Two very different designers - one stunning home

A collaboration between an interior architect and an interior designer turned a five-storey townhouse in Notting Hill into an object lesson in balance and harmony.

A graphic chevron rug in minty pastel sits against dark blue ethnic-print curtains in the bedroom. Giant black-and-white stripes appear from nowhere in an otherwise muted kitchen spanning the lower ground floor. Dusky pink velvet cushions make an unexpected showing in a masculine media room. And it all works. 

The interior designer, Suzy Hoodless, is known for her mild eclecticism and smart monochrome backgrounds. "My aim," she says, "is that when I hand over a house, it is an extension of its owners' personalities."

Collaboration: a white marble table by Bethan Gray for Lapicida stands in front of a stone chimneypiece by Jamb. Image: Lucas Allen. 

Hoodless worked closely with Johnny Holland of Hackett Holland architects. "For many houses I act as creative director for the entire project, but in this case it was genuinely a joint effort," she says.

In the front sitting area, entered immediately from the entrance hallway, a set of full-height, glazed doors set the tone for an elegant architectural interior reminiscent of smart family houses across Europe. 

Reception floor layouts of Victorian townhouses can be all too familiar but this is one of several clever, glazed elements that make this conversion special. Another is the single, undivided interior window at the end of the entrance hall, which reveals a double-height bespoke lighting installation and gives a vertical vista over a Rain Effect coffee table by Mint. 

The room looks out to a little garden landscaped by Alasdair Cameron, with white cobblestones and slim silver-birch trees, and down to a sunken surrealist urban folly featuring a stone mantelpiece, that forms a miniature smoking yard at the lower-ground level.

Expert: Suzy Hoodless designed the black-and-white striped wallpaper that spirals through the home

The third transformative piece of glazing is the double-height grid of windowpanes that sits between the seating area and the garden. Along with two sets of full-height French windows, it completely opens up the ground and first floors. Holland says they borrowed ideas from the Parisian way of making the most of old buildings, using more pane and less frame. His passion is for restoring period houses. In this case, his sensitivity to the property's original proportions, combined with his imaginative approach to maximising space, produced a classic, cool, chic result.

The project started in spring 2012, and most of the time since then has been spent constructing the lower ground floor, correcting the window placement and the alignment of the walls, and extending the roof to open up the top-floor main bedroom. During those two years, architect, interior designer and clients all juggled their time around having babies, and creating a balance between the owners' tastes.

Hoodless says: "The owners had quite contrasting briefs, which would usually be challenging. He's into contemporary design with strong colours, and her taste is far more minimal and neutral." She designed the rugs throughout the house, which are a series of corresponding, geometrically striped flat weaves that vary in colour and pattern, made by Christine Van Der Hurd.

Hoodless also designed much of the lighting, a white pedestal table, the teak cabinet in the dining area and a showpiece flash of wallpaper with oversize, diagonal black-and-white stripes that leads down from the kitchen to the basement cinema room and work den. The pared-back stone chimneypieces were made by Jamb.

Hoodless used fabric-fronted wardrobes, Vittorio Introini shelving, and a relaxed setting in the bathroom area of the open-plan main bedroom. 

A Fifties chair by Philip Arctander, found through a Swedish dealer, sits next to Rose Uniacke's Hoof side table, arranged at a casual angle beside the freestanding bath. Hoodless adds: "That chair was the first piece we sourced for the project. Those initial purchases tend to set the tone."


  • See the full version of this feature in the March issue of House & Garden, on sale now.

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