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Morpheus London + The Pavilion St John’s Wood London

It Is Cricket

Lord's Cricket Ground © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

In an exclusive preview, Lavender’s Blue tour Morpheus’s latest ultra prime residence. It’s an architectural moment on a roofscape, reimagined for the opening decades of the 21st century. A great swathe of entertainment space lies behind a grand sweep of terrace, a cow shot from Lord’s Cricket Ground. A double hat trick. Side on is a hawk eye view of The Regent’s Park, good for rabbit and ferret spotting. Penthouse doesn’t quite paint the picture. This is about placement. Welcome to The Pavilion, St John’s Wood.

St John's Wood Lord's Cricket Ground © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Alex Isaac is Head of Design at Morpheus. Previously he was Creative Director at Linley and before that he designed yachts. Mega yachts. “Of course Morpheus is highly regarded in the development world,” he commences, “but increasingly we’re also taking on private commissions. We deliver one stop turnkey solutions for refurbishments as well as building new homes. Our development at Pond Place sums up the Morpheus approach to interiors – luxurious, elegant, not intimidating, relaxing, a calm environment.”

St John's Wood Lord's Cricket Ground Finial © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

His experience designing mega yachts for Edmiston and Company is relevant. “The highest levels of design and craftsmanship are essential for yachts. But you only stay on your yacht about six weeks a year so it can be more ostentatious. It’s not your home!” When Jamie Edmiston acquired Linley, he took Alex with him. Alex’s parents are both interior designers. The Morpheus team includes architects, architectural technicians, interior designers and cabinetmakers. “We’ve got a vast database of suppliers,” he confirms. “And we design problems out at the very beginning, while keeping within budget and timescales.”

Morpheus Pavilion Hall @ Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

More on The Pavilion, all 3,600 internal square feet and 1,700 external square feet of it. Two lifts open into a central entrance hall lit by grand chandeliers. “It’s important to invest in fine pieces,” Alex believes, “to spend money where it counts. Sometimes we take inspiration from antiques to produce amazing timeless installations.” Beyond, to the front of the building is that entertainment space. A walnut floored reception area is balanced on one side by a dining room and on the other, a study. “Rather than one traditional desk,” he continues, “the study’s designed for hot desks but it’s still quite formal.” A wall of windows overlooking the 100 foot long terrace could prove distracting for getting any work done.

Morpheus Pavilion Sitting Room @ Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Morpheus Pavilion Dining Room @ Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Morpheus Pavilion Detail @ Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Morpheus Pavilion Bedroom @ Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Namibia white marble corridors of certainty. To the rear of the host building is a quieter zone which includes a cluster of family bedrooms accessed off an inner hall. Marble is complemented by an indulgence of soft materials: velvet, suede, leather and 100 percent hand tied silk carpets. The bedrooms enjoy direct access onto a 60 foot long terrace. The master suite is separately accessed off the entrance hall and also overlooks the rear terrace. A glazed winter garden occupying part of the terrace allows for all year round relaxation. The square cut symmetry of the floorplate is matched by the classic balanced interiors. “We design through the eyes of our clients,” says Alex. “The nature of our work means we approach every commission like The Pavilion in a tailored fashion. This informs the design language to address our clients’ desires, needs and requirements.”

Morpheus Pavilion Bathroom @ Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

“I like to bring the detailing out of loose materials, such as pillowcases, and apply it to the architecture as well, to the walls,” he highlights. Style, comfort and technology form the golden trio of successful interiors. Alex notes an increasing desire by clients for long distance control of their homes’ environment: “These days Apple interface is usually requested.”

Morpheus Pavilion En Suite @ Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

“At Morpheus,” Alex concludes, “we’re diverse. We don’t fall into the trap of a house style. Instead, each project takes on its own distinctive style. Projects are informed by choice and use of materials, restraint and patrician dexterity. Clients expect first class comfort as well as distinguished style and the latest technology. That’s what makes up our DNA!” So far, so good innings.

Morpheus Pavilion Winter Garden @ Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Town Houses

Morpheus + The Chelsea Townhouses London


Morpheus. In Greek mythology he is the god of dreams. In modern day London he is the deliverer of über high end homes. The fulfiller of dreams. The face of Morpheus is dashing developer Andrew Murray. More anon. A forgotten site in a memorable mews is the latest location. The Chelsea Townhouses, just three of them, are each a mesomorph in mortar and marble composite.

Viewed along mutually perpendicular radii, the concertinas of the finned (to the front) and buttressed (to the back) elevations unfold in anamorphic monochrome. The triumphant triumvirate of light surface, shadowy void and dark glazing is as precisely incised as an Erhard Schön woodcut puzzle. Strips of vertical garden clinging to the rear buttresses provide light green relief.

This art of delaying access to deeper meaning is both metaphorical and physical. The Chelsea Townhouses are four up, two down. Their true verticality remains unrevealed by the delineated modernity of the façade. Two concealed levels lie below street level. Beyond the entrance doors, an airy expanse of lateral living comes as a visual and experiential surprise.

Garages are an integral part of the building envelope. “These houses are real ‘lock ups’,” explains Andrew. “You can drive straight into the garage, step into the lift, walk out of the lobby and you’re home. They’re incredibly secure.” When you’re not at home, Morpheus’ Residential Management Team cleans, carries out security checks, sets up floral arrangements in the first floor reception suite, and a Harvey Nics hamper in the double height kitchen will await you on your return.

This quintessentially upper crust concierge service is included in the purchase price (a snip at £10 million) for the first year. When you are at home, a sommelier will attend to parties while food rises up to the dining room on a mirrored servery, “London’s largest dumb waiter!” Andrew’s words.

Morpheus selected guest designers 1508 London to decorate the 900 square metres interior of the middle house. “We commissioned English designers and craftsmen for much of the furniture,” relates Andrew. “Herringbone and checked tailoring, Fromental wallpaper and Jura blue grey limestone present typical British understatement. Patinato Veneziano polished plaster and brass trimming add a touch of international glamour. Nothing is off the shelf. Everything is handmade.”

A cantilevered staircase resting on open risers with a glazed banister floats effortlessly upwards like a lightweight glacial artery. Andrew refers to it as the “natural flow”. He reckons the first floor winter garden has the best of both worlds, revelling in both display and privacy. This could be a metaphor for the house as a whole. The upper levels are filled with natural light and are used for entertaining: display. The ambiance changes on the lower levels to a duskier clubby feel: privacy. An acoustically panelled cinema and snug family room provide the ultimate underworld sanctuary.

In later Greek mythological writings, Morpheus morphs into the god of sleep. And so to bed. One of four bedrooms, the master suite occupies the whole of the top floor. To the front is the bathroom. A strip of windows facing onto a landscaped roof lights the swathing of bookended Italian marble. To the back, a roof terrace is accessed off the silk carpeted bedroom.

Over the last two decades in business, Andrew has witnessed the metamorphosis of London into the most desirable address in this world. “Demand is through the roof,” he observes. “The capital has one helluva lot of attractions, from culture – where else are museums free? – to a convenient time zone, generous tax structure, political stability, security of legal ownership and education.” Plus heavenly houses fit for the gods like The Chelsea Townhouses.