When it comes to interior decoration most fear pattern and colour. I have never understood why especially when the results can be so effective and stylish.
You can imagine then how thrilled I was when I met a client who wanted to turn his newly developed apartment into something more individual and fun. I had found an accomplice! I heard later during the project that other interior designers had turned the project down for not being big enough. A tight budget in our studio is an opportunity to be even more creative rather than just relying on expensive products.
The key to that creativity? Yes you’ve guessed it, being playful with pattern colour.
A late Georgian house is always a temptation and this one managed to draw Studio Hopwood all the way across town. On three floors with high ceilings and nicely proportioned rooms, so no case of having to turn a sows ear into a silk purse this time.
This house has a new angle though, as it was bought by a young French couple and we wanted their home to reflect both of them without looking like some cliché.
The budget was generous but the house is large and so much care was taken in spending it well to achieve a lived in home. Sourcing from markets, trawling eBay, making our own art, updating an existing kitchen a little bit of up-cycling but also building bespoke pieces and only buying the best.
Commissioned by a young American based in Bermondsey wanting to celebrate his time in London with a cool cutting edge, interior designed penthouse apartment. There were no holds barred and so yes I had some fun with this project.
The design is all about contrast, rough with the polished, old and the new, night and day. From a raw wood dining table reflecting in the polished steel ceiling panel to a bar made from scaffolding planks next to a bespoke kitchen designed in house using new interesting materials and cantilevered panels. My favourite though are the large comfortable French arm chairs covered in rocking Timorous Beasties textiles ideal for lounging on whilst reading the Sunday papers.
Do check the captions on the images for more details.
Just occasionally, in fact only once has a client landed at our door who has no budget constraints and a great art collection. Here is the result of our collaboration. For this fantastic South-West London property, we created a practical family home with plenty of space for entertaining both formally or for just hanging out. We had fun mixing old and new, eBay and fine antiques, we also created some bespoke pieces which turned out to be not as expensive as you think.
For two brothers we created a self-contained apartment within a new basement dig out. It was a large challenging space which we broke down into two bedrooms and bathrooms, a large party room with kitchen and a closed off cinema room with terrace.
All joinery including the kitchen was created by us at a fraction of the cost of Wigmore Street and tailored specifically to our clients’ needs. The need to party! Consequently we created a dark and moody scheme with bright splashes of colour, using durable material nothing can break, even those highly polished lacquer surfaces which are, in fact, a special acrylic that can be re-polished. Character has been added by blending some family hand me downs and twentieth century vintage.
The brief was for the best and the best can be expensive but there is no doubt the apartment will keep on shining throughout the boys’ bachelorhood.
Approached by a young couple to transform their newly purchased mansion block flat, little did they know that we were about to turn their world around, literally.
The kitchen was lurking at the end of a dark corridor, miles away from the living room as is typical in mansion blocks. We moved it to the front and the master bedroom took its place overlooking the lush gardens.
We slotted in new tall doors, to create more flow between rooms and squeezed in lots of storage. Mrs. Client requested a glamorous bathroom, which we did and we also managed to create a second bathroom for him.
Using our consultancy service to keep our fees to a minimum, we created the design package including all drawings and specifications which the clients then instigated. We purchased furnishing, fixtures and fittings saving our clients’ money by using our trade accounts.
Sadly many modern developments are poor quality both in design and finish, despite being expensive to buy.
Studio Hopwood were approached by Canadian clients to turn their London home into something deservedly special.
A cool couple with high expectations were a joy to work with as creativity was unquelled.
The layout was improved including squeezing in a six seat dining space that also works as a kitchen island but the best bit was a new bookshelf/TV unit designed specifically for the project and has movable pods that can be colour changed at whim.
Thank you to www.sophiesmallhorn.co.uk for her art and www.skandium.comfor accessories.
We designed this London apartment with the intention to create a place where the owners could entertain lavishly. The result was inspired by Halston’s radical 70s New York apartment, layered in tones of white with a limited palette of materials.
The kitchen was relocated from the rear of the apartment and brought into the reception area to encourage open-plan living and to gain more bedroom space. Designed to fit an awkward space, crafted by hand using materials that would last, it was half the cost of leading designer brands.
We had fun transforming the small room where the kitchen used to live into a library with charcoal grey walls, bespoke bookcases and new sliding doors to a terrace. This became an intimate space, where evenings in front of the TV would be more inviting.
