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