When planning his reimagining of this turn-of-the-century arts-and-crafts-style townhouse in Chelsea, interior architect Pierre Yovanovitch looked first to the colourful history of this London neighbourhood. ‘The area’s bohemian roots make it the ideal setting for an art- and design-filled home,’ he explains.
After an 18-month makeover, which included building a lap pool in the secluded and serene back garden, he has created an almost bucolic inner-city retreat, perfect for its owners and their two teenage daughters.
‘The property had been recently renovated by the previous inhabitants, so the challenge was to give it a new, fresh spirit while retaining some of the work they had done,’ explains Pierre. To do that, he judiciously added to the existing features, creating made-to-measure oak panelling and bespoke mouldings in collaboration with skilled artisans. ‘I worked with French painter and ceramicist Armelle Benoit to create beautiful custom wall features and fireplaces inspired by the vintage characteristics of the architecture,’ he adds.
His aim was to respect the 400-square-metre, four-storey townhouse’s past, but also highlight the owners’ extensive art collection, which includes works by Toby Ziegler, Camille Henrot, Jules de Balincourt and Liza Lou. These contemporary paintings stand out against the mix of vintage lighting and furniture that Pierre assembled. There are art deco pieces by designers Paul Frankl and Otto Schultz, as well as mid-century classics and his own modern creations.
‘The rooms are harmonious in a colourful way, which gives a real consistency to the property,’ he says. ‘But at the same time, each space has its own nature, with unique decorative bias and singular furnishings.’
There are areas of vibrant pattern and texture, such as the raspberry-hued Fortuny wallcovering in the dining room, and unique items by up-and-coming British craftspeople, such as London-based Lola Lely from The New Craftsmen. Her curvaceous and chunky-legged wooden ‘Elephant’ table lends a cosiness to the breakfast area.
‘I wanted this home to be joyful, but also a place where the owners and their guests can take time to appreciate all of the art and design pieces,’ adds Pierre. ‘In many ways, it feels like an escape from the bustling city. With a lot of attention placed on opening the house up to natural light and the surrounding garden, it has developed the atmosphere of a laid-back pastoral residence. Refined yet full of life, just like London.’ pierreyovanovitch.com
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