Wednesday, September 15, 2010
East London, Spitalfields is an area rich in historic architecture — in the 1700s it was popular with ship owners and captains of the British fleet, who commissioned elegant and well proportioned homes from their architects which they then filled with exotic souvenirs. But when interior designer David Carter first viewed his present home there, the original Georgian features had been lost, and it had become a laundry. "There were no floors and ceilings, and you could see the roof from the ground," says the designer. A radical restoration was needed to return it to its former glory. David consulted with The Spitalfields Trust — an organization for the recovery of historic buildings in the area funded by English Heritage — who carefully examined the house plans before authorizing work. David got the green light from the Trust, but though the architecture has been authentically restored, it's not a museum. Inside, there are references to different time periods — a kitchen floor has echoes of Roman church marble; the lounge is a reflection of the rooms designed in the '30s in Paris by André Arbus; a chaise longue recalls Madame Recamier. Everywhere there are details that add a surrealist note to the rooms — trompe-l'oeil objects in fantastic shapes, faux columns and vintage ads, masks and an exotic feathered hat — and that are perhaps not that different from the unusual souvenirs brought back by the sea captains hundreds of years ago. More here on Marie Claire Italia.
(photos by Andreas von Einsiedel)