Architecture People Town Houses

Ilchester Place Holland Park London + The Irish Georgian Society London Summer Party

A Narrative of the Time of Nero

Ilchester Place Holland Park © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

The 20th century redevelopment of the leafy Holland Estate has provided London with some of its most sumptuous neo Georgian homes. The style pendulum is in full swing, from Queen Anne meets Lutyens to Queen Mary meets Colonial. Lime tree lined Ilchester Place is firmly in the earlier more academic camp. Completed in 1928, these mainly terraced houses were designed by the Scottish born architect Leonard Martin who lived in a rambling Georgian house which he extended in matching style in Cobham.

Abbottsbury Road © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

There are enough spider’s web fanlights, half moon pediments and squiggly topped blind windows not to mention Dutch gables to make the Irish Georgian Society feel quite at home at Ilchester Place. Just as well, as it was the setting of the London Chapter’s Summer Party. The distinguished hosts were Oric and Julia L’Vov Basirov. Oric is an Anglo Russian archaeologist, historian and Iranologist. His wife Julia is a picture restorer and V+A guide. This locale is steeped in art history, ever since Lord Leighton established his ‘private palace of art’ on Holland Park Road in the late 19th century.

Ilchester Place © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Sir David Davies, President of the Irish Georgian Society, spoke. Restorer of Abbey Leix House under the guidance of architect John O’Connell, founding Chairman of the Irish Heritage Trust, Harvard alumnus and banker Sir David announced the recipients of recent Irish Georgian Society grants. “Stradbally Hall near my home,” he stated, “is really a ruin. There’s so much work to be done there. We are funding repairs to the chimneystacks.” There was more good news, “We are opening a Chapter in Waterford. We are opening a Chapter in Dallas.” He explained, “I am only the fourth President. My aim is to gather together the different threads of the Irish Georgian Society.” Catering was by Butlers with a capital B. Many of Kensington resident Celia Butler’s staff are artists.

Ilchester Place Sunset © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Irish Georgian Socierty Garden Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Irish Georgian Society Summer Party © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Irish Georgian Society London Chapter © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Architecture Design Developers Luxury

Finchatton + The Lansbury Knightsbridge London

Postcode Perfect

1 Finchatton's The Lansbury copyright

There are the golden postcodes of Belgravia, Chelsea, Kensington, Knightsbridge and Mayfair. Then there is the platinum Knightsbridge address of Basil Street, sandwiched between Harrods and Harvey Nics. Bronze torches light the winter’s night. Silver railings cordon off a red carpet. Welcome to The Lansbury. Beware, the bling ends at the front door (except perhaps for beetroot macaroons at the launch party).

2 Finchatton's The Lansbury copyright

Developer Finchatton’s latest offering is a slender sliver of a corner apartment block rising six (visible) storeys. Walls hewn from sandstone form a deeply incised but relatively unadorned skin. What a welcome relief (no pun) from the brick Accordia-lite which has come to dominate domestic architecture in the capital. Shallow rectangular projecting bays provide a nod to nearby mansion blocks. The Lansbury’s architecture has a restrained permanence, the antithesis of pop up culture. It doesn’t compete for attention with its chunkier period neighbours. Period. Instead it commands material consideration (stop the puns!) through quality and subtlety.

3 Finchatton's The Lansbury copyright lvb,

“Our style is very considered,” says Andrew Dunn, one half of Finchatton’s founders. “It’s not blingy and bright and flashy. The Lansbury embodies our core values: utmost quality and attention to detail, contemporary design with reference to heritage and longevity, and exceptional servicing.” Co founder Alex Michelin adds, “Everything’s custom made and bespoke. We designed every single piece.” As it turns out, even the napkins.

4 Finchatton's The Lansbury copyright

The look is art deco influenced. The ethic is arts and crafts inspired. The art is intrinsic to the whole. “It’s a slightly different organic sensibility,” says Jiin Kim-Inoue, Finchatton’s Head of Design. “Harmonious, inviting, an almost lived in look… The rooms shouldn’t be loud, not with such an incredible view.” Across the road, golden illuminated letters shout “Harrods!” “We’ve used fibres such as wool, cashmere and horsehair, combining them with metals and other natural materials to create cleverly textured surroundings. Walnut and polished sycamore work with bronze, brass and steel. Nero Argento marble and crystal sit alongside buffalo horn and shagreen.”

Monochromatic Mondrianic mirror mouldings, television surrounds and bookcases complemented by infusions of jewel tones: amethyst, garnet, sapphire. Book matched black marble bathrooms and vein matched white marble bathrooms. Herringbone, hessian, pinstripe, check. Check. Soft calf leather banister rails sewn on site. Stingray leather covered desks. The haves and the have lots are demanding.

The names of the artists and designers and artist designers Finchatton commissioned for The Lansbury read like the better half of the Who’s Who of interiors. A Bruce Monro crystal rain shower installation across the three metre wide street level window. Maya Romanoff hand painted wallpaper. Gayle Warwick embroidered bed linen. Rima & McRae plasterwork. Loro Piana cashmere.

5 Finchatton's The Lansbury copyright

The upper level of the 280 square metre duplex penthouse opens onto a roof terrace, an airy eyrie. Seating is arranged round a glass floor which doubles as the kitchen ceiling below. Spying on the chef has never been so easy. Later in the evening, a purchaser will pay a cool £1 million over the asking price for the penthouse. The communal elevator descends past three 170 square metre lateral apartments and a 130 square metre duplex apartment before reaching the ground floor triplex. This apartment dramatically drops two storeys below ground. Only in London would subterranean living be a high. One lower ground floor bedroom overlooks a three storey void; the other, a living wall in a light well. A cinema, gym and temperature controlled wine cellar – must haves – occupy the lowest level.

6 Finchatton's The Lansbury copyright

The Lansbury is timeless yet capable of registering the passage of time. The concise correlation between outer order and inner sanctum is a deeply felt subliminal recognition. Finchatton establishes a layered yet cohesive language through an association of material and space, a sense of balance, an understanding of the uplifting effects that space and light have on the human spirit.

7 Finchatton's The Lansbury copyright

As John Bennett wrote, “Wherever men have lived and moved and their being, hoped, feared, succeeded, failed, loved, laughed, been happy, lost, mourned, died, were beloved or detested, there remains forever a something, intangible and tenuous as thought, a sentience very like a soul, which abides forever in the speechless walls.”