Me And My Home: Perfect symmetry

Anthea Masey talks to interior designer Amanda Rosa

Wednesday 10 December 2003 01:00

Amanda Rosa won the 2001 Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the Year award and is best known for her hotel work. When in Glasgow she lives with her husband Ken McCulloch in an Art Deco block in the city's West End

Ken has owned this flat for 20 years and although he did it up when he bought it, we recently decided to give it a complete facelift. We did think about selling it and buying somewhere else, but we didn't find anything we liked as much. It is on the top floor and the sense of space and light is hard to beat. I describe my style as classic and contemporary but comfortable, and I frequently use Art Deco touches, and there are still plenty of original Art Deco features in the flat.

"I love the huge curved deco cornice in the sitting room which we have restored. We also have two wonderful Deco beige stone fireplaces which have two highly stylised scrolls at each end. During the war, the flat was owned by Lord Bilsland, who was in charge of the war effort in Glasgow. He needed an office and requisitioned the sitting room in the adjacent flat which was incorporated in to this flat, and was never returned.

"Frills, flounces and chintz are not my style. That kind of English country house look I leave to other designers who do it much better than me. If you wanted that style, you wouldn't come to me. I like rooms to be restful and cosy. I am not interested in making grand statements. Our lives these days are so hectic and busy that our homes need to be peaceful sanctuaries where everything works well.

"I have gone for a very unified look which I enliven with lots of different textures such as silk, linen, leather and suede. I have used the same shade of taupe throughout the flat. I would normally paint the ceilings a paler shade, but here I have used the same colour on the ceilings because in the sitting room, which has this large cornice, there is no obvious place to change the colour.

"The carpet is a deeper shade of the same colour. I would describe it as cappuccino rather than taupe, with a thin white stripe. I did think of having the floors stripped but in the end I wanted the softer, more relaxed feel of carpet. I had the carpet specially made. The stripes are spaced to suggest floor boards rather than the pinstripe on men's suiting.

"I have used wide dark wood venetian blinds at all the windows and most of the furniture is dark wood. When Ken first renovated the flat he knocked down lots of walls, creating a large sitting room with a dining room at one end out of three smaller rooms, and we have kept the arrangement. All we have done is replace the double doors with purpose-made doors in dark wood with etched glass panels. We have used the same design for the fitted cupboards in two of the bedrooms.

"We did have a lovely Josef Hoffman sofa in the sitting room, but we have moved this to Ken's den, which is off the main bedroom. We now have three cream Michael Reeves sofas which are incredibly comfortable. This is where we relax in the evening with a nice bottle of red wine. Ken loves watching sport and insists on a plasma screen TV in the sitting room, but I wanted a way of hiding it away when we weren't watching it. I designed two identical cabinets in dark Macassar ebony which have circular silver gilt disc clasps, a modern take on the metal discs found on chinese marriage chests.

"Chinoiserie was all the rage in the 1930s when this block was built, so this echo of a bygone fashion seems to be appropriate. When I can work the remote control, the plasma screen slides in to the back of the cabinet and we keep the stereo in the other one.

"I am not one for great design statements, but I do enjoy composition and symmetry. In the sitting room, the three sofas are flanked by two oversize standard lamps in dark wood with giant cream shades, and in the hall I have an antique Japanese cabinet, again in dark wood. I have placed a mirror behind it, two large table lamps at either end, and to complete the picture a shallow dish with a splash of orange gerberas floating in it.

"We don't have a lot of pictures on the walls in the main living rooms, but I do like to have pictures in the hall. One of Ken's first innovations was a lovely curvy wall in the hall, and I have added a collection of Lartigue photos from the 1920s and 1930s in identical dark wood frames. They were all taken in the south of France and have all that jazz age Cote d'Azur glamour.

"I use a muted pallet of colours which obviously work well here in Scotland, where the skies are often grey, but I tend to use the same colours when I am working in southern Europe, too. There is this view that Mediterranean interiors need to be bright and vibrant, but I don't think it is wise to compete with all that outside brightness."

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