“By the time I arrived on the scene, the home had been fully renovated and reconfigured, and while it had been finished to a very high standard, it was somehow stillborn,” Charles Mellersh tells us of his latest townhouse rescue in Notting Hill. An architect/interior designer (and member of the founding editorial team at Wallpaper) who typically oversees projects from conception to completion, Mellersh treated this one as a relay: The overhaul (which involved opening up the main floor of the three-story brick Victorian and moving the stair) is the work of London architects Michaelis Boyd.
Owners Sukeena Rao, a well-known fashion stylist, and her financier husband had been living in their new quarters while it was just a beautiful shell. Rao had big ideas, but with the arrival of their son (now nearly four), she needed help filling in the pieces: “This was not easy, but when I met Charles, the stars aligned.”
Above: “As soon as you walk into the house, you are struck by the beautiful scent of the Dinesen Douglas fir flooring,” says Mellersh. (Read about the Danish company in our post World’s Most Beautiful Wood Floors.)
The brass-edged mirror is 1950s Italian and one of many pieces from The Apartment in Copenhagen. The Umbrella Stand is a Josef Frank classic from Stockholm’s Svenskt Tenn, Rao’s other favorite source introduced to her by Charles.
Above: On the ground floor, Mellersh designed “a modern take on the traditional parlor,” fitted it with a black marble mantel by Chesneys.
Of the mix of vintage and contemporary pieces, he explained: “My approach was to add a much-needed layer of warmth and to soften the architectural frame by way of the furnishings we chose. We selected pieces full of heart and soul.” These include a pair of 1930s French armchairs newly upholstered in dusty pink velvet, a brass-framed mirror from Fiona McDonald, and Michael Anastassiades‘ minimalist-luxe brass lighting used throughout.
Above: A Franco Albini Rattan Ottoman rests on a vintage Berber rug.
The walls and built-ins are painted French Grey by Little Greene: “Most color choices were pre-decided by the time I arrived,” says Mellersh. “They lend a quiet calm and happen to be very flattering to the occupants’ skin tones.”
Above: The room opens onto a study with a Mellersh-designed bookcase that “houses all the technology, cables, and charging points neatly concealed from view.”
Above: Rao often uses the Saarinen Tulip table for work meetings. The green-shaded light is a re-edition of the 1967 marble and metal Snoopy Lamp by Flos.
Above: Relocating the formerly central stair allowed for an expanded kitchen/family room (452 square feet total) on the lower level. The cabinetry is Plain English’s Spitalfields design (stay tuned for more on the UK kitchen company tomorrow). The contrasting ash and walnut table and bench are the Dining Table Two by Another Country. The green Windsor chairs are from Howe: See more in 10 Easy Pieces: The Windsor Chair Revisited.
Above: One end of the kitchen overlooks a courtyard, and the Flip Garden Chair, shown here, is made for indoor-outdoor use: It can be turned over after a shower, and Mellersh says “looks great with a weathered patina.” The black-and-white prints are by Hugo Guinness from John Derian.
Above: The bleached Douglas fir flooring from Dinesen continues on the stairs. The gray walls and tall sash window, Mellersh notes, are “reminiscent of a scene from a Vilhelm Hammershoi painting.”
Above: With its lamb’s-wool-upholstered chair and vintage Berber, the sitting area under the stairs (opposite the entry) is a favorite play space for the couple’s son.
Above: “The master bedroom is where we broke away from the subdued hues,” says Mellersh of the Marthe Armitage Hop Garden wallpaper in a “dusty pinkish red that lends a somewhat vintage backdrop to the furnishings.”
Above: A vintage cocktail chair in rose velvet from Emery et Cie. The Walnut Stool is a reissued Josef Frank 1950s design from Svenskt Tenn.
Above: A Josef Frank brass Hortus Planter stands on a vintage Saarinen table outside the master bath. The towel basket is a Piet Hein Eek design made in Vietnam from scrap wood.
Above: The grand freestanding tub and wall-mounted taps are from Lefroy Brooks.
Above: One of our favorites in the house, the son’s room features a pine Louis bed (from now-closed children’s store Serendipity in Paris; see more options here) and a Gotland sheepskin from Skandium. Note the book alcove with built-in storage.
Above: The walls are painted Mid Lead Colour from Little Greene.
Above: Steel-framed glass windows open to a brick courtyard. Says Mellersh, “The house felt like a very grown up space for a young family, so we were especially careful to make way for the realities of family life.”