sky­plexes that are fast be­com­ing the norm, and lower down the price lad­der, home­own­ers are in­vest­ing in bi­fold doors at the back of the kitchen or sky­lights to cre­ate a sense of space – par­tic­u­larly pop­u­lar in nar­row Vic­to­rian ter­races.

Ac­cord­ing to today’s lead­ing in­te­rior de­sign­ers our love af­fair with all things glass is set to con­tinue.

“Glass as a ma­te­rial has been used for many years. It’s cer­tainly not a fad or pass­ing trend,” says Alex Isaac, head of de­sign at Mor­pheus Lon­don, whose clients are based from Monaco to Bel­gravia. “With new tech­nolo­gies and tech­niques its use has de­vel­oped and shifted from func­tional to artis­tic. The only thing re­strain­ing a de­signer’s use of glass is their own imag­i­na­tion.”

How­ever, huge win­dows mean there are fewer solid walls to place free-stand­ing fur­ni­ture against or in­tro­duce colour through painting and pat­terns through wall­pa­per.

En­ter the trend for in­ter­nal di­vi­sions such as cen­tral walka­round walls where join­ery, fire­places or au­dio vis­ual equip­ment can be placed to cre­ate “zon­ing” in open plan spa­ces.

“As there are fewer walls, un­der­floor heat­ing is usu­ally adopted in­stead of ra­di­a­tors. Is­lands in the kitchen are also cre­ated to en­able plenty of work­top space. Bed­rooms with an abun­dance of win­dows need to have a black­out cur­tain for night and a sheer cur­tain to stop glare dur­ing the day,” says Re­becca Wake­field, at Banda Prop­erty. “There’s of­ten no space above floor-to-ceil­ing £9.8 mil­lion, with Strutt & Parker (strut­tand­parker. com), main and left win­dows so the track for cur­tains needs to be re­cessed into the ceil­ing – and that usu­ally means op­er­at­ing it elec­tron­i­cally.”

The de­sign con­cepts for the two £25 mil­lion du­plex pen­t­houses at Lon­don’s South Bank Tower are be­ing cre­ated by Dara Huang at De­sign Haus Lib­erty, with glass in some un­ex­pected places. “Be­tween the bath­room and bed­room, we in­cor­po­rated pri­vacy glass which be­comes a two-way screen when the movie pro­jec­tor is turned on,” ex­plains Huang. “The use of glass in in­te­ri­ors can also pro­vide a real sense of lib­erty. Al­though it is im­pos­si­ble for any­one to see you in the pent­house, this ‘ex­posed’ space in­stils a vis­ceral sense of free­dom.”

Ad­vances in man­u­fac­tur­ing al­lows glass to be tinted, tough­ened, sand­blasted, etched, an­tiqued and mir­rored, she says. “It’s a beau­ti­fully strong yet light ma­te­rial that brings an­other layer to in­te­ri­ors: re­flect­ing light, adding lay­ers of in­ter­est and al­low­ing spa­ces and light to flow.”

Know­ing what colours and tex­tures to in­tro­duce as a bal­ance is cru­cial. Mar­i­anne Shilling­ford at Du­lux, says: “Where nat­u­ral light en­ters the room, paint the sur­faces it hits with pure white or very pale cool shades which will re­flect light fur­ther into the space.” Du­lux Light & Space paint con­tains Lu­mitec which re­flects twice as much light as an equiv­a­lent stan­dard emul­sion.

Creat­ing more light also means your space can take a mood­ier colour. “The trend now is for deeper more sul­try colours – muted or­ganic browns, greys, greens and blues. These colours are likely to re­main pop­u­lar for some time,” she adds.

Once you have enough light, floors can take a darker turn with smoky oaks and the grains, colours and tex­tures in fea­ture floor­ing like chevron and her­ring­bone high­lighted.

Joe Burns at Oliver Burns, has a few pre­dic­tions: “Coloured glass is an in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar choice for our ul­tra-high net-worth clients’ homes, par­tic­u­larly when bring­ing a lux­u­ri­ous ac­cent to rooms. Strong, pri­mary colours, in par­tic­u­lar blue, are strik­ing when used in chan­de­liers and cre­ate a vis­ually stun­ning fo­cal point.

“Glass is one of the most ver­sa­tile de­sign el­e­ments avail­able used to ob­scure, brighten, en­hance and il­lu­mi­nate for both ex­po­sure and pri­vacy. Bul­let and blast-re­sis­tant glass is in­creas­ingly re­quested by our wealth­i­est clients, pro­vid­ing them with added se­cu­rity and peace of mind.”

£1.599m, a three-bed­room by St Ge­orge (berke­ley­group.co.uk)

£600,000 via Hunters (hunters.co.uk)

From £4m, by Mount Anvil and FABRICA (queenswhar­f.co.uk)

Glass ex­ten­sions and sky­plexes are re­plac­ing walls, writes Fiona Brand­horst

£5.95m via CBRE Res­i­den­tial (cbr­eres­i­den­tial.com)

Cheyne Walk

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