After a three-year long hunt for a home that ticked all her boxes, interior designer Louise Bradley finally found the property that made the cut.
“I grew up on the outskirts of London and have always loved the city. My London home had to be close to my design studio and showroom, which are in the heart of Knightsbridge - I love living in Chelsea, within a 10-minute walk to each, the V&A Museum for inspiration, and Hyde Park to reconnect to nature,” says Bradley.
The elegant Chelsea townhouse sits proudly at the end of two parallel terraced streets. This ensures wonderful views of all the neighbouring gardens. One of Bradley’s key requirements for the property was that it needed to lend itself to be reconfigured to her idea and image of the perfect space. “I had viewed many properties, but when I walked through the door I could see the potential, and knew I could make it my perfect London home,” says Bradley about the house, when she first saw it.
Once she had zeroed in on the location and finalised the house, it took her two years to design and complete the project, tailoring the space to suit her lifestyle and needs. The deal breaker, we are told, was that the house, in spite of being situated in a conservation area, was luckily not listed. This enabled Bradley to reconfigure the whole house with only the façade remaining from the original building.
“I am an outdoor person; I love beautiful gardens and landscapes. I wanted the interiors to enhance my well-being and create a positive environment - and for me, connection to nature is paramount for my well-being,” says Bradley.
When you are living in a global city like London, where space anyway is a premium, you would do well to not expect an attached garden with your home! Bradley has designed her home, making sure she includes elements of nature in every area, from the basement and the drawing room to her ’garden‘ room and even the views from the master bedroom.
In her own words, she adds, “I always knew what I would like my London home to look like. That’s all thanks to the fact that I have spent over 25 years designing homes (for some very discerning clients) around the world. Whether it is my home in London or clients’ residences in the UK, Europe, India, China or the United Arab Emirates, we all crave luxury, comfort and functionality - these, and time, are the ultimate luxuries in life.”
When designing the home, one of her primary concerns remained natural light. It was imperative that the house was filled with as much natural light as possible, all through the day. “It was important to me that I saw trees from every window - I am a strong believer that our well-being thrives on being surrounded by greenery and lovely light,” says Bradley.
In the design, she introduced a light well in the basement area, which evolved into an open-plan kitchen with casual dining and a relaxed living area. This brought natural light in and gave her much-loved Camellia tree the perfect spot. The tree can be viewed from wherever you decide to stand, making it a focal point in the design. At night it is lit up beautifully to make a lovely statement in the living area.
On the ground floor, there is an indoor-outdoor garden room, designed using bespoke, bronze floor-to-ceiling windows. Natural finishes and distressed furniture are the mainstay of this space. “I use this room for dining and entertaining, and again, the outside space is beautifully lit in the evenings,” she says. Bradley brought in Ilex Crenata trees on the balcony outside her bedroom with the sole aim to bring the outside in. The trees also act as a natural screen, maintaining her privacy.
The style is a mix of classic contemporary, resulting in interiors that are light, elegant and balanced, affecting the colour palette and material scheme as it sweeps through the spaces. It is interesting how, when observed from afar, the colours seem refined and muted, almost neutral; only when you venture closer, you notice the vibrant tonal differences and the most stunning, delicate textures.
A lot of the furniture that Bradley has used is from her own The Essence collection that was launched earlier this year. The choice of materials and specialist finishes, with the meticulously-executed details add a sense of hushed comfort to the living areas. She also believes in encouraging local arts, and one can see quite a few pieces sourced from artisans across Europe. “I also collect art, especially pieces by Gino Hollander, which are very close to my heart,” confesses the designer fondly.
On designing, Bradley says, “Our experiences truly open our eyes to the world. With a curious and open mind, you can infuse your designs with these new inspirations.” We can certainly see that in her own space.