We convinced the client that the dining/entertaining space should be in the double-volume front room, which was perfect for their frequent parties. Lighting integrated into the bottom of built-in seating on the outer edge of the room, echoes with concealed lighting around the perimeter of the ceiling, and visually integrates the mezzanine study into the reception below.
In order to maximise floor space we managed to find some ingenious stairs that were lightweight, ready-made and good value. We worked with a talented woodsman to create a sculptural wall of rough-hewn oak, which harmonises the two floors.
The bathroom was reconfigured in order to install a large shower and hide the wc from view of the bedroom. We continued the layering of white tones, this time adding texture in the tiles.
The master bedroom is fitted with bespoke book-matched oak panels and an upholstered headboard inspired by Mies Van der Rohe’s iconic Barcelona chair.
Completion date: July 2012. Total cost including bespoke joinery (excluding furniture) £160,000.
I was appointed to create a pied a terre in London for an Italian family in a tiny Chelsea Town House.
My first presentation took place in their glorious home in Rome, there I discovered a family brimming with personality each wanting a little part of their London home. Consequently each room was quite different from the other. From a little girl's room where we designed a fairy tale castle to a meditation room laid out with tatami mats and bells. Those bells, what research. Quite a number were rung before we found the right one.
The family was not afraid to commission and looked to have a British feel. Not afraid of a bit of cushion fun I designed a pair with skull union flags which they love.
Funny isn’t it how I might have overseen a large building project and yet those cushions are still the stars of the show.
Given a neglected flat not touched since the 70’s apart from a few botched attempts, our clients wanted us to turn it into high yielding rental which we achieved with some smart spatial planning and great finishes.
The size of the flat is 170SqM. The budget was set at £220,000 including fees and VAT which works out to be £1294.00 per metre, a reasonable cost for renovation in central London for a luxury flat. The works were completed within time and budget.
Here are before and after shots to show the transformation. The owners let the flat immediately after completion.
Occasionally a jewel of a project comes through where a client allows creative freedom within their brief. Here is such a commission: designed to house a collection of glass and porcelain as well as the TV and inspired by the work of Eileen Gray.
Shelf supports are made of sandblasted perspex and act as lighting. Simplicity in design can be complex to achieve, this piece took three days to install following off site construction. The piece is unique and has made the sitting room. The cost including design and installation? £8000. Not bad for something that is bespoke. Designer, cabinet maker and client are deeply satisfied.
Having lived in his London pied-á-terre as a student, the Singapore based client liked the flat but as it was in the eaves of the building, it seemed fairly small. His wife, from China, was less keen especially when they discovered they were expecting a baby.
Studio Hopwood were called in to help and Daniel used his experience to introduce some clever techniques which made the apartment appear bigger. Colours, furniture and decoration were also used to introduce a Chinese feel to the flat.
As their first child was on the way, and the apartment was regularly used by friends and family while the couple were away, durability was an important factor in the redesign. Daniel made some seemingly small changes, which had a major impact on the perceived size and space in the flat.
A wall in the entrance hall was removed and replaced with a glass balustrade; all doorways were made taller so the rooms appeared to flow into one another; rugs were dropped into the oak floor so they sat flush and radiators were installed into wall recesses. All helped to give the apartment a more spacious look and feel.
Other changes included using a living-room console table as a hall table and adding two chairs to transform it into a dining table. A fold-down desk was added to the second bedroom so it could double as a study and a connecting door between that room and the master bedroom meant it could also function as a dressing room.
According to Feng Shui principles, the television disappears into a panel above the fireplace. By using black lacquer, gold and bronze wallpapers and a “touch of red here and there”, the apartment has Chinese style without being laboured.
This is a classic exercise in small apartment living. Located next to a square in Bayswater, this is Dan’s own home. Resisting the temptation to squeeze in two bedrooms, the flat was reconfigured from a wreck into a spacious 1 bedroom home. A sombre hallway with very tall double doors veneered in macassar ebony is in deliberate contrast to the bedroom and sitting room to make them feel even lighter and fresher. It is possible to leave the doors open and see from one end of the flat to the other, extending the eye and making the flat feel bigger.
The kitchen was handmade to squeeze into a fairly tight alcove and to wrap around next door’s staircase and yet was still good value. The key to successful small flat living is decent storage and here extensive joinery has been installed which tailors around the space for maximum effect.
