Project Name: St. James’s Gardens

Location: United Kingdom

Date Completed: January 2020

Interior Designer: Element Living Interiors

Element Living Interiors were enlisted to find common ground designing for an old-fashioned gentleman and a fun femme to create a reworking of a traditional yet contemporary design.

The clients wanted their Double Reception Room to be their ultimate space to entertain guests. On the contrary, they wanted their Family Room and Master Bedroom to be a secluded space to withdraw and unwind.

‘Staying in is the new going out’ was the inspiration for the Double Reception Room: a ‘grown-up’ room where husband and wife could escape their kids without having to leave the house to the corner bar as they had always done in the past! It needed to feel old-fashioned and eclectic, to make their guests feel as if they were in a comfortable club room. The clients also wanted the room to be multi-functional, not only to entertain guests but also to contain a home office, games area, and a reading corner.

In contrast, the Family Room, consisting of the sitting and dining areas was to be light, airy, and cosy, as this is where the family would be spending most of their time together.

The client’s home is a Victorian listed building in a conservation area in Holland Park, London. Element Living Interiors took it from there to create a reworking of a traditional yet contemporary design. In the double reception room, the designers created visual interest for the shutter panels with fabric inserts in the traditional, pure damask with Renaissance motif. The flower paintings possess a dark drama of old masters like Caravaggio and Rembrandt with a Frida Kahlo-ish madness for life, an extravagant swish of a dramatic flamenco dress. But there is also a contemporary channel of white box lines with some drips. The Chaise Lounge is reupholstered in sensual velvet exhibiting an eccentric pattern. The buttoned-back sofa and armchairs reflect the Victorian aesthetic. The 1919 armchairs by Poltrona Frau were selected for our clients exactly a century after the birth of this iconic model, which was originally created for the haute-bourgeoisie and the palaces of the nobility. The handcrafted games table constructed out of blue sycamore combines modern form and fun in classic Linley style. The sideboard with doors in Vienna straw represents a blend of past and present. There are old-fashioned charms throughout the double reception room.

The key aspect of this project was finding common ground between the two very different personalities producing an eclectic revival of style.