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Isabel Restaurant Mayfair London + Bathrooms

The White and Gold Stuff

Recollections may vary but we’re pretty sure we didn’t make it to Bar Isabel in Buenos Aires (the Gatsbyesque Four Seasons not to mention Algodon Mansion, Atlantico, i Latina and Milión have a lot to answer for) so her sister in Mayfair is a non negotiable destination. Chilean nightlife afficionado Juan Santa Cruz took Palermo by storm six years ago and while Mayfair has plenty of competition, the heat turned up with Isabel’s arrival. We want to thrive not just survive; to do not just be.

It’s all about fusion. Lunch is a Latin Mediterranean mélange, from scallops and halibut to burrata salad and Delica pumpkin. The interior is Art Deco Chinoiserie eclecticism. We all know the best place to be at a straightforward shooting party in a country house is in the bathroom. Ditto, darling, Isabel. All six bathrooms are embellished head to toe or at least ceiling to skirting board in de Gournay hand painted gilt to the heels wallpaper. They have to be seen to be believed.

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Architects Architecture Art Design Developers People Town Houses

Annabel Karim Kassar + The Lebanese House Beirut

Saving a Home Saving a City

This is a photographic record of French Lebanese architect Annabel Karim Kassar’s installation recreating part of the façade of the late 19th century Bayt K House, a traditional Ottoman era building in the historic quarter of Gemmayzeh, Beirut. While undergoing restoration in 2020 by her architectural practice AKK, Bayt K was damaged by the Beirut Port explosion. Sarkis Khoury, Director General of Antiquities in Lebanon’s Ministry of Culture, confirmed that at least 8,000 historic buildings were damaged in the explosion including Bayt K House and the Palais Sursock. The latter, also dating from the 19th century, is located in Achrafieh and is one of the country’s grandest residences. Disrupted but undeterred, the architect has worked with Beiruti craftspeople using traditional Lebanese materials both to restore Bayt K and to recreate the house’s triple arched façade and entrance divan as a showpiece.

Nathalie Chahine and Fadlallah Dagher explain in their 2021 publication Houses of Beirut 1860 to 1925, “A very typical element of the houses, as in houses of Bilad al-Sham more generally, was the lwan or liwan. This is a room opening onto the courtyard through a wide arch.” Annabel states, “I believe the human-centred approach to designing interior spaces found in traditional cultures still has much to teach the modern world.” Her designs combine a modernist vocabulary with the language of traditional Arab, Berber and Ottoman culture and craftmanship.

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Updown Farmhouse Deal Kent +

Girl

Cheesy puffs; pumpkin ravioli with sage butter; potato, Lancashire and chanterelle pie; clementine polenta cake with whipped cream. And Updown Cooler: Dolin Blanc, Cocchi Americano, Muscadet and a splash of Crème d’Apricot. The walled garden of a 17th century farmhouse on the edge of Deal, the prettiest salty aired town in Kent by a country kilometre, is the serene setting for sampling a new Anglo Italian seasonal late night dinner menu. Grade II Listed Updown Farm was bought by couple Oli Brown (Chef) and Ruth Leigh (Hostess) in 2021 who had both built their careers in hospitality in London.

Over to Oli, “We looked in Somerset, we looked in Norfolk, but it just felt like we had roots here in Deal and we knew the area. It’s so close to London too. Also Deal is just such a cool place. It’s thriving and this property is just unbelievably beautiful so that made our minds up for us. The garden is enclosed by incredible woodland so it feels very remote and peaceful. Updown Farmhouse is unusual but it’s going to be a lovely place to be in, eat and to stay.”

Kent isn’t exactly short of upmarket places to be in, eat and to stay, but there’s always room for one more. Here’s a completely authenticated list so far of the Garden of England’s finest. Friendliest pub: The White Horse, Dover. Most atmospheric pub: The Lantern Inn, Martin. Oldest pub: The Rose Inn, Wickhambreaux. Best pub with restaurant: Fordwich Arms, Greater Canterbury. Best pub with rooms: The Rose, Deal. Best binational restaurant: Frog and Scot, Deal. Best cheesy restaurant: The Cheese Room, Rochester. Fanciest restaurant with rooms: The Pig, Bridge. Most seaswept restaurant: Deal Pier Kitchen, Deal. Most London-on-Sea restaurant: The Table, Broadstairs. Most exclusive restaurant: The Dining Club, Deal. Most missed: The Black Douglas, Deal. Boy.

