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This London Apartment by Studio Ashby Exudes Luxury and Comfort

A London apartment gets a French makeover for a home that is at once chic, and filled with undeniable joie de vivre

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By Edwain Steenkamp  | October 10, 2023 | Interiors

Tucked away in the heart of London is Belgravia, a small district lined with grand terraces and stucco houses informed by a mix of Georgian and Regency architecture. Here you’ll also find lush gardens squares, cobbled streets, and some of the country’s finest boutiques and restaurants. It is, without a doubt, the epitome of fine English living. And while these many charms drew a young woman to settle down in the neighbourhood, she didn’t quite want to abandon her French heritage, either.

So she called upon Studio Ashby with a clear brief; to create a home that captured the metropolitan appeal of Belgravia, while exuding the effortless chic reminiscent of a Haussmann-style Parisian pied-à-terre. The studio came on board to do just this, and transformed the entrance hall, living room, kitchen and dining area, a primary bedroom suite including a dressing room, a bathroom, a guest room and ensuite bathroom, as well as a small utility room.

In the entrance hall sits a 19th-century French carved wood painted sofa upholstered in Ledbury by Tissus D’ Hélène. The rag finish on the walls was completed by The Finish Effect. Image: Kensington Leverne.

‘There are so many special moments throughout the apartment,’ says Sophie Ashby, the founder of Studio Ashby. ‘From the beautiful kitchen tiles from Balineum – which play host to a delicate mural by Anna Glover and evokes an English wildflower garden but in the mode of a historic Japanese illustration – to the intricate marquetry floor in marble that marks a dramatic sense of arrival to the space.’

And dramatic it is. It’s the very definition of a jewel box apartment; around every corner, exquisite antiques sit alongside the finest contemporary decor; you’re surrounded by arguably the most prized textiles and finishes in the world, and atop every shelf and plinth, a collection of fine art. Needless to say, the apartment could also be described as a gallery of sorts. The client has an impressive art collection, which Studio Ashby helped expand on during this project. Throughout the apartment, works by artists like Anna Glover, Yves Klein, and Delia Harmer inform the space, along with collectables by masters like Paolo Buffa and Christopher Farr.

The master dressing room exudes an eclectic charm, with a custom Benin rug by Christopher Farr and a ‘Polar Bear’ chair from Sister by Studio Ashby. Image: Kensington Leverne.

‘The homeowner is a great collector of art and sculpture,’ says Sophie, ‘with jewel tones featured heavily within her archive. We looked to set these against the palette of the apartment.’ Plinths can be seen throughout the home, where the homeowner has the freedom to rotate her sculptures and vessels as the mood strikes – making the apartment an ever-evolving exhibition. But this isn’t to say the apartment is overly precious.

‘The client wanted a home that is feminine, highly decorative, rich, layered, cosy and warm,’ she adds, ‘and I like to think that we captured a real sense of who she is.’

On the contrary, as a permanent residence, it maximises on comfortable living, where the homeowner can unwind and entertain her family and guests. In the kitchen, for instance, a mohair banquette makes breakfast an intimate affair, while in the bedrooms and dressing rooms, textiles are layered to create a sense of feminine cosiness.

‘For the bedrooms, we selected incredible embroidered, hand-painted De Gournay wallpapers which provide a masterful backdrop to each space,’ explains Sophie, ‘while custom hand-painted wardrobes in the dressing rooms provide a feeling of grandeur.’