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House of Gold

Date published: December 12 2017


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There was one unexpected guiding principle for this London apartment - the golden De Gournay wallpaper

One of Lucy Clark’s discerning clients was looking to overhaul a prime central London location which gave Lucy and her team what they described as ‘an interior designer’s dream.’ The reason for this was that she had bought it directly off plan from a developer as something of a blank canvas, and wanted the designers to create a real sanctuary.

There was one unexpected guiding principal behind the entire project at the client’s request - wallpaper. De Gournay wallpaper in particular. Lucy Clark and her team took this as their starting point, allowing for a wealth of luxurious touches to be added throughout the home.

For this project - which turned out to develop into an almost entirely bespoke home - the main living area features a stunning Japanese garden, and the designers chose to base much of their bespoke work around this. They commissioned a bespoke lighting designer, Habadashery, to create a first edition ‘Bloom’ china and gold edged flower installation, which beautifully replicates the magnolia featured in the wallpaper as well as serving as a definite focal point. They also commissioned specialist metal workers FRD to create a light installation that featured textured bronze branches and rock crystals to represent the flowers and branches - again found in the design of the beloved wallpaper.

The client also explained how it was important for the designers to partition the spaces in the apartment, both to create a formal and relaxed living space as well as to ensure smells from the kitchen did not encroach into the dining and living space when entertaining. As much as the home was to be an artistic wonder, it also needed to function as exactly that - a home. And what is a home if not furnished? Lucy and her team worked closely with furniture makers Thomas James Furniture and George Smith to create all the bespoke furniture pieces that would feature in the new home. These collaborations ensured that the materials used were understated but luxurious and would allow the De Gournay motifs to take centre stage.

Wallpaper was again taken as an influence in the master bedroom and other living spaces, this time to create window treatments. These work wonders at complementing the wallpapers in those rooms and were designed with Vero Fabrics, who specialise in the production of luxurious seamless borders. The master suite itself was inspired by yet another De Gournay
wallpaper, but this time Lucy and the team introduced a beautiful mixture of soft purples, taupe and subtle tints of green to the palette.

Lucy says her favourite aspect of the whole project was the bespoke screens which were specially created. Each weighs a hefty 200kg and was hoisted in through the window from outside on arrival. They were meticulously designed, again, alongside metal workers FRD who were tasked with bringing Lucy and her team’s designs into reality. The screens serve as a sculptural work of art as well as a practical partition between kitchen and dining room. Lucy explains that the main issue was getting all the bespoke pieces into the apartment, cranes were hired and hoists were used to get the furniture and screens up in through the windows, and this meant ensuring site access checks took place by all suppliers. 

However all that effort - and particularly hauling the screens - was worth it. Lucy says their incredible intricacy stemmed from many detailed construction drawings which were made to ensure there were no errors further down the line. To see them finally in situ was, as Lucy says, overwhelming. 

One interesting element of the project, on a practical level, was the fact the client originally wanted to stay in the apartment whilst the team completed the works, but they persuaded her to move out. Lucy explains that many of her clients get nervous when their homes are being stripped back, but will usually take time and care to make them aware of health and safety issues during any work. 

The often complex work simply demands upheaval. When removing staircase balustrading, updating the wiring and audio/visual elements of the home and reinforcing ceilings for the sliding screens and pendant lights, it was vital to take ownership of the apartment, Lucy explains. The client eventually ended up moving abroad during the renovation.

And of course, when the work is finished, it makes for a spectacular ‘grand reveal’ moment when they return.

Lucy says that in this case, her client was incredibly happy - and Studio Clark + Co are continuing to help the client with further home dressings. 

Photographer: Andrew Beasley

Designer: Lucy Clark
Studio Clark + Co (Previously Olive Design Studio Ltd)

Author: Jake Kennedy

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