Gothic, but glam: Liberty's design director's home is divinely decadent
Sunday 27 January 2008
When we moved here 12 years ago this house was a crumbling Victorian terrace with no plumbing, electricity or even a bathroom. It was a real project, but I loved the view overlooking an old lorry depot and Islington Council dump because it was so urban and decaying.
I'd describe the living-room as decadent minimalist. I love anything slightly gothic. Not unpleasant, like Marilyn Manson, but combining the opulence and colour of the baroque era with the odd stuffed creature.
Against the acid-yellow walls, we've hung a couple of paintings by our favourite artist, Ray Caesar. His work is everything I love; at first it looks like a beautiful painting of two Victorian ladies, until you notice their hands twisted like a pair of black lobsters. It's macabre, but not in an obvious way.
I love taxidermy, too. We've got a buzzard, a kingfisher and pheasants, and some of them have these incredible, intricately painted background scenes. They contrast really beautifully with bright modern pieces such as our pink velvet chaise longue from Liberty. It used to be in one of the window displays, but I'm so happy I've got it now. It looks great with my pink gorilla light; you get the combination of real pieces with kitsch bits of plastic.
The curtains I made myself, by laying all this velvet out on the floor and hand-painting every stripe. This was in the days when I had a little more time on my hands. Strangely enough they do look Liberty, but I suppose my taste and look was very Liberty before I'd even thought about working for them.
The room has this wonderful other-worldly atmosphere. It's so relaxing that sometimes we sit here until we suddenly realise that it's three in the morning.
This house is all about a collaboration of my tastes and my partner's; he's quite modern and minimalist, which holds me back from being too decorative.
Liberty, Regent Street, London W1, tel: 020 7734 1234, www.liberty.co.uk
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