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Hôtel du Petit Moulin Paris + Christian Lacroix

We’re Here for The Ride

“Welcome to the Hôtel du Petit Moulin! We would like to thank you for your confidence and for choosing our hotel during your visit in Paris. Le Marais is full of history, wonderful shops, galleries, museums and restaurants. In fact, the building in which the hotel is set was originally the first Parisian bakery. This is where Victor Hugo would come to buy his baguette! Today, the original shop frontage remains, reminding guests of its former past as a ‘boulangerie’, protected under French Heritage. Make yourself at home, relax and enjoy a quiet drink at the honesty bar open from noon to midnight or head to the spa of our sister hotel, the Pavillon de la Reine, situated in Place des Vosges, just a 10 minute walk away from her and available to all our guests. Have a lovely stay with us.” Luc Guillo Lohan, The Manager.

Heaven’s in the detail and the Hôtel du Petit Moulin delivers from bookmarks and business cards to brass door keys and petite boxes â picorer. Highlights of the room service from Restaurant Chez Nenesse on nearby Rue de Saintonge include entrées: salade des queues de langoustines (Dublin Bay prawn salad); plats: fillets de bar aux fines herbes (sea bass fillet, sauce with fine herbs); and desserts: mousse et sorbet chocolat sauce pistache (chocolate mousse and sorbets with pistachio sauce).

Filling a pair of 17th century buildings which couldn’t be more pre Haussmann Parisian if they tried, the ground floor was once a bar and a street corner bakery. Victor Hugo’s house on Place des Vosges is just around the corner. As Monsieur Lohan notes, the former bakery still retains a hand painted glass shopfront. There are just 17 guest rooms. One bedroom on the rez-de-chaussée. Four on the premier étage. Four on the deuxième étage stacked in the same layout as below. Four stacked on the troisième étage. One on the étage intermédiaire. Three on the quatrième étage. The architecture is full of original quirks from fragments of timber structural beams to windows floating between floors. The interior is absolutely fabulous Christian Lacroix sweetie darling.The haut couture designer clearly had a lot of fun dreaming up this Louis XV on an acid trip décor. The colourful chaos of the montaged découpaged toile de jouy in the main rooms contrasts with the calm of the white marble bathrooms. Top floor Room 402 is the largest guest suite and angles into the street corner with the best views, taking in a sweep of chimneys rising above the buildings lining Rue de Poitou and Rue de Saintonge. The mirrored ceiling provides an altogether different view, not least of the shagpile carpet. “Early to bed, and you’ll wish you were dead. Bed before 11, nuts before seven,” shrieked Dorothy Parker in her short story for The Little Hours for The New Yorker, 1933.

Nowhere does acronyms better than cultural Paris. MAD (Musée des Arts Décoratifs) is hard to beat. MAHJ (Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaisme) is exhibiting Erwin Blumenfeld’s photography. The Festival of (captured Light in the City of Light.

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La Mâle d’Effeenne Rue St Paul + Village St Paul Paris

Who Loves It Wears It

Leaving behind the whiteness of a continental winter’s day we step into La Mâle d’Effeenne which is like entering a man cave but only if the man is Aladdin. Black is the new black. All that glitters really is gold. We’re greeted like long lost brothers by owners François Mahé (French) and Nico Francioni (Italian). They chime, “It’s been a year, has it not? We remember you well! You’re famous! Excuse the clutter – we’ve just had a large seasonal delivery.”

Their shop defies definition. Literally: there’s something in the name. “La” of course is feminine. “Mâle” clearly isn’t. This shop is for everyone so when it comes to clothes or scents, you decide. “Mâle” is a nod to Jean-Paul Gaultier’s famous scent. It also references “malle”, the French word for luggage. Gosh multiple entendres or what? And what hidden depths does “Effeenne” possess? It’s the guys’ initials spelt phonetically: “F” and “N”. So there you go. Putting the concept into conceptual.

