For Martin Brudnizki, the prolific interior designer behind Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden, comfort is key - whether the look is urban hip or pure glamour.
Brudnizki has revamped some of the world’s highest-profile hotels and restaurants and is the go-to man in London for the likes of Soho House and The Ivy.
But it is the flagship restaurant for Jamie Oliver’s Italian-themed chain that has introduced Brudnizki’s work to a wider audience.
“For this site I went for a rustic, relaxed and informal vibe,” he explains, resting comfortably on one of the cavernous restaurant’s leather banquettes. “The name that I had in mind for it was Jamie’s Shed,” he jokes.
He also cites the nearby Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square Tube stations as influences. “I wanted that Underground, grungy feel. So I found items that reflected this and then I customised them.”
And that’s the crux of the matter. It’s all about putting your stamp on a design concept. “Consider what property you have, think about its atmosphere and what would work for it,” stresses Brudnizki. With a little advice and a few essentials the look can be cleverly captured in your home.
© Alex Lentati
WALL TO WALL
“Use natural materials, such as wood, on walls,” says Brudnizki. “This will add warmth and depth to your space.” Then add other textures, such as timber, steel or ceramics.
The off-white and black Metro tiles that adorn the surfaces at Jamie’s Italian can be bought from H&E Smith for 74p each. Team these with more detailed Period Embossed wall tiles, available in a range of colours, from £3.17 each (01782 281617, www.hesmith.co.uk).
Or get hands-on, like Brudnizki’s team: “We go to timber merchants and find objects (such as old sheds) that have been dismantled and use that timber to clad a wall.”
Use bold, fresh hues but try not to over-complicate the colour scheme; pick a few good shades as a base and work around that. The striking red A Chair from Xavier Pauchard is available at Conran for £195 (www.conranshop.co.uk).
Have fun — add oversize or unusual pieces that make you smile. How about Matalan’s kitchen utensils clock (£16, www.matalan.co.uk)? Or try Vita Audio’s high-quality, funky red radio (£179.99, www.vitaaudio.com).
Fill wooden picture frames of all colours, shapes and sizes with paintings, drawings and photos and display them on the wall. Ikea’s NYTTJA series (from £1.79, www.ikea.com) is a good starting point. “Recently we bought some new-looking frames for a project and white-painted them, then distressed and antiqued them ourselves using sandpaper and an old brush,” sasy Brudnizki. “Once you perfect the technique, it can give a new lease of life to older pieces.”
And take the opportunity to recycle. Wooden boxes and tool cabinets make for great storage devices. Or you can buy stackable pine apple trays for the Italian farmhouse look. Try the ones at www.notonthehigh street.com (£20 each).
Keep it functional with a wood-finish table. Argos’s £69.99 option does the trick.
And you really can have Jamie at Home with the celebrity chef’s wide range of products (www.jamieathome.com). The tumblers chosen for the restaurant are Conran’s pressed glass range (£21.95 for six, www.conranshop.co.uk), and the salt and pepper mill sets are Peugeot’s Bistro (£39 the pair, www.salamandercookshop.com).
Layer lighting with a mix of ceiling spotlights, wall and table lamps and wire them all up to a dimmer. “Creating intimate, low-level lighting is so important,” says Brudnizki.
All the wall lights at Jamie’s Italian were from Lumart (lumart.fr). “The pendants have polished copper inside them, giving off an amazing warmth,” says Brudnizki.
Davey Lighting stocks similar items, including the boxed Narrow Wall Light (£246, www.lighting-matters.co.uk). Or, for great value, go for Debenhams’ medium decorative silver lantern (£40, www.debenhams.co.uk). Then do what Brudnizki did and hang a striking pendant, such as the Anishi modern ceiling light (£67.99, www.oceanlighting.co.uk).
WIN DINNER FOR FOUR AT JAMIE’S ITALIAN
Plus £500 to spend at St Martin’s Courtyard and courses at the Academy of Flowers
We’ve got a fabulous prize for one lucky reader courtesy of St Martin’s Courtyard. The package includes dinner for four at Jamie’s Italian in Covent Garden - so you can get a real taste for the look. Plus, two evening courses at The Covent Garden Academy of Flowers and £500 of shopping vouchers to spend at any of the St Martin’s Courtyard shops, which range from Jack Wills to The White Company (visit www.stmartinscourtyard.co.uk).
To enter: visit www.stmartinscourtyard.co.uk/EveningStandardHomesPropertyPrizeDraw before March 14, 2012.
* Jamie’s Italian is at 12 Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2. Call 020 3326 6390 or visit www.jamiesitalian.com
Pictures: Simon Maxwell