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Home Away From Home

Date published: May 05 2018

Knightsbridge, London

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A couple from Connecticut moved to a townhouse in Knightsbridge and wanted the home to feel traditionally British yet still retain a modern American twist. Emma Sims Hilditch and her team was recruite

Knightsbridge might be the exact opposite of rural Connecticut, but that’s where one couple chose to move as a result of the husband’s job. They recruited Sims Hilditch design for the furnishings, and the brief for Emma Sims Hilditch and team was to combine the two types of living.

Dividing their time between the two countries, the couple wanted the home to feel traditionally British yet still retain a modern American twist.

One key requirement was that they would be entertaining business associates as well as hosting friends and family, so the schemes needed to be warm and inviting. ‘We used tones of rich browns, greys and blues to create a scheme that feels tranquil yet warm,’ Emma says.

Amazingly, the project only had a 12-week turnaround. ‘Our starting point was a fabric called Queen Anne Vine, from Chelsea Textiles, which we used for the sitting room curtains,’ Emma remembers. ‘It has beautiful two-tone mauve and teal hand embroidery and we pulled those colours through the entire house to give the scheme cohesion,’ she adds. Moving through the home, luxurious textured wallpaper was paired with velvety floor treatments and hand embroidered fabrics to add to the sense of light and depth.

Bespoke cabinetry was used throughout, such as the television and bar cabinet in the sitting room, which was combined with tailor-made furnishings to create a welcoming ‘home away from home’.

Natural fabrics are a key element, set alongside painted, dark furniture made by Sims Hilditch’s joiner, bespoke sofas, armchairs and ottomans as well as lighting from Vaughan. Emma says her favourite elements of the decoration include the four poster bed in the master bedroom, the consoles in the kitchen and conservatory, an antique French margin mirror in the drawing room and a stunning, 16-candle chandelier with Prato finish.

However, Emma believes that while the location of the flat was brilliant, it threw up some challenges. ‘It was a wonderful opportunity to use inspiration from our English country designs to reflect this in a beautiful property within the heart of the city. There were many factors to consider while trying to create a country feel in the centre of Knightsbridge,’ she says. ‘We had to ensure the space remains multifunctional as city life can be hectic - it was vital to create an oasis of calm. We also wanted to translate the old and new in order to follow the brief, but also add a contemporary feel. Finally, we loved being able to introduce natural materials into this glorious city project bringing colour, texture and warmth from the countryside,’ she explains.

And it worked. The clients were delighted with the work, as well as the designers themselves. ‘With Sims Hilditch, you end up feeling like part of the family. We gave Emma a blank slate and she made it into a cosy home. There isn’t a spot we don’t love. None of our guests want to stay in hotels anymore. We constantly have visitors, but it makes us happy,’ they say.

Photographer: Polly Eltes

Author: Jake Kennedy

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