La Mâle d’Effeenne is on Rue St Paul in the middle of Village St Paul in the middle of Le Marais in the middle of Paris. The dominating architectural presence is the Church of St Paul. There has been an ecclesiastical presence in this location for 16 centuries. In 1360 the village gained royal status when Charles V installed his Hôtel St Paul. Today, the chiaroscuro of the church nave is strongly pencilled by wintry shadow. A ciborium or baldachin of ghostly semi transparent scarlet veil is suspended over an Advent arrangement.

Lunch is in an hour at L’Ambroisie, a heartbeat away from Rue St Paul. Back at the store, François says, “Well done on getting a table at the restaurant. It’s very in demand. Let us know how it is!” We depart La Mâle d’Effeenne laden with exquisitely wrapped sprays d’ambiance by Secret d’Apothicaire (“It smells good enough to wear!” exclaims Nico) and embossed carte postales of Formi Dabel artwork. No wonder Nancy Mitford writes in her 1960s novel Don’t Tell Alfred, “At no season does Paris look more beautiful than early in December.” White will be the new black.

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Wild + Precious

Swimming in the Whirlpool of High Society

Who said we didn’t end up at midnight in Princess Diana’s fav Knightsbridge haunt San Lorenzo three years ago to the day? Or a month earlier join influencers for a day at the races? Or fast forward a few seasons to find ourselves singing black tied carols with London’s finest on Pall Mall till dawn? As for the maquillage, English Heritage have a lot to answer for… Tell us, what are you doing?

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Architecture Art Country Houses Hotels People Town Houses

Dorinda The Honourable Lady Dunleath Baroness Mulholland + Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity Downpatrick Down

Music in September

A Service of Thanksgiving was held for Dorinda Lady Dunleath in the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity, Downpatrick, County Down on 28 September 2022. The Dean of Down Cathedral, The Very Reverend Henry Hull, welcomed the congregation and noted that like the late Queen, Dorinda had a Christian faith which was reflected in a lifetime of dedicated and joyful duty. He recorded how she had worshipped at Holy Trinity Church Ballywalter, St Andrew’s Church of Ireland Balligan and at times, Down Cathedral. The cathedral is high on a hill clinging to the edge of the town, clearly visible across uninterrupted countryside from Ballydugan House to the southwest.

In 1970, just three years after Dorinda co-founded the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, along with Peter Rankin and Professor Alistair Rowan she wrote and published the Society’s List of historic buildings in Downpatrick. The introduction to the cathedral’s entry is: “A church has existed here since 530 AD when St Caylan was Bishop: early in the 12th century it was occupied as a house of Regular Canons of the Order of St Augustine, superseded after 1177 by Benedictines. The Church was destroyed by an earthquake 1245; pillaged and burnt early in the 14th century by Robert Bruce; rebuilt; destroyed by the English in 1538, pillaged and burn 1539; incorporated with a chapter by Charter 1609. In the 18th century it fell into disrepair. An Act of Parliament was passed 30 April, 1790, for restoration at the instigation of the Dean, the Honourable and Reverend William Annesley, and of Wills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough, and 1st Marquis of Downshire; ready for divine service 1818; vestibule and tower added, the latter completed 1826; totally disendowed by Irish Church Act 1869.”

The Service of Thanksgiving tributes were by architectural historians and authors Professor Alistair Rowan and Dr Anthony Malcolmson. Both spoke eloquently about Dorinda’s significant contribution to charities and culture in Northern Ireland, and in particular, architectural heritage. There were plenty of anecdotes of fun times too. Professor Rowan recalled Dorinda and her husband Henry arriving in fancy dress one evening at Leixlip Castle, County Kildare. The hostess, Mariga Guinness, was surprised to greet Dorinda in Little Bo Peep attire and Henry in cartoon character costume. Somehow there had been a miscommunication: it was a formal white tie dinner.

One of the readings was Order to View by Louis MacNiece. The poet’s mother and Dorinda’s mother were cousins. The opening line is, “It was a big house, bleak.” Another reading was a verse from St John’s Gospel which includes the line, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” The organist and choirmaster Michael McCracken led Down Cathedral Choir singing In Paradisum from Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. The Harty Quartet played three pieces: George Frideric Handel’s Le Réjouissance; Johann Sebastian Bach’s Arioso; and Edward Elgar’s Salut d’Amour.

