Go with the flow

Kate Lord's Pimlico flat has been transformed by her strict adherence to the principles of feng shui. Mary Wilson goes behind the red door
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The Independent Online

You definitely get a sense of calm once you pass through the red front door of Kate Lord's second-floor flat overlooking Warwick Square, SW1. Whether this is simply because it is a light-filled, minimally designed home, or whether it's because feng shui consultant Kate has given the flat the full-on FS treatment, I cannot say.

You definitely get a sense of calm once you pass through the red front door of Kate Lord's second-floor flat overlooking Warwick Square, SW1. Whether this is simply because it is a light-filled, minimally designed home, or whether it's because feng shui consultant Kate has given the flat the full-on FS treatment, I cannot say.

Kate, who was a model in the 1980s, bought the flat with her fiancé Nick Davey, a construction project manager, a year ago. They were keen to live as centrally as possible, but could not afford already refurbished properties. "It hadn't been touched for years," she says.

The couple have transformed the flat, removing walls, altering doorways, replacing windows and have successfully created a very smart home with light streaming in from the windows on both sides. And the new layout has all been done in strict accordance with the rules of feng shui, which allows the energy to flow through the living space unhampered.

Large opaque glass sliding doors separate the living area and the bedroom, and the kitchen is divided from the bathroom by a three-quarter-high wall painted white, over which are panels of glass. All of the divisions allow light through the whole apartment.

"There was a wall where the sliding doors were and one of the windows to the balcony overlooking the gardens was blocked up," says Kate. So was this opened to improve the feng shui? "Actually, we just wanted to keep the whole place as light as possible, and the glass doors also act like a sort of mirror, reflecting light back into the living space."

Kate became interested in the eastern arts - first shiatsu massage treatment, for which she is also a trained practitioner, and then feng shui - while working as a model in Japan. "The two disciplines go very well together as the environment you are in is just as healing as any type of therapy," she says.

As well as working on her own home, she has had clients with homes ranging from a bedsit in Acton, west London to a large period house in St John's Wood, NW8. "I've also been involved with the M & S and Regus headquarters, a Vidal Sassoon salon in Paternoster Square, and restaurants," she says. Now the couple, who are marrying this month, are moving to a new home overlooking the sea in Hove, West Sussex, which they plan to renovate once the London flat is sold.

The thing she loves most about the flat are the exquisite ceilings with their decorative plasterwork and the deep Edwardian friezes running around the top of the kitchen and bathroom walls. "The walls we took down had cut into the beautiful plasterwork, so we employed a specialist to restore them. Now you can't see the join," she says.

And because the ceilings are such a feature, there are uplighters over all the high-gloss white, wall-hung cupboards so the detail can be seen. The frieze is visible through the glass bathroom wall, which also allows light to shine through into the kitchen. The couple copied the original French window design for two new sets, one of which now leads from the kitchen onto a large decked roof terrace that had never previously been used.

The feng shui rules explain the red front door. "The colour depends on which direction the room is facing and where the door is. If the flat faced another way, I would have painted the door a different colour," says Kate. The pale blue bathroom - basically a huge wet room with a shower at one end and Philippe Starck basin and loo - was also an FS-inspired colour choice. "Blue aids total cleansing," says Kate. The circular mirror on the door compensate for the room's position off the kitchen.

Kate also placed the bed on the back wall of the bedroom, "in the space with most positive energy", looking straight through the French windows to the garden square. And just as the white walls, ceilings and cupboards through the flat are calming, so the rich colour of the dark walnut floor, which runs throughout the flat, is energising. Clear quartz crystals are strategically placed on ceilings where there is an opening or beam above, which according to feng shui, prevents the negative energy from weighing down anyone walking beneath.

More prosaically, the couple have also built in a tremendous amount of storage space, all hidden away behind the handle-free white cupboard doors. "Because there are no open bookshelves and no clutter around, you can relax," says Kate. The fridge, freezer, dishwasher and washer/drier are also neatly stacked behind large white double doors. "Before we re-designed the flat, when I came in I felt choked, I couldn't breathe. Now every time I come in, I feel immediately happy."

The one-bedroom Warwick Square flat is for sale for £550,000, or to let for £450 per week, via Featherstone Leigh (020-7228 2378). Feng shui or home redesign consultations can be booked with Kate on 07786 516156

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