Kensal Rise 1 | London W10

Bright Scandi Interior with Mid Century Modern Millennial Appeal

Purple Design were engaged by a property developer that we had worked with previously to carry out an interior design and all the furnishings in two of their properties within a mixed use re-development in Kensal Rise, at the top of Ladbroke Grove, which is fast becoming the creative happening hub of the Notting Hill area.

The Reading Rooms is a conversion within a Victorian building of historical significance. The Kensal Rise Library building was opened by Huckleberry Finn author Mark Twain in 1898. It was Ernest Hemingway who said all modern literature comes from Huckleberry Finn, so the library has the added literary significance of that endorsement. The scheme was granted planning permission with a stipulation on retaining the public library on the ground floor and refurbishment of the library for the benefit of the community as part of the scheme.

The exterior of the building is red brick, with a mountainous range of pitched rooftops at various heights over each section of the building, stone mantels above the window panes, and glazed arches above the heavy double front doors, framed by stone pillars as a building of some importance.

The conversion is a vibrant mixed-use development that features various warehouse loft style apartments in the original building conversion, and a small house built as an extension, all with exposed timber rafters in the loft apartments, exposed brickwork walls inside, and newly-laid wide plank oak floors throughout. The interiors benefit from these exposed architectural features as the backdrop for the modern, dressed-down style of a warehouse apartment.

Most of the projects Purple Design work on involve an extensive renovation with building works, specialist finishes, joinery, kitchen and bathrooms that take time to achieve, furnishing with bespoke furniture that has taken months to have made and upholstered.

The brief for this project was to design and deliver the interior scheme and furnishings for the for a loft apartment, choosing all the furniture and furnishings down to dressing the beds and choosing the artwork and objects. This project had a very quick turnaround – there was no time to have furniture made bespoke – so we had to be resourceful in finding the best quality furniture that could be covered to fit in with our design scheme. Bringing selected iconic vintage pieces into the mix gave this brief the assured finish it needed to stay ahead of the curve and met our tight timings as it meant the furniture was already made.

We were commissioned to furnish the apartment in a scheme designed to have an instant appeal. The developers were offered a choice between two interior design schemes presented by Purple Design. One was a more restrained design scheme, and the second was a more daring, exuberant, bright colourful mix of furnishings; this was the one they opted for, so it was great fun to work on.

The building had been converted and the apartments had been built. The loft apartment has an open plan kitchen living room for an informal one-space lifestyle, with oak plank flooring running throughout and grey urban brick tiles, white gloss cabinets and Corian work surfaces in the kitchen.

The exposed beams in loft style kitchen in the apartment made it the ideal setting for the red enamelled pendant lights over the kitchen counter, suspended from the rafters. These iconic lights are the Flowerpot pendant by Verner Panton – a design from the 1960s when ripples of flower power, astronauts landing on the moon, and a vision of future lifestyles were felt in the fresh and futuristic designs that still have appeal.

Red swivel bar stools along the counter are based on the legwork of the Eiffel chair, an iconic design by Eileen Gray and the black rattan-strung chairs around the kitchen table are a take on Eileen Gray’s the Eames’ inspired designs for lean-back dining chairs, angled legs, renowned for their spontaneous attitude. The informal kitchen table is made from walnut, with the matchstick legs splayed at the familiar mid-century 1950s angle. Scandinavian angle poise bedside lamps on a 1950s design high-light the retro look.

A huge deep cushioned squashy sofa in the living room – a comfortable and well-built piece of furniture of a level of quality we sourced without months needed to have it made bespoke. It was covered in midnight blue velvet and piled high with bright coral cushions hand woven and printed with graphic prints in the Scandi vibe.
The sofa is gathered in the lofty space with a pair of Ace side chairs, also covered in midnight blue velvet, with a streamlined silhouette, curved back, comfortably padded seat and angled legs, all sitting on a vivid graphic print rug. Lacquered side tables dotted around the room in assorted colours like acid yellow and avocado green, were a vintage find.

Staffan Holm’s utilitarian scissor lift shelf unit is inspired by cranes on construction sites. Made from solid ash, it’s designed for practicality and functionality, and admired for its seamless ergonomic simplicity.

Lacquered ladder shelving units propped against the walls everywhere are used as a quirky way to display comic books, colourful coral lumpy pots and vases with instantly recognisable retro patterns.

The curved back rest of the velvet chairs in the living room is echoed in the bedrooms where the gently curved headboards give an unexpected turn to the simple line of the beds. One of the double beds is covered in a grey flax linen, the other in deep burgundy velvet a grown-up touch that could pass in a far more formal scheme, scattered with dazzling zig zag cushions that ramps up the youthfulness.

Screen prints of vivid coral orange match the casual knitted waffle throws covering the beds; sunshine yellow circles, clean bright shapes and punchy typography by Nick Cranston, and angular black and white architectural abstract prints, were all framed in thin-outline black frames of ascending size, hung in a modular geometry of rectangles, draws the whole look together as a home that was ready to step into.

The building was already full of character. We added the colour and energy. The apartment was delivered fully furnished, bursting with colour in the soft furnishings and punchy artworks. The interior design scheme has the fast-paced freshness of Scandi style that is so popular with the youthful millennial image of success, combined with original vintage pieces for added kudos and value.

The property went on the market as soon as the furnishings were complete and generated a lot of interest. It was a successful development with a stampede of interest and sold with all the furnishings within weeks of completion.

It’s been great working with Orla on our development project in Kensal Rise, following the success of our collaboration in South Kensington. She produced schemes combining colour, style, quality and impact on time and on budget. Couldn’t ask for anything more and always fun to work with.

Mark Leighs
CEO – Uplift Property