Beautiful floral arrangements by Florestina enriched the stone architectural foil. Dorinda’s brother, Brigadier James Percival, remarked that just a couple of weeks earlier, Florestina, which is owned and run by Suzie Scott, Dorinda’s cousin, was responsible for the floral decorations of The Queen’s Service of Reflection at St Anne’s Cathedral Belfast. A reception was held after The Service of Thanksgiving for Dorinda at the appropriately historic Denvir’s Hotel below Down Cathedral in the town centre. Architect John O’Connell summed up Dorinda subtly and succinctly as being “spirited and singular”.

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society’s entry for Denvir’s Hotel includes: “Originally 17th century. A date on the post is inscribed 1641, but the present appearance of the building is the late 18th century and early 19th century. A two storey four bay block pleasantly recessed from the street lined and flanked by two projecting three storey wings – all stuccoed with horizontal glazing bars. The east wing gives arched access to the hotel yards; the west has a gable to the street and, in the corner, a good late Georgian door of tripartite pattern, with grooved columns for the jambs.”

In the evening, back in the cathedral, internationally recognised musician Desmond Hunter performed an organ recital accompanied by the Balligan Consort (a nine voice choir founded by the late Norman Finley), celebrating the life and work of the late Lord and Lady Dunleath through their influential Music in May festival (1970 to 1980). Pieces covered four centuries from William Byrd’s Fantasia in C to the first performance of Fantasy-fanfare Ostendite Terram Occultatum by Northern Irish composer Dr Philip Hammond.

Desmond has written a short history of Music in May. Extracts include: “Lord Dunleath’s passionate interest in the organ and the success of the rebuilding of the Conacher Organ in Ballywalter Parish Church were probably key factors in sowing the seed that eventually led to the flowering of an organ festival… The first recital in 1970 was given, appropriately, by Norman Finlay, co-founder of Music in May.” Norman was Headteacher of Music at Belfast Royal Academy. “Each of the recitals was followed by an informal reception in Ballywalter Park, hosted by Lord and Lady Dunleath. This attractive addition probably helped to ensure a large attendance at the recitals.”

“After Lord Dunleath’s untimely death in 1992, it was proposed that an organ trust might be established in his memory. Discussions with Dorinda, Lady Dunleath, and others closely associated with Music in May initiated the process that led to the formation of the Dunleath Organ Scholarship Trust. The Trust was launched at a concert in Ballywalter in 1995.”

The postlude to Dorinda’s Service of Thanksgiving on 28 September 2022 was Wolfgang Mozart’s Laudate Dominum with soprano Lisa Dawson hitting the high notes to perfection. The early autumn late afternoon sunlight streamed through the glass doors of the cathedral, illuminating the vestibule, touching the tip of the nave with its warm glow. As everyone departed, beyond the sea of parked cars, a cross was momentarily silhouetted by the golden sun setting behind a silver edged cloud.

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Killymoon Castle + Estate Cookstown Tyrone

The First of the Best Two Days

It was the poster boy of the 1970s, gracing the covers of various publications. Half a century later, a new generation of aesthetes is falling in love with the romantically named and romantically styled and romantically positioned Killymoon Castle. Richard Oram and Peter Rankin included a sketch of the south elevation on the cover of their Ulster Architectural Heritage Society Listings for Cookstown and Dungannon. “The Nash block is of ashlar, a strong roll moulding surrounding it at basement level. Behind, the earlier back-quarters are of rubble, castellated, buttresses added and certain windows enlarged by Nash, the roofs of graduated slates… Behind the house, a stable and farmyard, including a substantial two storey block with Gibbsian door surrounds.”

