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Chatting across the garden

A tired London Georgian Villa and corresponding Mews House are reinvented celebrate the past and also modern living – the two interiors, divided by garden, share similar yet subtly differing sensibilities

Interiors by Alison Henry, Alison Henry Design, (AHD)

From the designer:

Alison Henry (Alison Henry Design, AHD) has reimagined a rather tired and outdated London Georgian Villa and corresponding Mews House to create a warm and welcoming family home.

Henry was first drawn to the Belgravia property by the lush gardens, including a private front garden that welcomes you through a wall of yew hedging.

Enter further into the property you discover a grand private courtyard garden that connects the Main House to the Mews House.

For the next five years the AHD team worked with the architects to develop extraordinary designs that would also bring both properties up to date in terms of AV and IT services, electrics and plumbing, as the main house hadn’t been touched for over 30 years.


Increasing the overall footprint was also a prerequisite to create spacious rooms filled with natural light.

Typically, neither planning nor the works were straightforward. 

There were hoops to be jumped through to proceed with the basement excavation while a Tree Preservation Order on a large London plane tree in the connecting courtyard complicated the works.

However the team overcame all these issues on the way to delivering the spectacular project.

The interiors embrace the beauty of the garden that initially drew Alison Henry to the property.

The first-floor drawing room features large, romantic French doors which open onto a balcony overlooking the front courtyard garden while the ground floor entrance hall has French doors opening into the dining room and then into the family room/kitchen.

There lies a wonderful surprise – a double height floor to ceiling glass wall and roof, which feels like a palatial orangery, with climbers and antique camellia urns.

The kitchen within this show-stopping light box, a collaboration between Alison Henry Design and Officine Gullo, makes home cooking and entertaining a glamorous affair.

In terms of materials and finishes, matte white cabinetry, nickel detailing, antique wooden Versailles floors, and Calacatta Caldia marble tie it all together.

The first-floor drawing room features large, romantic French doors which open onto a balcony overlooking the front courtyard garden while the ground floor entrance hall has French doors opening into the dining room and then into the family room/kitchen.

There lies a wonderful surprise – a double height floor to ceiling glass wall and roof, which feels like a palatial orangery, with climbers and antique camellia urns.

The kitchen within this show-stopping light box, a collaboration between Alison Henry Design and Officine Gullo, makes home cooking and entertaining a glamorous affair.

In terms of materials and finishes, matte white cabinetry, nickel detailing, antique wooden Versailles floors, and Calacatta Caldia marble tie it all together.

The gardens, large entertaining rooms, sumptuously appointed bedrooms, gym/ballet studio, and cinema/family room all reflect Alison Henry’s classic sense of laid-back glamour.

Playing with an almost monochromatic white scheme, Henry brought in characterful layers of texture with white oiled oak floorboards, white chalk finished walls, pale grey silk rugs, handpicked antiques, bespoke crystal Murano chandeliers and French style carved marble fireplaces.

The garden itself has the feel of a living room within a home, appointed with classical metal furniture topped with soft buttoned cushions, a low lounge seating area around a carved gas fireplace, sun loungers, a breakfast area and bespoke Officine Gullo barbecue set up in keeping with the kitchen’s design.

When this project began, it was clear to the designer that the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ gardens – ancient Wisteria included – needed to be saved. 

From there, the AHD team stripped the buildings down to their bare bones, rebuilt and reappointed them in handsome, historically relevant detailing. 

In this way she has remained true to the original building’s history, while bringing it into the 21st century and making it a family home. 

It is both a place for relaxing en famille and for gathering friends and family for serious entertaining. 

It is modern and dynamic while remaining true to its proud historic roots as a classic Belgravia home.

For Alison Hentry, one of the many pleasures of refurbishing the Belgravia house was working in both a classical and contemporary design language. 

While she references the house’s Georgian architecture in much of the interior design, the Mews House, which is reached through the courtyard garden, has a decidedly contemporary, though no less refined appeal.

Across the garden, the spaces communicate beautifully as many of the designer’s trademarks are evident in both spaces – whitewashed walls, large hand cut mirrors, picture windows and beautifully detailed ironmongery, to name a few. 

In the Mews House, which is also home to the family gym/ballet studio, these elements have a simpler, sleeker, more industrial feel. 

While the loft style structure with its exposed timber beams and open plan may feel miles away from the ever so Georgian main house, the key attributes of the Alison Henry Design style are still very much in place.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Mews House kitchen. 

Alison Henry once again turned to her partners at Officine Gullo for the range and furniture, opting for the new Contemporanea Collection which demonstrates a stainless-steel detailing with a pared-back, contemporary feel. 

Just as in the main house, she has opened the space with skylights and picture windows, letting light stream in and in turn reflect off the bright white kitchen and its expansive brushed steel splashback.

The beautifully restored staircase in the Mews House is a rescue from the original main house – yet another connecting feature. 

Meanwhile, the wooden dining table and rush seating, not to mention the white oiled oak plank flooring, are features that subtly bring warmth and a sense of relaxed rusticity. 

One of Alison’s many trademarks, this pattern can be seen throughout both houses – combining light and airiness with warm touches.

Credit list

Interior designer
Awards
Trends International Design Awards (TIDA) International Interior of the Year – Winner

Designed by: Alison Henry Design, (AHD)

Story by: Trendsideas

14 Aug, 2022

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