Hugh doesn't have space for a painting studio in his one-bedroom London flat. So he set up an easel and an antique drafting table in the corner of the living room, where he works on landscapes and portraits while the light shines.
In the evening, the living room assumes its original purpose. Hugh painted the walls in a honey-colored faux knotty-pine woodgrain that creates trompe l'oeil moldings, adding warmth and architectural interest to the space...
The antique deep-buttoned Chesterfield sofa upholstered in a coral-and-cream-colored damask-patterned linen from a shop on Portobello Road faces the spectacular but purely decorative fireplace -- a far cry from the original 1930s concrete hearth. "The woman who sold us the apartment had an arrangement of dried flowers in front of it, if you get the picture," says Hugh, "and the mantel was so narrow you couldn't even put anything on it." Hugh had the current mantelpiece built at a specialty shop on Golborne Road, and painted it in an inky high-gloss black lacquer. He added turquoise floor tiles and a blue sculpted facade he found in front of a junk shop for five pounds. The blue-and-black color scheme is echoed in the generously proportioned hallway.
A low child-sized armchair upholstered in multicolored floral fabric, a red Oriental rug and a crystal chandelier that a friend brought him from the south of France create an inviting and timeless room that shows off the British flair for using bold, uplifting mixes of pattern and color.
Hugh's source list:
Chesterfield sofa, Trude Weaver Antiques on Portobello Road
Flowered armchair fabric bought at the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre
Oriental rug: Sotheby's
bathroom overhead light fixture, antique shop near Columbia Road Flower Market
drafting table, Clingnancourt flea market
Crystal chandelier: l'Isle sur la Sorgue in the South of France
- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com