In another Ulster Architectural Heritage Society publication from last century, An Introduction to Ulster Architecture, Hugh Dixon, wrote, “Interest in the picturesque resulted in the Gothick castle style becoming a fashionable alternative to the neoclassical for country houses. Pioneered by Richard Payne Knight at Downton Castle, Herefordshire, the asymmetrical castle was made popular by the Prince Regent’s architect, John Nash, whose large practice extended to Ulster on several occasions. Killymoon Castle is clearly a sham unlike Gosford Castle (by Thomas Hopper, circa 1820) at Markethill, County Armagh, where really thick walls and correct medieval windows show a new more serious approach. Generally more popular in Ulster was the symmetrical castle, a type developed by Robert Adam in Scotland. Adam, indeed, remodelled Castle Upton in County Antrim (1788) in this style, although it has had later alterations. Among the best local designs are Necarne, Irvinestown, County Fermanagh (circa 1825) and the delightfully simple Dungiven Castle, County Derry (1839).”

Brian de Breffny included Killymoon in his Castles of Ireland and featured it on the dust jacket. “John Nash, the celebrated architect of Regency England, also designed a few buildings in Ireland, including some parish churches and four Gothick castles, two of which are Killymoon and Lough Cutra. Shanbally Castle, County Tipperary, which he built about 1812, was larger than either of these. The fourth castle, Kilwaughter, County Antrim, is a not very successful adaptation of an earlier house, and is now in a state of disrepair… Before he was engaged in radically transforming parts of London by such creations as Regent’s Park, Regent’s Street, Trafalgar Square and Carlton House Terrace, and before his work on Brighton Pavilion. It brought him other Irish commissions through the family connections of James Stewart, Member of Parliament for County Tyrone, the satisfied client… The house at Killymoon built by James Stewart’s father, William Stewart, who also built the nearby town of Cookstown about 1750, was largely destroyed by fire about 1800.”

Each publication has a different take on its castellation: the dressing of the original castle to complement the new building; the light hearted asymmetry; and the heralding of the architect’s popularity for designing castles in Ireland. Killymoon Castle was John Nash’s first – and finest – castle in Ireland. Dorothy Coulter, who lives in the castle with her husband Godfrey, knows its history well. “Killymoon Castle was built in 1671 by James Stewart who had bought the lease five years earlier from Alan Cooke, the founder of Cookstown. The Stewarts had come over from Scotland during the Plantation of Ulster. They set up two castles at that time: Killymoon and Ballymena Castle. Six generations later, the Stewarts left Killymoon in 1852. There are six houses built by the Stewarts still in Cookstown Old Town.”

The original building was mostly destroyed by fire in 1802. Dorothy reckons, “Colonel James Stewart built this castle a year later and it must have been a truly wonderful fairy tale to bring his beautiful wife Lady Molesworth to this romantic spot!” She points to his portrait in the central hall. “He met John Nash on his Grand Tour. James frequently visited London to gamble with the Prince Regent at Carlton House. Apparently he gambled Killymoon Castle one night with Prince Regent and lost it on the turn of the cards. I don’t envy him coming back to his wife after that! Fortunately the Prince Regent told him he could keep his ‘Irish cabin’. The other portrait is of his father William Stewart. He brought James back from the Grand Tour as he wanted him to stand for MP for Tyrone and he stood and he had the seat for 44 years. He was well liked. The estate changed hands several times after the Stewarts until timber merchant Gerald Macura bought it in 1916. He wanted to make railway sleepers from felling the trees.”

The Public Records Office Northern Ireland’s Introduction to Stewart of Killymoon Papers, 2007, sheds some light on Lady Molesworth, “In 1772 Stewart married Elizabeth Molesworth, daughter of the 3rd Viscount Molesworth. She was one of the survivors of a tragic fire in London in 1763, where she was living with her widowed mother. Lady Molesworth senior, two of her daughters and six of the servants were killed. Two other daughters were badly injured when they jumped from upper windows – one had to have her leg cut off after landing on the railings below – and a third was badly burned. Elizabeth Stewart became in 1794 a co-heiress of her late brother, the 4th Viscount Molesworth, and inherited a share of the Molesworth estates in Dublin City, near Swords, County Dublin, and in and around Philipstown, King’s County.”

A castle is not a castle without a ghost. Dorothy relates, “Gerald Macura’s 97 year old daughter came to visit us a couple of years ago. She’d such fond memories of the castle and told me how as a six year old child she used to hear ghostly footsteps going up and down the secondary staircase. She had that story built up in her head all those years. I said to her, ‘But there only is one staircase!’ We went on a tour of the house and upstairs she showed me something. There were so many different layers of paint over the door you could only see the shape of the frame so when we looked into that cupboard there was this other door that opened into a set of stairs that went up to James’s room in the top of the circular tower! He had a whole big bedroom suite that went out onto the balcony. She said it was really just the joy of her life getting back to Killymoon; she died not long afterward.”

