x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Gray and gold touches give Art Deco interior grown-up glamour

Soft colours and 1920s detailing give this feminine South London home a classic look that appeals to both its husband and wife occupants.

Paintings take pride of place in many of the rooms.
Paintings take pride of place in many of the rooms. "I splashed out on art and some bespoke items but saved in other areas," Anouska says.Bill Kingston / Gap Interiors

As an interior designer, Anouska Anquetil is adept at creating beautiful homes for other people within a set time frame and budget, but it was a different story with her own home.

"I found it much more challenging," she says. "On a project I have an understanding of who the client is and what they like. This was different, much more organic, less thought out."

The look of the home, which she shares with her husband, Christian, is inspired by the Art Deco glamour of the 1920s. And while it is unmistakably feminine, it is not overwhelmingly so, retaining a timeless, classic appeal that incorporates both Anouska's and Christian's tastes. "My style is quite feminine and my husband is very tolerant of that," admits Anouska. "He likes that I've spent time on the house and have made it beautiful."

The house itself was a fortuitous find. Anouska and Christian previously lived in a flat around the corner, in a fashionable part of South London. They knew the street well and often used to admire the houses.

"We'd see them flooded with light and think how wonderful it would be to live here," says Anouska. So the couple put their flat on the market and posted notes through each letterbox expressing their interest. "The next day one of the owners called," says Anouska. "It was a couple of years ago when prices were high but we learnt they'd been trying to sell for a year, so we managed to bypass the agents and negotiate."

The previous owners had already converted the basement and loft, and installed a new kitchen, so there was little structural work to do in the four-storey property. But Anouska couldn't wait to replace the dated orange and brown decor and make it her own.

"I had an idea of how I wanted it to feel, and creating that is always about colour," she says. "It's important for me to have somewhere that feels like a sanctuary and I wanted to achieve that with muted, slightly bruised shades."

Anouska is fascinated by the glamour of the 1920s. Before she set up her company, Gilt & Gloss, she had worked at David Collins Studio on the beautiful Artesian Bar at The Langham hotel. "I love the symmetry and the gilt, gold and lacquer of the Deco era," she explains. Having previously worked as a buyer in the fashion industry, she also understands how details from the past can be incorporated into the present.

With this in mind, work began on the ground floor. Anouska had the walls and floors painted in a soft palette with undertones of grey. She wanted the large sitting room to feel fresh and bright, so she added furniture, fabrics and accessories in chalky, faded summer hues. Once it was finished, the rest of the scheme followed. "Decorating is a process and sometimes it's valuable to allow that process to unfold naturally," she explains. "I created mood boards for the dressing room and study, but otherwise it was pretty organic."

Throughout her home Anouska has cleverly mixed furniture from different eras, sourced from antique shops and Parisian flea markets, with modern accessories and custom-made pieces. "We were on a budget but I always spend sensibly. I splashed out on art and some bespoke items but saved in other areas, such as with builders or when getting blinds made."

In the large sitting room, the soft, muted palette provides a relaxed feel. Splashes of gold on the art and accessories add both warmth and glamour. The dark painted floor, in Tanners Brown by Farrow & Ball, pulls the look together. "I wanted something that disappeared," she says. "I liked the idea of black but it was too harsh, and many browns have too much yellow. This was just right," she explains.

Injections of colour, from the deep fuchsia pink throw and the shimmering texture of the Designers Guild cushion, lift the room. Anouska found the painting over the fireplace in Ibiza, while the sofa and pale grey rug are also from Designers Guild. Anouska found the glass coffee table in Italy and had it shipped over.

The blousy wallpaper in the bedroom was a spur of the moment decision, Anouska admits. "I'm not a floral person," she says. "But because it's oversized, it feels modern and I liked the pale tones. It feels calm."

Since her husband is tall, Anouska designed the bed herself. The headboard is covered in a soft velvet cord, and scatter cushions add layers of texture for a luxurious feel. The elegant glass and mirrored accessories bring a touch of Deco style to the room.

Anouska wanted a Parisian feel with oriental touches in the dressing room. "The French are so good at oriental design - glamorous but not too feminine," she says. The pretty satin cushions are a foil to the dark and moody feel of the raffia wallpaper. The painting, Tretchikoff's Chinese Girl, which Anouska bought some years ago, adds an element of drama.

The basement kitchen had already been converted when Anouska and Christian moved in. The light colours on the walls of the dining room and the white Ikea dining table and chairs allow any natural light to bounce around. The white walls help keep the room light and airy.

The end result is a sophisticated and peaceful home. "It feels grown-up being here," says Anouska. "We wanted to have our own house with more space, but it feels harmonious and relaxing too. I feel proud when my friends come round."