Jeremy Langmead: 'I've avoided the minimalist approach to interior design'

As a former editor of the interiors magazine 'Wallpaper', people expect Jeremy Langmead to decorate his home in minimalist style. That's why he's done quite the opposite

Primrose Hill is like its own little village. The square I live on is very green and full of pretty coloured houses. I moved to this part of north London three years ago with my ex-wife [the journalist India Knight] and kids, who now live three doors down. The kids can plod back and forth whenever they like usually to whichever house has the most biscuits. It's all very friendly and convenient.

When I was planning the interior for this place, I bought loads of those wonderful old David Hicks books from the 1970s as a reaction against the minimalism of the past few years. He was my main inspiration. Because I used to edit Wallpaper magazine, I think everyone expected me to have a white apartment with beige furniture which is one of the reasons I went in the opposite direction. Basement flats can be dark, so rather than pretend that it isn't, I went for darkish wooden flooring and dark-brown leather Minotti seating islands, to make it quite warm and cosy. The 1970s-style wallpaper from Cole & Son along one wall gives the flat some pattern, without overwhelming it.

I hate really sterile environments; I like objects and environments that reflect where you've been, that tell a story. I love books; they are beautiful objects and reading them is such an extraordinary way to pass your time. I keep everything I've ever read, because they represent the time you've spent, the places you've been and the person you are. I'm running out of space, but I can't bring myself to throw them away.

My other weakness is buying paintings. I have so many now that I've run out of wall space, which is probably a blessing because it stops me spending any more money. I love the raw quality of fashion illustrations, and have a lovely Dior sketch of an outfit designed for Elizabeth Taylor, with the original swatch of fabric attached to it. There are also some modern sketches by Julie Verhoeven, alongside a David Hockney lithograph dedicated "to Cecil Beaton", from A Rake's Progress. I like the mixture of old and new the contrast between the Augustus John self-portrait that my grandfather gave me next to a Tracey Emin doodle and a classical sketch of a male nude and the same applies to furniture: my dining table, which is a contemporary design from the Aram Shop, sits alongside original black Panton chairs from the 1960s.

The grapevine candelabra is from a church, but it is perched on top of a solid and contemporary object. I like the juxtaposition of something simple with something more ornate; it surprises you.

The lovely thing about this room is having early-evening drinks parties in the summers. The double-doors open at the back of the room and you can step right out into the garden, so it becomes one big space. This summer we had a cocktail guy set up a bar in the kitchen, which was great fun. I'm only just learning to cook, so I don't have too many dinner parties the saucepans are just for show. But now I'm at Esquire there is generally far less pressure on my flat to look perfect. I can have it how I want it to be, rather than how people expect it to be.

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

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk