Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Slow Architecture: An Elegant, Monochrome Home in London by Spencer Fung

Search

Slow Architecture: An Elegant, Monochrome Home in London by Spencer Fung

November 7, 2016

I recently dropped in on London architect Spencer Fung, the under-the-radar designer best known for his work with the Daylesford organic farm shops and spas (since 2001, he’s worked in partnership with Carole Bamford to develop the brand). Fung has a new book out, Architecture by Hand (Clearview), and I was curious to hear his take on organic modernism, a look he’s perfected over the years.

The book, which covers architecture, interior design, and furniture, is “the result of 10 to 15 years of work,” Fung say, as we leaf through a copy at his dining table. “Sketching is a thinking process for me. I draw to see what interests me. It helps me to observe and to remember, and it fuels ideas and allows me to communicate and explain my story to clients, and to myself.”

Divided into chapters on wood, stone, weave, metal, and finishing touches, interspersed with Fung’s watercolors and line drawings (each a refined exploration of line, tone, and texture), the book goes some way to describing his elegant London home. Let’s take a tour.

Photography by Richard Powers courtesy of Spencer Fung.

spencer fung house hallway richard powers 9

Above: Fung lives with his wife, design and creative consultant Teresa Roviras (she’s also the founder of online toy store Hedgehog Shop), and their two children, Aurelia, 13, and Lawrence, 11, in a late Victorian, three-story townhouse in leafy Belsize Park.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 10

Above: “Many of the houses on the street have these huge extensions, but we wanted our home to retain its original character,” Fung says. “We rearranged the layout at the back of the ground floor and opened up the kitchen and dining room, but other than than, the layout remains the same.”

The ground level has gray marble floors throughout.“We always start with the shell—in this case the floor and wall finishes,” Fung says. “If the shell is good, the rest will come over time. “We wanted a floor with texture and warmth,” adds Roviras, who is from Catalunya. “Marble is an extremely practical choice,” she explains. “In Spain, marble floors are really common because they are so easy to clean.”

spencer fung london house by richard powers 11

Above: Fung used the same marble to create the bespoke kitchen.

spencer fung london house 12

Above: The dining table is made from chunky white oak—”the king of woods”—and is surrounded by a selection of vintage dining chairs (some of which are Spanish heirlooms) upholstered in black linen.

The walls, ceilings, and cornicing are finished in natural plaster, which has a matte, chalky finish and deliberately leaves the “hand trail” of the plasterer. “I like to bring work-in-progress to the foreground,” explains Fung. “I call it slow architecture.”

spencer fung london house by richard powers 14

Above: “We always get sucked into antique markets and junk shops,” admits Roviras, who is attracted to “sober” objects such as imperfect pewter platters and utilitarian ceramics. Their collection lines the walls of the kitchen and fills the two bespoke vitrines in the dining room.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 15

Above: In the front room, two antique French chairs flank the marble fireplace. Fung’s Asterisk table in whitewashed oak stands in the middle. On the mantlepiece, a salvaged Crittall window has been fitted with a foxed mirror.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 16

Above: The sofa (designed by Fung) has been covered with vintage sacking from a Hungarian cart cover.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 17

Above: On the first floor, an airy study and TV room overlooks the street. The double desk (where Fung sketches everyday) is another Spanish heirloom. The sofa—a modern settle designed by Fung—has concealed storage built into the base.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 18

Above: “We are compulsive gatherers,” admits Roviras. A display unit in the study exhibits the family’s collection of found objects, including jars of sand gathered from the beaches in Hong Kong. Fung grew up in Hong Kong—”a concrete city”—but he has always had an affinity with nature. “I’m looking for it all the time,” he says.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 19

Above: The still, monochrome palette continues in the master bedroom.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 20

Above: In the couples’ dressing room, repurposed shop fittings from D & A Binder serve as vast wardrobes.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 21

Above: A marble wall separates the wet room from the bathing area in the couples’ bathroom.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 22

Above: An unexpected riot of primary colors in Lawrence’s third-floor bedroom. Lawrence has recently designed his own steel-framed bed and bedside table.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 23

Above: Aurelia has just moved into the spare bedroom, where she is keen to keep her parent’s collection of vintage botanical prints and furniture.

spencer fung london house by richard powers 24

Above: The garden is bordered by woven hazel branches, the furniture fashioned from chunky, weathered oak and metal.

See more:
The Uncluttered Life in London
Expert Advice: Monochrome for the Minimalist (and Maximalist)
A Notting Hill Townhouse Tailored for Living by Charles Mellersh

Product summary  

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

v5.0