The mood here is calm and contemplative, but Cassandra Stavrou didn’t mess around when creating her east London home. She nailed her vision early on, sharing a concise brief with interior designer Rebecca Sicardi: ‘I wanted it to be Mediterranean but not rustic, feminine but not girly, minimalist but not cold.’
Entrepreneur Cassandra has spent 10 busy years building her Propercorn brand from a lightbulb moment to a huge success story. So this five-bedroom Victorian terrace, which she bought just two years ago, needed to function as a tranquil antidote to her high-pressured career.
That desire for respite resonated with Rebecca, who worked with architect Joseph Edwards of Edwards Wilson, and joiner Greg Cox – nicknamed ‘Magic’ because of his skills – on the project.
It’s the freshly extended kitchen-dining space that is the focal point of this house. The sociable tendencies of Cassandra’s Greek-Cypriot heritage meant she wanted a place where she and boyfriend Charlie Tarr could spend lazy Sundays cooking and eating with friends. Situated on the ground floor, with doors opening onto the garden, the space’s design is industrial with a playful edge, with the concrete island’s corrugated side offering a modern interpretation of feminine frills.
Concrete plays an important role in this home’s raw, minimalist palette, alongside white-oiled oak and Italian stone. An aesthetic this focused and free of fripperies could appear cold, but Rebecca has brought softness to every room. She uses textiles, from unbleached cottons to linens, and unexpected pops of bright red. The main bedroom, Cassandra’s ‘retreat within a retreat’, for instance, is hidden behind a cayenne-red wool curtain.
Forgoing straight lines in favour of shapely curves also brings a lightness to this interior. Look at the illustrative arches in the bathroom or the moulded detailing on the cast-concrete fireplaces.
‘I wanted these abstract forms to elevate the interior,’ explains Cassandra. Perhaps the dreamiest example of this approach is the ‘Cloud’ sofa that serves as a functional sculpture in the rear living area. Specially commissioned by Rebecca, it transforms a potentially underused space between the main lounge and the kitchen into a central hub.
‘Charlie has his decks here, so guests congregate on the sofa to listen to music and chat to people in the kitchen and living room,’ adds Cassandra.
Now, she and Charlie – whose career in communications is equally relentless – share a home that’s an instant stress reliever. ‘Its softly minimal look is like a blank canvas,’ says Cassandra. ‘It can be our safe space for winding down during the week, or we can be dancing with a gang of friends on a Friday night. We can feel the party vibe or be very zen.’ rebeccasicardi.com; e-w.london
This article first appeared in ELLE Decoration July 2020
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