This mews house in the central London neighbourhood of Bayswater is home to architect Cooky Monseignat, her husband Nicholas and children, Theo, four, and Cat, eight months. The family moved here in 2017 after a two-year renovation process that saw them transform the traditional 170-square-metre home into a modern, monochrome space that channels the couple’s interest in art, taking inspiration from contemporary galleries. ‘My elder sister is a photographer and my younger sister a sculptor, so I’ve spent a lot of time in galleries,’ says Cooky. ‘They give me a sense of peace, with their minimalist white spaces. I wanted to partially recreate that at home.’
You enter the three-floor house via a small cloakroom framed by a ceiling-hung curtain, inspired by French brasseries that protect entrances with heavy drapes as a buffer against the cold air. This leads into the open-plan living and dining room, where a full-height, freestanding bookshelf defines the zones. Through an arched opening – which mirrors the shape of the large front windows – is an ebony-coloured kitchen and, to the right, a glazed extension that contains a home office. The children’s bedroom and playroom, as well as a guest bedroom and bathroom, are in the basement, with the main bedroom, bathroom and walk-in closet upstairs.
Black and white is a classic, timeless colour combination, but it can sometimes feel a little starchy and cold. To avoid this, Cooky’s opted for a sophisticated tonal palette, utilising shades ranging from steel to charcoal to add depth and warmth. Dark-stained oak flooring and black joinery contrast with the pale grey sofa, slate-coloured curtains and white walls. There are plenty of on-trend geometric details, too, such as the chevron flooring, the gridded simplicity of the pattern on the dining table and the tiling in the bathroom.
As in the galleries Cooky was inspired by, her home’s pared-back scheme allows the couple’s colourful art collection to shine. And there are some powerful paintings in this home, including the nude by Robert Stanley that hangs above the fireplace. The considered tranquillity of the interior extends outside, too. The house is at the end of the mews, so there is no through traffic, and Cooky has created a small garden for the family to enjoy. ‘We have an apricot tree, apple tree and a fig tree in large black glazed ceramic pots in front of the house. We can sit out here and forget we’re in central London.’
For the full house tour see ELLE Decoration August 2019
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