Living in Chelsea has always been my dream. I grew up in Yorkshire, and when we'd have family days out in London, we'd head straight to the King's Road. It was such a cool place to be. I was living in Notting Hill when this five-storey Georgian house came on the market five or six years ago. It's on a square so discreet that no taxi driver has ever heard of it. We're just yards from the hustle and bustle of the King's Road, so in the morning I can step out of my front door and within minutes I'm at my favourite bakery.
An elderly couple had the place before us. It was rather shabby and run-down, with built-in cupboards and a kitchen in the basement. I immediately fell in love with the roof terrace, which means sunshine all day long – weather permitting – and the glass-fronted lift, which runs from the basement to the roof terrace. When you travel a lot, it's very nice not having to heave suitcases down several flights.
The house was built in 1846 and the gorgeous Georgian features really excited me, from an interior-design perspective. I was an architect before I got into hairdressing, and have always loved the proportions of this period, which lends itself well to minimalism. The French doors, beautiful windows and shutters should be shown off. We used lots of stone and whites: calming, neutral colours. When you've had a hectic day, you can retreat into an almost zen-like tranquillity. Simplistic styling allows me to be creative.
I didn't want to bring in an interior designer, as I'm good at looking at a space and knowing how it could look. Walking the house, room by room, I mentally designed the place and then brought in a team who could implement my ideas. The house is tall and narrow, so if you put things at eye level it brings the walls in. Instead, we opened the shelves back to create a sense of space. I collect mirrors and in a narrow house these can be used as a visual illusion, to add width. The mirror in the dining room runs right to the floor, giving the illusion of an opening leading to another space.
This house is perfect for relaxed entertaining. Having a living space on two levels makes for two different experiences when you have guests. First, we'll have drinks in the drawing on the first floor, and then dinner on the ground floor, using lighting to set the scene differently. Having an open kitchen/dining area provides a casual quality, breaking down the barrier between the chef (me) and my guests. Without that, it might all seem too formal. That's why I like the bench seating in the dining room: it's got a communal feel to it.
I've always liked having an indoor/outdoor space, so the garden is important. We don't spend much time out there, but I wanted it to look good, as a view; almost like a sculpture, blending into the house. There are three big cylinders, which make a great screen for privacy. On the roof terrace, the white floorboards are in keeping with the rest of the house, and it feels like an extension of the top floor.
People tend to think that big furniture swallows smaller rooms, but it can actually make a room feel bigger. I love scale – as long as you are sparing with furniture, it adds a sense of space and drama. We've placed big pots and a large wooden table in the living room for this reason.
Rather than adding to the house, I like to change things. If your surroundings are the same for too long, it gets boring. When you're a creative person, you look for change. Flowers are a great way of shaking things up and adding a splash of colour. Every week I get fresh orchids from the local florist, James; they look so fresh, and paper-like in their fragility. Sometimes I'll opt for bright red, or green, or orange. It is also important that I have memories around me: there are obelisks from a trip to Paris, silver lights from India; nods to several countries and times.
I love listening to the rumble of the King's Road just past my door. It has an energy to it, which is what makes London so exciting. This area is full of creative people, and there are several model agencies nearby so you constantly see beautiful people with fabulous clothes and hair, which is very inspirational. It's pretty perfect here, with Partridges deli down the road and shops for every purpose on my doorstep.
Some days I think I'll go elsewhere, but then I walk outside, browse a little, have a coffee, and find the day just goes. Chelsea has a great sense of community, a cosiness to it – without ever being boring. There isn't a day when I take this house for granted. Every morning I wake up and think how lucky I am.
Charles Worthington MBE, 49, is an award-winning hairdresser whose clients include Jerry Hall and Erin O'Connor. He lives in Chelsea with his partner, Allan Peters, and their dog, Baxter. He has four salons and his hair-care products are available nationwide ( www.charlesworthington.co.uk).Reuse content