Back to black: Tamara Beckwith's stark, high-gloss home

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Expensive shades of Farrow & Ball neutrals? Not for Tamara Beckwith. In her grand Chelsea house, she decided to turn up the contrast


Tamara Beckwith was one of the original 1990s 'It' girls. Born in 1970, the daughter of property tycoon Peter Beckwith, Tamara dropped out of Cheltenham Ladies College to have her daughter, Anouska. She has dated Sly Stallone and Charlie Sheen, and in August married the Italian construction heir Giorgio Veroni.

I was brought up in Wimbledon and after school I lived in LA for some time and then moved back to London. When my daughter Anouska finished boarding school, I presumed we would move back to Los Angeles, but then I met my future husband Giorgio in Monaco at the Grand Prix about four years ago.

After six months we had moved in together and before we decided to get married we were looking at places to buy. We bought this house in Chelsea in January 2004 and moved in in September that year. It was a five-bedroom, three-bathroom house, but we changed the layout and it now has three bedrooms.

Two of the smaller bedrooms we transformed into dressing rooms as both my husband and I have a lot of clothes, so we need one each. I adore fashion and especially shoes, and I have hundreds by Jimmy Choo, as Tamara [Mellon, who co-founded the company] is one of my best friends – we have the same shoe size.

This house was a joint project between my husband and I. We worked together on everything, from choosing the pictures on the walls to deciding on the size of the studs around the upholstery.

My last house in Los Angeles was all pinks and leopard prints. If I'd had my way here I would probably have gone full-on, with disco balls hanging from the ceiling. Well, we do have disco balls, but they're resting in the fireplace. So with his traditional Italian style, my husband has reined me in a bit.

It was Giorgio's idea to do the house all in black and white, which works very well for both of us. I love black-and-white photos, and have a great collection of prints, many by my friend, the photographer Terry O'Neill, and also by Bob Carlos Clarke. I think unless you can afford really expensive art it looks better to have photographs. Our Marilyn Monroes aren't Warhols but they're by an LA artist who's from the same school. I have a wall downstairs of photos of my idol, Joan Collins – as she embodies everything about glamour that I love.

Our bedroom, which is on the first floor, is all white and is very calming. The only picture is a photograph of Dita Von Teese which is next to the en suite bathroom. We have a plasma TV in our bedroom but no other television in the house.

We went to town on our en suite and for the epitome of luxury we put in marble flooring from Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany. It has under-floor heating too, and the sinks and bath are from Murano, Venice. We took off the door of the [en suite] bathroom to create more space. Some people might have a problem having no door on the bathroom, but we are both fine with it.

Upstairs is my daughter's bedroom, for when she is home. I tend to spend most of my time in the kitchen and living room on the ground floor. We had the kitchen specially made in Milan and at a third of the price of what it would have cost here. We had a great guy who made it, drove it over, and fitted it in just a weekend.

I don't understand why people employ an interior designer. Unless, of course, you have no inclination or you want it to be ready in a minute. Choosing the way to decorate your home is one of the easiest and most enjoyable things you can do.

The curtains in the living room are black-and-white striped, which you may think would be easy to find, but took forever. Finally, I found some fabric by Ralph Lauren that suited perfectly.

We have a range of Queen's head cushions from Fake London, and my husband adores studs, so there are studs around the bottom of the chairs by the coffee table.

We have two fireplaces in the living room and two black Louis XIV-style chairs that I bought in Portobello. They used to be a rather garish gold but then I had them spray-painted in black lacquer. We have a wonderful guy who is actually a car sprayer who can lacquer anything in car paint.

Now we have a carpet in black and white, but we have had it so many different ways. Before, it was black-painted floor boards, and then it was a soft black lacquered floor, which made it feel like you were on an S&M photo shoot.

I have an Andy Warhol-style series of pictures of Marilyn Monroe above the sofa which I bought in LA, and we have a wonderful bookcase from Ralph Lauren full of books on art, photography and travel.

I have a huge collection of magazines, I buy everything from Vogue to Oggi [the Italian celebrity magazine], I've got magazines going back to 1985. I adore books, too – give me a book over a computer any day.

I like living in Chelsea, it has a nice community feel, you see people you know around, and you can walk everywhere. We go out often to eat, sometimes to our friend Will Ricker's restaurant Eight Over Eight, which is nearby. There's also a lovely Indian restaurant called Vama nearby.

We were thinking of moving to Los Angeles, but you can't just be there for the sake of it. You have to be able to work in the movie business or the music industry. But we're happy here. Both my husband and I love living in London.

Tamara Beckwith stars in 'Celebrity Scissorhands' on BBC3 on 28 October

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Designer - Award Winning Agency

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...

Recruitment Genius: Project Manager

£35000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global provider of call ce...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service and Business Support Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: By developing intimate relationships with inte...

Recruitment Genius: Application Support Engineer - Software

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A small rapidly expanding IT So...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada