Calming Influence – An Interview With Staffan Tollgard for Homes & Gardens November 2015
A clever layout combined with sophisticated textures and soothing neutral tones creates a relaxing seating area in this contemporary west London apartment
Can you describe the space?
This room is located on the first floor of a mid-19th century stuccoed building in London’s Little Venice. Head designer Annika Vallgren and her team worked closely with the clients on two apartments, paring back the architecture to create large spaces that connect via floor-to-ceiling openings and sliding panels. Running almost the full width of the apartment, this room benefits from three large windows overlooking a tree-lined street.
What was the starting point for the scheme?
In order to enhance the sense of space, we played on proportions, installing oversized herringbone flooring in white oiled oak, LED lighting troughs around the perimeter of the ceiling and recessed curtains, which emphasise the height of the room. The clients have a Scandinavian connection and wanted a subtle sense of luxury – a simple design that was glamorous without being ostentatious. The textures and calming colours became central to this project.
Why did you opt for a suspended ceiling?
The ceiling architecture was designed early in the process. The recess that houses the curtains runs around the edge of the room and was constructed to conceal a metal frame that allows artwork to be hung in a wonderfully flexible way. Just as the fixings for the curtains are concealed, so too are those of the paintings, which appear to float at each end of the room.
How did you devise the furniture layout?
Because the room is so long, it needed to be broken up into various zones to create a multifunctional space. The more formal seating arrangement is made up of sofas in an L-shape, cleverly composed of armless sections that allow for a side table to become the corner piece. To the far right of the room, a pair of armchairs flank a petrified wood side table – a composition that started as a request for a special cigar corner.
What about the colours and textures ?
As the clients lead a hectic life, the scheme was developed around calming neutrals infused with a range of soft blue hues, all of which are offset against the darker taupe of the sofas and the bespoke Nero Marquina marble coffee tables. The rug, another bespoke piece, pulls all these colours together. The curtains have a subtle pattern and an ever-so-slight sheen, to add a sense of lustre to the space. Sheer linen curtains were chosen to provide another layer of texture and highlight the tall windows.
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