Dorothy reveals, “My husband’s great grandparents lived over the bridge past those trees and these grounds came up for sale. His great grandfather John Coulter bid £2,000 on the grounds but all the bids were rejected. So six months later the Bank of Ireland put it up for sale again and he increased his bid by an extra £100 and this time it was to include the castle. He was successful so everyone thinks it was a great deal as he got the castle for £100! They moved in with their two sons Tommy and Jacky at the end of 1921.”

A suitably long drive winds through parkland and farmland, past the château-like 18th century stable block to one side, until the porte cochère of the castle finally appears. And there it is, the castle in all its glory, one of the great architectural moments of early 19th century Ireland – still unrivalled in early 21st century Ireland. The genius at work: rectangular, elliptical and polygonal components of varying heights fitting together like the pieces of an intricate three-dimensional puzzle, unified by Gothick windows, Romanesque detailing and a castellated roofline. John Nash added buttresses to the adjoining remaining portion of the old rubble stone castle and remodelled some of its windows to be more in keeping with his cut stone architectural masterpiece.

The interior is equally ingenious. A slender row of stairs connects the porte cochère to the tall spacious central hall. The piano nobile is elevated by a raised basement. “That’s the Stewart and Molesworth coats of arms in the stained glass over the front door,” highlights Dorothy. The central hall is linked by a Gothick arch to the staircase hall with its cantilevered stone stairs flying off in opposite directions like the wings of a dinosaur. John Nash knew how to deliver drama! Another great spatial flow running parallel with the inner halls is formed by an enfilade of four adjoining reception rooms overlooking the sloping lawn and field down to Ballinderry River. The variety of room shapes seems endless. Apses and niches and balconies and vestibules show such a grasp of spatial acuity. Oak detailing and ornate plasterwork define and refine the interior throughout. Window shutters concertina out from hidden cavities in the external walls. One of the reception rooms has 1800s wallpaper which survived a major flood.

Dorothy continues, “American soldiers occupied the estate from December 1943 to February 1944. Officers stayed in the castle while paratroopers were housed in Quonset huts. It was the 82nd Airbourne Division that was stationed here. We have retained one of the brick huts built near the river as a cottage for holidaymakers. One of the castle bedrooms has been restored as an officer’s room with militaria and uniformed mannequins. The cellars are now a military museum with a permanent signal post, muster station and officers’ mess. There was a German prison of war camp at the top end of the town. We’ve a lot of letters from the American and German soldiers – they’re all down in the cellars. Killymoon is part of the heritage of Cookstown. It needs people in it to keep it alive.”

“We decided whenever we got married to restore the long end of the castle in the 1970s. Tommy lived down in the back end of the castle.” She continues the tour, “In 2000 we restored the big upstairs library. This room was in ruins – the ceiling was completely down, there were trees growing in it. I said to the builders there’s a ceiling like Nash’s original one here in Kildress Parish Church. They were able to copy the church’s ribbed plasterwork ceiling. The timber floor is new too. The only original features to survive are the windows which date back to the 1600s. One of the bedrooms had no ceiling as well. It was like the planetarium where you could look right up to the sky!”

“We started to restore the roof lantern over the staircase in 2014,” Dorothy recalls. “It had been badly damaged when the Golf Clubhouse was bombed in about 1989.” Since 1889, part of the estate has been Killymoon Golf Club. “Eventually we did get help with the restoration of the roof lantern: the Northern Ireland Environment Agency were very good and we’ve worked with Cookstown Council. Our architects, builders and craftsmen have all been local – real godsends. We’ve been very blessed and are very thankful. Recently, we’ve been working with the Tourist Board promotion ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’. We won ‘Best Maintenance of a Historic Building or Place at the 2021 Heritage Angel Awards Northern Ireland.”

