Every room has a silver lining

Fabric company director Graham Noakes brought all of his space-creating know-how to the Thamesside apartment he bought one lunchtime
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The view from Graham Noakes's colourful riverside home in Battersea Reach looks out on to an intriguing mix of graffiti-covered old warehouses and brand new residential blocks, dominated by the River Thames beneath a massive expanse of sky.

"I love watching the barges, rowers and pleasure boats going past," says Noakes, who bought the third-floor, two-bedroom apartment offplan and on impulse during his lunch hour five years ago.

"I'd been living in an old Victorian house so I fancied living somewhere that had a strong city feel. I was thrilled at the idea of having a big open living space, with diagonal walls and balconies overlooking the water, as I entertain a lot and like to give parties."

Noakes, who is 48 and known for his flamboyant dress sense, has worked for Osborne & Little for 21 years, where he is sales and marketing director. Given his background, it is hardly surprising that he was able to visualise how he wanted his home to look, even before it had been built.

Graham Noakes loves watching the boats and rowers from his huge windows that overlook the Thames
Graham Noakes loves watching the boats and rowers from his huge windows that overlook the Thames
"When I did move in 18 months later, all the surfaces were painted off-white and everything had been done to a standard finish, which meant I had a chance to decorate the whole place in one go," he says.

"The starting point was putting a wide, horizontal-striped wallpaper all the way from the hallway, into the kitchen and living area, to lead the eye from the front door directly towards the river view. The stripes are silver and off-white, which change all the time, depending on the light; sometimes they look green or grey, other times a metallic silver.

"I also wanted to introduce elements of silver into every room, in different colour combinations, using both wallpapers and fabric." The guest bedroom is a study in cool blues and silvers, with shimmering vertical-striped walls and rich brocaded fabrics.

'I've always liked colour and I've never had a beige or taupe minimalist period'



The main bedroom is a luscious combination of silvery bronze walls and deep raspberry red soft furnishings
The main bedroom is a luscious combination of silvery bronze walls and deep raspberry red soft furnishings
The dressing and side tables are of dark ebonised wood with nickel-plated edges from William Yeoward, which Noakes admits are the most expensive things in the flat, while the main bedroom is a luscious combination of warm silvery bronze walls and deep raspberry-red textures.

Thick, interlined stripy silk curtains hang in front of valances to block out all the light. Noakes rarely has to turn on the heating thanks to the double glazed doors and insulated walls.

By contrast, the sitting and dining area is dominated by greens, oranges and browns, highlighted by a striking woollen rug, a design of squares in circles, which is also mirrored by some of the cushions.

A silver and orange floral design wallpaper dominates in the study, with this Vitra ball clock
A silver and orange floral design wallpaper dominates in the study, with this Vitra ball clock
"I've always liked colour and I've never had a beige or taupe minimalist period," he says. "I tend to fall in love with particular combinations." Orange is his current favourite, judging from the amount splashed around, from the toaster and the sideboard to the wall clock and chair covers.

The dining table is a vivid citrus green flanked by chocolate-brown leather chairs next to a burnt-orange lacquered side table from Poliform. In the next door study, walls are papered in a silver and orange floral design with matching blinds. Likewise the kitchen is all brushed steel appliances, polished granite work surfaces and the inevitable orange accents.

In the guest room, the William Yeoward ebonised dark wood dressing and side tables are the most expensive items in the flat
In the guest room, the William Yeoward ebonised dark wood dressing and side tables are the most expensive items in the flat
Every Friday, however, if Noakes is not jetting off to yet another foreign trade show or launch event, he heads off to his cottage in Northamptonshire, where he keeps horses. He describes it as being "completely different from the urban design world and the perfect contrast to all this".

Where to get the look


Papers, rug and fabrics: www.osborneandlittle.com

Vitra orange ball clock: www.vitra.com

Dark wood and nickelplated side tables: www.williamyeoward.com

Lacquered furniture: www.poliformuk.com

Powdercoated aluminium table and leather chairs: www.livingspaceuk.com

Pictures by Tim Evan Cook

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