The first thought that springs to mind when stepping inside Caroline Legrand’s home is, ‘Wow, that’s different…’ That’s exactly the reaction she hopes for. “I find it disappointing when designers try to impose their style on a building. It shouldn’t be about the designer but about the property. Each project speaks to me in a different way,” she says.
Legrand’s current property spoke to her clearly. As soon as she saw it in a local property magazine, she knew it was for her. It was relatively cheap for Holland Park, and not hard to see why. The property hadn’t been updated since the late 1970s, was tired, to say the least, and had languished on the market for some time. Enter Legrand, who immediately saw its potential. Before the ink was dry on the contracts, she already had a vision of how it would eventually appear.
“I remember going to the Boffi showroom to pick out the kitchen,” she recalls. “I think the salesman was genuinely excited because I didn’t just want the standard off-the-shelf arrangement. I had a vision of stark white units teamed with marble floors and pink walls."
The kitchen is positively tame compared to many other parts of the house. To call the design bold would be an understatement. Dark wenge herringbone floors are teamed with dark walls and black lacquered windows. Overhead are dazzling Ovoid Rougier lights. The furnishings rock a distinctive 70s vibe with furniture sourced from vintage specialist Talisman London. A bronze rams-head dining table is teamed with Charles Hollis Jones Lucite framed dining chairs and sits on top of a Christopher Farr silk rug.
A gold velvet sectional sofa dating from the 1960s dominates the sitting room and frames a travertine and Lucite oval-shaped coffee table. “I looked at the room and saw squares, so my thought was to introduce curves,” says Legrand. “A house made up of squares is dull.” In fact, everywhere you look, a new piece of furniture or accessory comes to the fore. Whatever words one might use to describe this flat, ‘dull’ certainly isn’t one of them.
Then there’s the art. A passionate collector, Legrand has managed to amass a collection that would be the envy of many galleries. From Anish Kapoor to Ryan McGinley to Miro, the apartment presents a dazzling array of original photographs, installations, lithographs and etchings juxtaposed to present different eras and styles yet with a common thread. “I’m constantly changing the artwork,” says Legrand, pointing to a Robert Longo work on the wall. “I change them around and plan on putting that in my bedroom.” No doubt it will be replaced by something equally stunning.
When asked how much she will take with her to her next home, Legrand is non-committal. “It all depends on the property. My house in Ibiza is completely different from this one and demands a totally different approach. Similarly, I’m working on a project for a fashion designer that’s very much her own home with both of our vibes mixed together. The brief was to do two rooms but it’s grown to eight. It’s become a year-long project where I've incorporated my love of vintage and chic colours into her house. We're both really happy with it.”
View Oakwood Court, currently for sale through Domus Nova
View Caroline Legrand Design on the Domus Nova Design Guide
Caroline Legrand Design; 07768 047708 / carolinelegranddesign.com