An Art Deco Apartment With Victorian Influences Lists for £745K in London

Reimagined by the current resident, interior designer Neil McLachlan, the greenhouse-inspired, two-bedroom apartment showcases a harmonious mix of pattern, patina, and playfulness.
Text by

An eccentric two-bedroom apartment is available in London’s Bloomsbury neighborhood on the ground floor of Russell Court, a renowned Art Deco building designed by late architect George Val Myer in 1937. 

The two-bedroom apartment, currently listed for £745,000, is tucked away in London’s historic Russell Court building, which was designed by celebrated English architect George Val Myer in 1937. Today, the structure is considered to be one of the foremost examples of the Art Deco architectural movement in London during the interwar years.

Since 2018, the 650-square-foot apartment has been home to interior designer Neil McLachlan, who transformed the residence into its current state. "Instantly, I loved the volume of the place," notes the founder of the eponymous studio, which has offices in London and Auckland, New Zealand (the country where the designer was born and raised). "I’m always after high ceilings and a feeling of space when I start working on projects," he continues. "That said, interiors-wise, it was pretty grim. There was no choice but to gut it, really, so I got the builders in and took it back to bare concrete and started from scratch."

Three roof lanterns above the primary gathering areas help elevate the ceiling height and create a greater depth of space.

McLachlan’s vision was to create a contemporary "London Folly" reminiscent of a Victorian orangery, or greenhouse. "I thought it’d be such fun to do a take on a palm house, like one the Bloomsbury Group might have sat in while drinking and chatting," says the interior designer. When McLachlan came across a lush, patterned wallpaper called Orangerie by Mind The Gap, his inspiration for the transformation was complete.

A reclaimed Victorian fireplace mantel sits between two antique French doors that lead to the main bedroom. "I incorporate antiques a lot in my work because they add layers that can otherwise be hard to achieve," says McLachlan. "When the doors arrived, the builder said he needed to paint them. I said: ‘Don’t you dare touch them! They’re just right.’ They really are—beautifully beaten up, with the paint peeling off. That, to me, is perfect." 

Large, pitched skylights invite ample natural light inside the open-plan living area, where the distinctive palm-print wallpaper pairs with mirrored partitions to enhance the overall sense of space in the compact unit. A reclaimed Victorian mantel anchors the cozy lounge area, while patterned tiles inspired by 18th-century Portuguese designs extend to the kitchen and dining space.

In the open kitchen and dining area, a Carrara marble counter sits atop chalk-white cabinetry. 

Warm wooden touches throughout the home complement the lush, patterned Orangerie wallpaper by Mind the Gap that hugs the walls.

A pair of antique French doors connect the living room to the main bedroom, where one of the walls features a floor-to-ceiling, built-in wardrobe. At the western end of the apartment is a separate study nook and a full bathroom clad in Carrara marble. Another modest wing holds a guest bedroom with an en suite bathroom.

The ceiling in the main bedroom is painted with Hague Blue by Farrow and Ball to simulate the night sky. Two walls are covered in Japanese handmade paper from Phillip Jeffries, while the southern wall presents a custom-built wardrobe.

"I’ve always believed in working with the architecture of a space rather than against it," says McLachlan. "I did change one or two things, such as turning a sloping ceiling into a stepped one, but by and large, all I’ve done is accentuate the patina to give it a more aged, historic feel."

"The apartment is an oasis in the middle of this amazing, diverse, and challenging city," adds the designer. "You can go out and have a crazy day in London, walking until your feet ache, then you open the door and it all floats away."

"I’m always striving to create interiors that make you question whether they’re old or new," says McLachlan. "Here, I did that with the floor tiles. They look like ancient concrete encaustic ones but—I’ll let you in on a secret—they’re not. They are new ceramic ones taken from old Portuguese designs."

A quiet study area sits on the western end of the apartment near the second bathroom.

Project Credits:

Design: Neil McLachlan Design / @neilmclachlan

Russell Court, located at Woburn Place in London, England, is currently listed for £745,000 (approximately $1,018,992 USD) by Inigo.

Know of a home for sale or rent that should be featured on Dwell.com? Find out how to submit to Dwell.

Published

Save

Get the Real Estate Newsletter

From midcentury classics to the best contemporary spaces for sale, see the latest listings for modern homes on the market around the world.

Saving