She adds, “In 2016 we opened the tearoom. On our first day the queue of people stretched down the drive! Our candlelit Christmas dinners have proved a real success. We’re sold out already. It’s a family affair – the grandchildren get their dusters out and we light all the fires. When you see the castle being used for different functions, it brings it to life. We’ve had people visit here from all over the world. We are very busy with group tours too.” Today, afternoon tea is served in the east and south facing Lady Molesworth’s morning room with views (once admired by Queen Mary, wife of King George V) across the 122 hectare estate. Under the shallow dome laced by a patera frieze, potato and leek soup is served in china cups on saucers. Grandfather clocks tick and chime to the passing of time.

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Art Design People

Pattie Boyd + The Lower Third Soho London

The Other Side of the Lens

“My dog’s name is Ziggy Stardust and my son’s middle name is Bowie!” introduces Karrie Goldberg. “I’ve had the great fortune of working with rock legends like Duran Duran and Glen Matlock and Thomas Dolby so for me this project really is a dream come true. Being able to open a bar on Denmark Street – wow! To be able to bring music back to Denmark Street is truly an honour. Above you, as you may know, is the former 12 Bar Club so you are actually beneath where the likes of Adele and The Libertines played some of their very first gigs. Tonight I am especially thrilled to welcome the legendary Pattie Boyd.”

“Afterwards I invite you to go upstairs and try some of the killer cocktails!” Karrie concludes. We will. Joined by Pattie herself. Exile on Mainstreet, Itchycoo Park, Schoolboys in Disgrace, Technical Ecstasy… the alchemic elixirs are as memorable as their names. Band of Gypsys, Quadrophenia, Never Mind the Bollocks, Nursery Cryme. You 20th century music lovers will recognise those names. They’re song titles from Genesis, Jimi Hendrix, Sex Pistols, Small Faces, The Who and a few other every so slightly well known artists. Cheers! As for the name of the bar itself, turns out David Bowie recorded with a group called The Lower Third. Fellow model Twiggy rocks up. So does Queen drummer Roger Taylor. And writer and comedienne Kathy Lette. Some nights last forever.

“I thought it would be a good idea to just have a book of only photographs with the odd little anecdote, little joke, little story, but essentially about photographs,” says the eternally beautiful Pattie Boyd, model turned photographer. And raconteur extraordinaire. “I think very few people have got time to read everything that’s being written. It’s much easier to flick through and see the photos.” She should know. Pattie has not so much read the zeitgeist as has been the zeitgeist for decades.

Back to the Sixties. “In those days,” Pattie tells us after dark, “If you were booked for a shoot, models had to bring dark shoes and light shoes and jewellery, makeup, hair accessories, combs. We were definitely not spoiled. We were paid £4 an hour. Things have changed dramatically. The girls now have their makeup done, hair done, everything is super glamorous! My agent would give me a list of photographers to go and see to show them my portfolio. In order to get a portfolio I made friends with photographers or would-be photographers or assistants who would then photograph me on condition they would give me a few prints so it worked for both of us.”

The Lower Third is quite simply the coolest venue in Soho London. In Soho. In London. Denmark Street was developed in the late 17th century and is called after Prince George of Denmark. The Rolling Stones recorded in a studio on the street and Elton John wrote songs in one of the offices. It soon became known as London’s ‘Tin Pan Alley’, a version of New York’s famed music dominated district.

Pattie didn’t live the Sixties. She was the Sixties. “All my friends were filmmakers, artists, painters, designers, architects. I knew there was something in the air; people started changing their attitudes. There was a freedom that wasn’t there previously. Dresses were getting shorter and wilder. The boys were looking even better! Everyone was looking so cool and David Hockney was so wonderful – he was doing great paintings. I think about all the great photographers and fashion designers. David Bailey and Terence Donovan. Ossi and Biba and Mary Quant. Everybody was bursting out with huge creative talent. It was everywhere; it was wonderful. And music of course. You can’t forget that!” Pattie’s first husband was George Harrison; her second, Eric Clapton.

Never short of quips, Pattie is on a roll tonight: “I didn’t realise that I was shortsighted and in those days there was no autofocus.” We’ve swapped from being in front of the camera to behind it. “I was doing a job for Ringo photographing people on a Dracula film he a was doing and at the end of the day he wanted to see my photos.” He said, ‘They’re a bit soft focus.’ I realised I needed glasses to focus properly!”

