The interior’s brief was fairly minimal. The owners entrusted designer Susan Knof with the creation of a scheme that would work with the property’s scale and dimensions, the family’s logistical requirements and their personal tastes, including ‘her’ preference for French furniture and ‘his’ for the linear geometry of Art Deco.
Says the designer: ‘The answer was to treat both influences with a light touch, so that the scheme avoided clashes of style – or any obvious themed look – and maintained a cohesive feel throughout. The two preferences are present instead in material choices, such as the use of slick mirrored pieces, particularly in the master bedroom; strong geometric framed furniture in some instances; plus glamorous chandeliers and distressed timber finishes.’
The house is arranged so that it opens up immediately on entry into the formal living room to the right and the formal dining room to the left, both being clearly visible from the other. These spaces were given a similar, linking palette of colour and materials, including strong blue tones, textured finishes and layering, as well as furniture with a distinctly luxurious feel. Subtle added glamour is seen in dynamic, large-scale floral wallcoverings, metallic finishes in gold and brass and definitive chandelier lighting. Both these formal reception rooms have highly polished timber flooring with new overlaid rugs, and the dining room features timber half-panelling on the walls.
Furniture includes a buttoned Cambridge sofa in tufted, vintage indigo velvet and two elegant chairs in stone leather with brushed-brass frames. Soft cushions are a mix of metallic fabrics, with gold or detailed beading. Some were purchased, and Susan Knof had four custom-made from fabrics sourced to complement the scheme.
A circular coffee table with a polished-brass frame and black marble top is a foil for a narrow console against the back wall in hand-forged steel with a gold leaf coating and mirrored glass top. This was manufactured to bespoke dimensions to perfectly fit the wall recess. The third table in this interior is a lily pad occasional table, with a gold finish and an artfully bent base.
Susan Knof adds: ‘For the walls, I was given access to existing artwork and fortunately, the portrait of the reclining lady above the console couldn’t have been a better choice. Her green and blue outfit fits perfectly with the scheme and the antique frame adds contrast to the room’s contemporary furnishings.’
A grand piano is positioned to the rear left side of the room, whilst the final accessory is a hand-painted screen in silver leaf. This floor-standing piece features four panels and is decorated sans traverse with Japanese flying cranes, inspired by a Japanese original. The pattern includes crushed eggshell inlay and was hand-tooled with gold leaf.
‘This unique piece serves as a backdrop to the two armchairs and also ensures the wall has its own presence in the room,’ says Susan Knof, ‘balancing out the fireplace on the back wall and the large windows directly opposite. Also, beyond this functional rationale, everyone involved in the project fell in love with the screen at first sight, so it had to be included.’
The eye is also drawn to the end of the formal dining room and its standout piece of furniture: a backlit, gold-leafed display cabinet, with an LED-lit, ivory painted interior and four framed and glass-inset adjustable shelves, plus a scalloped gold pattern to the front of the glass doors.
For the full article see Habitat #265 May / June 2018
Newsletter Sign Up