In 1993 I had been looking for an interesting space I could live and work in, and when I came across this two-storey totally derelict former artisan's workshop in Streatham, I knew it was perfect. It had no staircase, drains or electricity - everything needed doing - but I could see the end result would be a wonderful space and I could do exactly what I wanted with it.
"Streatham Hill is a weird Victorian area, but I like the architecture; there are lots of Mary Poppins-type redbrick buildings with chimneys and it has an evocative industrial atmosphere. I had lived for years around the south London area, ever since I studied at Wimbledon School of Art. Although the flat is off Streatham High Road, the street we're on is quiet and secluded.
"The building itself is of historical interest because it was build by the Artisans, Labourers and General Dwelling's company in 1859, and occasionally there are history tours which stop outside the building, which is quite fun. At first there were just three large rooms and no staircase - just a ladder. The council had used it as a plumbing depot, so it was full of old pipes and the whole thing needed stripping back to the brick. All the floorboards had to be replaced, as well as a whole new drainage system. I also put in a spiral staircase to reflect the industrial age of the building. I liked the idea of retaining the character of the building at the same time as developing a modern look, which works well with my style of interior.
"It only took me about three months to do all the work - partly because I am used to building sets and having short deadlines, and partly because I oversaw all the work myself. At the end I was left with a clean white shell which, over the years, has been painted every single experimental paint combination, including clashing acid oranges and pink. I finally got back to a clean, white space; I think it's naturally where you end up.
"Although the interior has been through many transitions over the years, at the moment it reflects my love of curvilinear design. I've got a thing about round, sculptural shapes and spheres, and I try to get away from clumpy angular furniture. My interest in music started with the Sixties and I loved the years 1965-66 when Pop Art went hand in hand with poster design. It was a real coming together of high and low art. I also love all the Sixties furniture, especially all the Italian stuff and the the fantastic plastic era, which accompanied the revolution in style and media. My Barbarella poster came from a film fair in London, and though it's worth about £600-800, I picked it up for only £80, which was lucky.
"I collect and restore vintage chairs, but they don't always get sat in - they're just treasured bits from the past that I want to look after. Another of my interests is cult Sixties TV and I've got two The Eero Aarnio bubble chairs, one see-through, which hangs from the ceiling, and one floorstanding black one, which Number 2 used to sit in in The Prisoner.
"I've also got an Elda chair by Joe Columbo that was used in Dr No - back to my interest in styling props again. The flat is a natural extension of my work and my interests. The purple chair is a Cleopatra chaise longue which came from Tom Tom in New Compton Street, and there's also a wonderfully comfortable Tongue Chair from 1966 by Pierre Paulin that's hard to get out of because it's so relaxing and close to the ground. I love my plastic wall organiser, based on the Dorothee Becker 1969 original; it bridges the gap between minimalism and functionalism and I use it for storing all my bits for writing and working.
"I'm an obsessive Virgoan and extremely tidy, so all the seating around the back of the wall hides my clutter. I do all my work from a retro desk which I bought from Graham and Greene, so I need to live in a fairly oranised space. I have a workshop in Clapham where I store all my props. The rug is from Habitat.
"We have lots of parties in this top room; but the focus of the house is the kitchen, with its bright blue- and scarlet-tiled floor. We do lots of entertaining there, and everyone says it has a bright, optimistic feel. We don't have a garden, but there is a communal yard which we share with the two other units here; in the summer we have lots of barbecues, which is a nice way of socialising. The bathroom isn't that big, but it is completely filled with a huge bath. It's Stirling Moss's old Jacuzzi, which I found in a house in Sydenham through an advert in Loot. I like moving furniture around like sculpture so that you create new spaces all the time. I like the idea of a Tardis: you have one façade and then you go in and have an unexpected interior, but I don't believe in changing original features. I think you should respect the past without letting it dictate totally.
"I'm happiest rummaging around car- boot sales and markets. You build up a network of people you trust, who you know will tip you off about where the best items are. I believe that you find things under the strangest circumstances: allow yourelf to be open and things will come to you. It's expensive to expect to be able to buy things on demand; I believe in finding things and things finding you. There are several shops I particularly like: Boom, in Chalk Farm, which is good for Fifties and Sixties lighting and Italian glass lamps, and also CO2, also in Chalk Farm, which sells larger pieces of furniture."
Paul Drummond is working on an authorised history of the 13th Floor Elevators. His converted Victorian workshop is for sale, price £320,000, through Foxtons (020-8772 8000)Reuse content