“I was taking photos from ’64 onwards,” she remembers. “I didn’t know who I was and I loved taking photographs but I couldn’t be so bold to assume that I was a photographer because it was something I enjoyed so much. Then I had a few photographic exhibitions and they seemed to go down well. People liked what I’d taken so I’m fine with hanging onto that label of photographer. I take life as it comes to me. If you find yourself feeling dull, just change your mind.”

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Dariana Café + Lounge Bar Dandi Wembley London

Reaching New Heights

Dandi Wembley is like a hotel with all its facilities, only residents stay for at least six months,” explains Lifestyle Director Samir Kerchiched. We’re chatting over Champagne in the Dariana Café on the 16th floor of this exclusive residential scheme. Sunset is streaming in through arched windows, silhouetting the carved chaise longues and evergreen mature trees and splashing fountain. A glazed openable roof intensifies the flood of natural light further. “This restaurant is Persian style serving Middle East influenced food. It offers all day dining, opening at 7am. Breakfast dishes are British classics.” And, as it turns out, it also serves the best launch canapés for the selected chauffeured few.

Momo, sketch Mayfair and W Hotel have all been sprinkled with Samir’s stardust. “Dandi has its own factory and all the joinery was made there. Everything you see was made in the London Borough of Brent. That’s good for carbon footprint, quality control and efficiency.” Everything breathes luxury and romance from the gold plated fire extinguishers and Parisian style panelling to the views over the roof of London Designer Outlet towards Wembley Football Stadium.

“We have created a theatre of light!” exclaims Ali Reza Ravanshad, Founder of Dandi, with some understatement. “Dandi Wembley has been a labour of love starting with the Persian mosaic lining the entrance lobby. That floor is made up of 1,000s and 1,000s of tiles! We try to do beautiful things that will be here in 10, 30, 50 years from now. We are very proud of everything being made locally. There are not very many qualified joiners in London so we set up a programme in London to train them. This is a collective work: everyone has got a part to play.”

We head off on a tour of the communal areas for residents and guests which stretch over the top two floors. Dariana Lounge Bar on the opposite side of the lobby from the Café is equally glamorous – and sunlit. There’s the Garden Terrace with a barbeque on the 15th floor, as well as the Micro Theatre, Artist Residence Room and Wellness Studio. It’s not just all fun and games: there are also meticulously fitted out workspaces (Dandi Works) and meeting rooms (Dandi Meets). Heaven is in the height and the detail: the lifts are lined with horticultural framed prints that make you wish you weren’t ascending so speedily.

Ali Reza adds, “We are very proud of the team behind this project and the community that has been created here. Our tenants are so engaged – some of them are employed now in the building. They are the wider part of the Dandi family! It took just 91 days to fully let all 355 studio and one bedroom apartments.” We’re off to see one of the studio apartments, all 25 square metres of it. The studio is slickly fitted out: marble kitchenette; sliding breakfast bar, rainfall shower; seamless panelled storage; and bespoke furniture. But where’s the bed? Overhead! The floating bed descends from on high, balanced by invisible pulleys behind the wall. Metal framed windows are a reminder of the building’s previous life as offices.

“Ultimately we want to reimagine city living,” Ali Reza comments. Dandi partnered with Dukelease Properties to deliver this scheme. “Together with Dandi,” says Richard Leslie, Chief Executive Officer of Dukelease Properties, “we have placed huge importance on the quality of the finishes and functionality of the design. This provides an enhanced way of living that is aspirational for our residents.”

“The show will go on! See you at our next project,” ends Ali Reza. We’re on standby for Dandi Battersea launch.

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Wine + Reason Restaurant Worthing West Sussex

Belonging

Opposite the carousel which whirls around all day (gadzooks galore!) on Worthing’s fun filled esplanade is one of the south coast’s coolest places for tapas. Vegetarian and vegan tapas at that. Crispy fried tofu, halloumi fries,  tempera asparagus, tomato bruschetta,  vegetable spring rolls and salted caramel cake… a roll call of gastronomic goodness. Protestant sects such as the Shakers were among the first to view eating plants as a route to prelapsarian grace. The writer George Bernard Shaw was an early adapter of vegetarianism.