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Required Reading: Rose Uniacke at Work

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Required Reading: Rose Uniacke at Work

September 20, 2023

It’s hard not to lapse into a flurry of superlatives when faced with the serene and sumptuous interiors created by the English decorator, designer, and antiques dealer Rose Uniacke. And none more so than her own home, where she completely reimagined an 1860 property of palatial proportions in Pimlico, central London. That jaw-dropping home—with its exquisitely monastic yet grand rooms, soaring sash windows, intricate plaster work, vast airy volumes, and architectural details (a 12-ton cantilevered spiral stone staircase punctuates the central hall)—was recorded in intimate detail in her first monograph, Rose Uniacke At Home, in 2021. (And in the Gardenista book, too, where we captured her ethereal conservatory garden: see Among the Orchids: Designer Rose Uniacke at Home in London.)

Now the designer has published her follow-up, Rose Uniacke at Work, which updates the development of her own home with an adjoining coach house she was able to purchase, along with several projects in London, the English countryside, and the Hamptons. There are sections detailing her product design work, too, which now encompasses interiors collections of furniture, lighting, fabrics, and eco-friendly paints.

Despite the rarified taste, Uniacke’s interiors feel somehow homely, relaxing. “I want to offer my clients a sanctuary: a place that has atmosphere, in which they can think clearly,” she says in the introduction to her book. There are clients who clearly want to mimic the perfection of her home and then those who push Uniacke into rather different territory where color and pattern abound, especially in one project in St John’s Wood, where the designer unleashes vibrant wallpapers and rich color from ceiling to floor. But it’s in the serene spaces where her rooms are at their most beguiling, as in the jewel box coach house that leads these other new projects in her book.

Let’s take a closer look.

Photographs by Francois Halard.

Required Reading Rose Uniacke at Work portrait 7
Above: The curvaceous oak handrail of the spiral staircase cuts into the soothing and neutral interior.

Uniacke talks a lot about her need to “feel the raw space”. What it means in practice is gutting a building to really understand its bones, and her coach house was no exception. Separated from the main property since the 1950s, the space had to be entirely stripped back. And her scheme nods to the building’s utilitarian and humble beginnings as a stable when horses were the main mode of transport in Victorian England.

Not that there’s anything plain about this space. The whole interior is washed in warm shades of pink and blush, creating a soft and earthy contrast to the cooler interiors of the main house; the floors are in narrow boards. Central to the initial reconfiguration was the removal of a staircase and the installation of its replacement: a curving oak spiral staircase handmade to fit the space. Cutting into the bookshelves, this sculptural focal point feels like it’s part of the fabric of the building.

Required Reading Rose Uniacke at Work portrait 7
Above: Warm plaster walls set the tone throughout the house. A wall hanging by Simone Prouvé adds another layer of texture and picks up on the green from the planting in the adjoining garden.
Required Reading Rose Uniacke at Work portrait 7
Above: In the kitchen, a hemp curtain—a recurrent Uniacke device—divides the space while adding another layer of softness and texture. Walls are in natural plaster pink, and an oak bullnose frames the sink and splashback. Uniacke’s exacting eye for the perfect piece is evident in every room and nearly always in eclectic combinations. In the small kitchen she chose vernacular pieces, designed by Swedish furniture maker Axel Einar Hjorth in the 1930s.
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Above: Airy furniture keeps the mood light with uninterrupted views. As with all of Uniacke’s delectable rooms, the space is dotted with interesting art and design: A Gerhard Richter print above the fireplace is joined by a table lamp by Jos Devriendt and a black ceramic mirror by Georges Jouve along with wall lights and a teapot by Charlotte Perriand.
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Above: Upstairs in the bedroom, the serene atmosphere continues with plaster walls and rustic wooden floors contrasting with a soft pink upholstered chair. A Peter Collingwood gauze hanging sits above a table by Axel Einar Hjorth while a long Isamu Noguchi lantern adds a counterpoint to a circular porthole window.
Required Reading Rose Uniacke at Work portrait 7
Above: Another view of the bedroom, with the staircase’s elegant oak handrail alongside a curvaceous Le Corbusier sketch. The oak cabinet is part of Uniacke’s own furniture collections.
Required Reading Rose Uniacke at Work portrait 7
Above: In the bathroom, a Victorian table and marble top has been adapted as a washstand; above are wall lights designed by Uniacke.
Required Reading Rose Uniacke at Work portrait 7
Above: Rose Uniacke at Work, $75, is published by Rizzoli.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the book 'Rose Uniacke at Work' about?

The book 'Rose Uniacke at Work' is about interior designer Rose Uniacke's design process and showcases her elegant and timeless aesthetic through various projects.

Who is Rose Uniacke?

Rose Uniacke is an interior designer known for her sophisticated and minimalist style, blending traditional and contemporary elements seamlessly.

Where can I buy the book 'Rose Uniacke at Work'?

You can purchase the book 'Rose Uniacke at Work' from various online retailers or bookstores.

What type of design projects does Rose Uniacke undertake?

Rose Uniacke undertakes a wide range of design projects, including residential, commercial, and public spaces.

Does the book include photographs of Rose Uniacke's design work?

Yes, the book is filled with beautiful photographs showcasing Rose Uniacke's design work and inspirations.

Is 'Rose Uniacke at Work' suitable for interior design enthusiasts and professionals?

Yes, the book is suitable for both interior design enthusiasts and professionals as it offers insights into Uniacke's creative process and design principles.

Are there any specific design styles featured in the book?

The book encompasses a range of design styles, including classic, contemporary, and minimalist aesthetics, reflecting Rose Uniacke's versatility as a designer.

Does the book provide practical design tips and advice?

Yes, 'Rose Uniacke at Work' includes practical design tips and advice from Rose Uniacke, offering guidance on creating a harmonious and inviting space.

Can I find inspiration for my own design projects in the book?

Absolutely! The book provides ample inspiration for anyone looking to incorporate elegance and timeless design into their own projects.

Is 'Rose Uniacke at Work' recommended by design professionals?

Yes, 'Rose Uniacke at Work' has received positive reviews from design professionals who appreciate Uniacke's aesthetic and expertise.

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