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Albion Nord on how to design interiors for period homes

The experts share their tips for reviving period buildings, from where to buy heritage paint colours to the best places to find unusual antiques

study in north london
katrin lock

Who are they? Founded in 2017, this Fitzrovia design studio is led by a quartet with impressive CVs: interior designer Ben Johnson, formerly of Heatherwick Studios; project manager Anthony Kooperman; and creative directors Camilla Clarke and Ottalie Stride. Clarke is a history of art graduate who’s worked at Studio Ashby and loves to paint. ‘It’s taught me so much in terms of creating compositions and experimenting with colour and texture,’she says. Stride, meanwhile, is an alumnus of London’s KLC School of Interior Design who cut her teeth working for renowned decorator Veere Grenney. She honed her love of design as a child, at her father’s auction house. ‘I spent summers helping catalogue the pieces, which sparked my interest in furniture and antiques,’ she explains. The four met while they were all working at property developer Candy & Candy/CPC London.

We’re particularly inspired by Georgian design, but the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic also influences

portrait of interior designs albion nord
The Albion Nord team from left: Ben Johnson, Ottalie Stride, Anthony Kooperman and Camilla Clarke
Albion Nord/

What is their style? The team’s focus is on creating exceptional residential interiors with a refined, understated feel. Many of the projects are in architecturally rich locations and all incorporate their love of antiques and classic British and European styles.‘We’re particularly inspired by Georgian design, but the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic also influences our work,’ says Stride. ‘It values balance, simplicity and the beauty of imperfection, which we celebrate by using handcrafted pieces.’ Antique finds are teamed with bespoke creations and contemporary colours to make them feel fresh and exciting. ‘We also work with natural materials such as wood, wool, sisal and linen as they bring a sense of warmth and honesty to a scheme,’ adds Clarke.

We’re drawn to earthy tones and heritage colours as they have a lovely sense of calm and history

upholstered bed in albion nord project
This bespoke scalloped headboard in a Notting Hill house is covered in ‘Lovelust’ linen by Alton-Brooke

What recent projects has the studio been working on? A Kensington townhouse shows the team’s flair for blending the classic and contemporary, its grand proportions brought to life with a mix of jungle greenery, grey and stone-coloured walls and antique botanical tapestries. The studio also designed a terraced Georgian home overlooking Regent’s Park that had lost all of its period features. After sensitively restoring these, they injected a contemporary feel with mid-century Scandinavian furniture and a palette of slate and putty shades. ‘We’re drawn to earthy tones and heritage colours as they have a lovely sense of calm and history to them,’ explains Stride.

grand staircase in kensington
The grand staircase, newly built in this Kensington townhouse, with a custom stair runner by Tim Page
katrin lock

What’s currently in the pipeline? They’ve been entrusted with reviving a 1774 Grade II-listed property in Berkshire designed by architect Henry Holland and surrounded by parkland landscaped by Capability Brown. To give the home a subtle update, they’ve designed a lighting scheme that softly highlights the period mouldings, and have stripped back the colour scheme to let the architecture speak for itself. ‘Our brief was to highlight classical features but to also introduce a more contemporary feel, so we brought in a large, mixed-media abstract artwork by our favourite artist, William McLure,’ says Clarke. ‘Its tones and textures work with the scheme and show how beautifully the old and new can work together.’

art work in living room
A Victor Pasmore artwork and an obelisk lamp add character
katrin lock

They say: ‘Homes should reflect their owners: we love to celebrate the past with inherited pieces but pair them with new, bespoke designs to create a fresh look unique to each client.’ albion-nord.com


Every project has its own unique list of suppliers and craftspeople. Part of making it special is finding the right mix and match


Brownrigg Interiors & Decorative Antiques in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, is a treasure trove of eclectic furniture and accessories. Objects are always combined in interesting ways and the stock is constantly changing – you’ll never leave empty handed. brownrigg-interiors.co.uk


Anton & K Decorative Antiques is wonderful for its sense of time worn beauty and simple, understated luxury. It sells online, or by appointment at its warehouse near Cheltenham, and specialises in French and Swedish pieces. Every item feels raw and authentic and celebrates materiality, which chimes perfectly with our design philosophy. antonandk.co.uk


Edward Bulmer’s eco-friendly natural paints come in a range of beautiful colours that are taken from historical, natural pigments. Our current favourite is ‘Drab Green’, an 18th-century brown-green shade once used for wooden panelling. edwardbulmerpaint.co.uk


Paint & Paper Library is one of our go-tos for neutral colours. Its ‘Slate’ range works really well for highlighting period architectural features, as the shades are neither too grey nor too yellow. When the room is naturally light, we use the deeper shades ‘Slate III’ and ‘IV’, but for smaller, darker rooms, paler ‘Slate I’ and ‘II’ work well. paintandpaperlibrary.com

This article first appeared
ELLE Decoration November 2020

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