“We sat next to each other and would often chat over our projects,” says Newman. “We then collaborated on a couple of developments and decided to start a company, Newman Zieglmeier.”
The duo have since risen to glittery heights transforming the homes of fashion industry and media types such as designer Alice Temperley and A-list make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury.
Partnering with building contractors Zibi & Jack to deliver a design and build service, Newman Zieglmeier’s knack for clever space planning has proved a hit in their stretch of west London, an area filled with narrow Victorian terraces, often badly carved into flats. Newman’s own home in Kensal Rise is a perfect example.
Built at the turn of the last century, the property is today a feat of spatial innovation. “It’s rare to find somewhere with a loft space that has so much scope,” says Newman. Seeing the potential in what was a poky top-floor, two-bedroom flat above a shop, albeit with an unusual apex, the designer snapped it up.
He removed three of the magnolia-painted partition walls, ripped up the plywood floor, took out two fireplaces and raised the ceilings by about eight inches, to create an open-plan space that includes a kitchen and sitting and dining area.
There is a separate bedroom, a shower room and a roof terrace, too. “It’s a very sociable apartment, with a great kitchen. I can chat to guests while I’m cooking and people can sit outside in the summer,” he says.
The highlight is the transformation of the loft and its previously graffiti-covered exterior gable end, where the roof was lifted off.
It is now a spacious bedroom with a dramatic triangular glass wall, which not only fills the room with light but also provides spectacular views across the capital, taking in local landmark Trellick Tower and even the Shard beyond. “There were a few challenges with the planning application and the build,” says Newman. Mainly with the glass, both on the plans and when hoisting it in, as access was restricted.”