This is an apartment I decorated for a Russian couple who have come to live in London. He is a major collector of really important contemporary art – some of it is frankly quite challenging- which needed to fit into the décor without being overwhelmed by it. My clients are both passionate about music, concerts, football and good food and wine. In other words, they are very cultivated people, and they enjoy living in a calm and pleasant way. Because they travel a great deal, they need to relax when they arrive In London.
I can only describe the apartment as a 1970s leftover. However, it had terrific potential space as it was on the first floor of a grand building in Belgravia. Three French windows gave on to a drawing room with high ceiling and a balcony. The bedroom had the same handsome proportions and there was a good dining room and a kitchen. But when we found it, all the doorways had been narrowed, the ceiling had been lowered in the hallway and the plasterwork had been painted a putty colour. My clients’ brief to me was very simple: ‘light’. They were desperate for more light so we opened up the whole apartment. She was adamant that she didn’t want any colour at all, just neutrals, although I did manage to introduce some muted shades of bronze. This was rather fun for me, as I had never done an interior entirely in neutrals before. Instead of colour I went for texture. And when I realised they were going to bring in some serious art, this neutral background made a great deal of sense to me, because suddenly the neutrals not only provided the right background for their art collection but were also very light-reflective and restful.