Italian gentlemen with a London residence permit prefer a respectable classics, modern art and a little humor. We looked at the house of an expert on British luxury real estate and realized that he has much to learn. In our article – a luxurious interior in brown and turquoise colors from the most fashionable London decorator.
The famous holographic portrait of Elizabeth II with her eyes closed, made during a pause in the official photo shoot by artist Chris Levine is called “Lightness of Being”. At one time, the image brought a lot of trouble to the royal press service, and now determines the style and spirit of one of the most fashionable London interiors. Elegant neoclassicism with firm English irony and Italian soul.
The owners of the apartments – Sofia and Niccolo Barattieri di San Pietro – are people who go to parties after receptions at Buckingham Palace. Nikolo is the managing director of Northacre, the leading English developer of the luxury class, an enthusiastic yachtsman and a football fan. Among his clients are half of the British aristocracy, Arab sheikhs and Russian billionaires. His wife Sofia is the host of a dynamic startup in the haute couture industry. Both grew up in Italy, share the love of the Mediterranean and the historical palazzo, but prefer to live in cosmopolitan London.
Sofia Barattieri, owner:
— Like all the inhabitants of the British Isles, we share the need for both a sense of proportion and diversity. But as Italians we love that kind of luxury that allows you to throw off your shoes and relax. For this we needed a man who could bring in an element of secular playfulness. And we found Paolo Moschino. He beautifully designed the homes of most of our friends. He understands us. And he has an impeccable taste.
Paolo Moschino, art director of Nicholas Haslam Ltd:
Paolo Moschino, art director and co-owner of Nicholas Haslam Ltd., a devoted pupil and protégé of the British design guru Nick Heslem, comes from the famous Moskino family. Over time, Paolo became a co-owner of a company specializing in interior decoration, as part of the expanded design company of the teacher. At its service wealthy aristocrats, billionaires with taste and Hollywood stars resort. This Moskino made out a house in Surrey, where he was kept under house arrest of the Chilean dictator Pinochet. Later the estate was acquired by the banker Peter Aven, and English newspapers savored the details for several months: the largest atrium in Europe, an underground bunker with Russian art and a fireplace worth a hundred sixty-five thousand pounds. Moskino prefers to work in neoclassical style and art deco, although he does not like to rank himself as a fan of these directions. The “correct” English interior, the master of which it is considered, suggests a mixture of the best that happened in the vastness of the empire, and therefore, can not be referred to a specific style. “For many years now I have been able to afford customers,” says Moskino. – Therefore, I work only on like-minded people. This is how the best result is obtained. Now almost all my clients are my close friends, for whom I create interiors not for a minute, but for ever. ”
But for this project only good taste was not enough. Serious engineering work was required. And she was entrusted to the architectural bureau Tyler Mandic. Prior to reissuing, Baratieri lived in a duplex overlooking the famous gardens in the heart of Kensington – the historic and prestigious district of London, located between Notting Hill, Chelsea and Belgravia. When the couple was born the third child, the place became desperately inadequate, and the couple bought apartments in the neighborhood, which tripled the yardage. Now Barattieri belonged to two floors in adjacent Victorian houses. The only question was to unify the buildings. To solve this problem, not destroying the elite historical real estate and not violating the law, the architects came up with a very complicated project.
Gordana Mandiс, Tyler Mandic:
— It was very dangerous and pretty scary. Engineers had to transfer the weight of the old 5-storey building to special columns and beams without the slightest shift. Otherwise, there might be cracks in a dozen or so well-equipped apartments at the top. Fortunately, everything went without a hitch.
Internal planning Moskino took over. And did not complicate it. The two-storey apartment opens up like a palace suite – all rooms are located one after another, along a long corridor, gently and evenly lit.
Paolo Moschino, Nicholas Haslam Ltd:
— I always try to make space open from general to private, beautiful and flowing. Then we get a balanced composition without flaws. The ideal interior is that interior in which you can change all furniture in one day, and it will not lose from it. And this approach implies simplicity and absence of excesses.
The composition is based on classical proportions, basic geometric shapes and symmetry. But this simplicity is deceptive. In the living room, it turns into a complex game with simple shapes: the rhythmic squares of the frames on the walls, the rectangles of the French doors and tables, the carpet on the floor, the fireplace turn the space into a chessboard, and the viewer into the player, then into the figure. Dark doorways against the light walls – that frame. And for each – a new picture.
Color and light
The basis of the color composition is set by the same Elizabethan portrait. Turquoise – aquamarine – emerald. And complements the “ebonized” oak of luxurious floors. This warm dark color – floor and furniture – softens the cold luxury of turquoise shades. On a neutral background of very light grayish-beige walls, this combination emphasizes the respectability of the interior and allows expensive “selling” of art and antiques, mixed with massive modern furniture.
Depth and complexity of color is achieved due to the richness of tonal transitions from saturated dark blue spots in the furniture upholstery through the pearl blue-gray color of the curtains to the transparent green hue of the vases.
The most important and original tool for the decorator is glass. Interesting find: panels from the so-called “mercury glass” create a shimmering shine and a vintage scurf. Pearlescent glow is achieved due to the silvery interlayer inside the thick glass layer. The theme is supported by floor lamps from the beginning of the century from glass pipes at the entrance, Murano balls in the living room and vases of complex shapes. All this glass variety creates additional reflections and reflexes and enhances the impression of a coloristic solution.
The Italian spirit
Despite the luxurious environment and the classic approach to filling the space, the house is very far from museum. And due to this largely frivolous Italian spirit, penetrated into the British stiffness. The solar Tuscany is reminiscent of simple jute carpets, carved staircases and marble lines of kitchen and bathrooms. A series of French doors that are not to be closed here, leads to a small private terrace and to an extensive public garden in which the surrounding children play. Barattieri says that it reminds them of a cheerful Roman childhood and well-courts, from where parents called them for dinner.
The kitchen is a gift from Sofia, a great lover to cook. High-tech, light and spacious, it is planned in a traditional Italian key, although it consists almost entirely of ultramodern furniture. For the most part, it is concentrated in the lower tier. Almost everything necessary fits inside the island and in several tall “columns”, designed in such a way as to be minimal from the plane of the wall. This allows you to reduce the number of top cabinets to the necessary minimum – along one wall – and completely free the rest of the space, turning the kitchen into a family dining room, then into a place for the reception of the closest friends.
Paolo Moschino, art director of Nicholas Haslam Ltd:
— A typical Italian approach. In Italy you can have a huge palazzo, but you will serve mozzarella and tomatoes for lunch, and your guests will laugh and talk. This relaxed attitude towards the historical greatness of the place, which helps to avoid the pressure of centuries and ancestors. And it appeals to all of us: me, Sophia, and Nikolo.