This was my third time decorating the Capital Hotel’s dining room, now called Outlaw’s after Nathan Outlaw, the current chef, who specializes in seafood. I was delighted to be asked by Kate Levin, the daughter of owner David Levin, who runs the hotel, to redesign the restaurant and bring it up to date. The first time I decorated it was in the 1970s, after the Irish terrorist bombings which were going on in London at the time. The dining room had originally been built in the 1960s with huge plate glass windows, which were deemed dangerous, so we had to cover them up with heavy curtains. Now light is suddenly back on the menu and I was able to reveal the windows and, in fact, get rid of the curtains altogether.
I have to be honest and admit that this is an awkward room. Not only is it very tall and rather thin, but what I inherited on this particular journey was panelling at the ends and around the middle- there was a lot of yellowish wood that needed to be balanced. I decided to remove the panelling from the wall leading into the kitchen and paint it an incredible, luminous fish-scale turquoise. The chef has a fishtail as his logo, which was the inspiration behind this. By having this small section of the restaurant painted in such a shimmering colour, your eye goes beyond the panelling and creates a sense of perspective. Then we went back to a previous incarnation of this plain blue wall and reopened the window on to the kitchen, which had been open when I first did the dining room.