The design challenge was to transform a series of tired, dark and totally unmodernised attic rooms in a huge Belgravia townhouse, previously an embassy building, into a chic contemporary yet classic penthouse with generous external spaces.
The client, a private property developer with his own very specific tastes, worked very closely with us. The brief was for an apartment that would appeal to lovers of luxury and contemporary chic, as well as maximizing returns. From the outset, we were ambitious, aiming for large open spaces and simple lines while using immaculate finishes - textured wallpapers, cashmere walling and silk carpets. We were responsible for the complete design, from the structural steelwork down to the silk cushions.
The combination of the work having to take place within an occupied building on the Grosvenor Estate as well as and the fact that the apartment is at the top of one of London's finest listed white stucco buildings, made things even more difficult. The original apartment had not changed much since its lateral conversion in the 1950s: the ceilings were low, the windows small and the circulation awkward. The magnificent views of London beyond were completely obscured.
To open up the spaces and to provide the penthouse with a 360 degree roof terrace, major structural works were carried out and the circulation completely reversed. A huge lattice beam was inserted into the party wall and all the internal floor and partitions were removed. The original gloomy spaces have been transformed by raising the roof and introducing several skylights. A simple yet beautifully detailed oak and bronze stair connects the living spaces on the upper level with the bedrooms below; conceived as a transparent light box and enclosed in glass on three sides, it is lit via a huge structural glass roof light. The vast electrically operated sliding roof light above the dining area is another innovative feature of the design, sliding silently open at the touch of a button it also closes automatically at any sign of rain.
This project was interior design but with a huge architectural input, combined to create a dynamic, light- filled, glamorous and very comfortable London pied-a-terre.