Not wanting to lose the high ceiling in the bathroom yet also wanting to keep the proportions of the room, Dan created a pyramid top which was then up lit, perfect for mood lighting when taking an evening bath. Consistency of light colour with splashes of orange and green throughout the flat has kept it bright and friendly. The furniture is a collection of twentieth century classics combined with vintage glass and pottery.
The Berkeley Hotel has always been one of the coolest and most discreet hotels in London.
I was asked to take a look at the Chelsea Suite. I found it charming and original but the layout was wasteful and there was no circulation. I resolved to retain the charm but bring the layout up to date and return the glamour that once made the suite Peter Ustinov’s choice of residence when in town.
By removing the secondary entrance hall, I could double the size of the bathroom. Double doors were placed between the bedroom, bathroom and sitting room to improve flow in the suite.
With the spatial planning problems resolved, the suite’s décor could be reinvigorated, retaining the beautiful period features and introducing modern sophistication and style.
The bespoke interior incorporates a carpet evocative of 50’s “Mayfair Regency” that we specially designed for the suite and the curtains are made in a textile that is a revival of a 1930’s Venetian design by Rubelli.
A cast bronze bar was designed in the studio and made by Based Upon, a London-based team of artists and designers known for their large-scale artworks and sculptural furniture.
Crocodile-skin covered chairs have a hint of rock-star glamour; the aesthetic repeated in the bedroom with a wall upholstered in a satin fabric.
The bathroom was decorated with black granite and handcrafted marble mosaic tiles. This room was also given a secondary door as a “secret escape” into the entrance hall.
The redecoration of the Chelsea Suite has proven to be a great success for the Berkeley Hotel, with a new generation of celebrities – the staff whispered to me that it’s the favourite stop over for David and Victoria Beckham.
A Regency house which featured in House & Garden in the 1970’s had been purchased by a newly married couple ready to start their family life. Whilst stunning in its time, the house had become tired and needed updating, which paved the way for the rooms to be reconfigured to maximise space and views of the beautiful garden to the rear of the property.
Still learning the parameters of each other’s design tastes and wanting to achieve the best for the long-term, every detail needed to be considered from practical spatial requirements to selecting the right furnishings, so we were engaged to guide them through the possibilities and processes of this undertaking.
Evenings were spent with them pouring over drawings and samples in order to fully understand their needs, and to get a feeling of what they really wanted from their home. This process highlighted their differing tastes and shared desire to have a uniquely crafted interior with character, rather than relying on recognisable designer brands.
The key was to create rooms with individual personalities that would unite with consideration and attention to detail in material and colour choices. It would be a marriage of individuality and craftsmanship, with carefully sourced craftsmen and artists creating commissioned pieces for various rooms.
Spaces were configured to create specific areas for formal entertaining as well as private spaces for relaxation. The ground floor was the main family space with a kitchen that led into a conservatory-style dining room with doors leading out to the garden. These rooms were painted in a tranquil grey, soft greens contrasted with the striking red chairs in the conservatory, and black granite surfaces in the kitchen offset the bespoke cabinetry by Plain English. There is something re-assuring and familiar about the drawing room without it being old fashioned.
A family in Holland Park asked me to furnish their newly renovated home. The furnishing selection was very high end but not too scary as the clients were able to take advantage of my trade discounts.
I sourced furniture at the Milan and Paris trade shows but also worked with Ikea which I customised. As is the fashion, the clients wanted a scheme completely based on grey, to keep it interesting various textures from shiny satins to crunchy velvets were used. With the help of Warhol and Damien Hirst, I punched in some colour.
Trends, oh Trends, don’t we all just hate the thought of following a trend but spot a listing on social media and we are on it, checking to see if we are a step ahead.
I am fascinated by such predictions as they can reflect what is happening in politics, the economy and just general attitude to life itself. Trends eventually lead to a particular period having an identity, or, what’s called a Zeitgeist.
I believe that 2016 is going to be particularly interesting as we see people across the world bonding and standing against the current atrocities and as the economy is becoming more buoyant, daring to look forward. I wonder how these changes will manifest in interior design?
We might witness some contrasts, considering the economic improvements, a desire to move on from nostalgia and yet, at the same time there is a need for comfort and stability. A futuristic look may develop which is rooted in shiny, ambitious glamour, grounded by rough, honest materials. We might see luxurious materials such as rich tactile velvets in deep burgundies and warm rose pinks set against raw concrete and silvered, weathered wood.
We are already heading in this direction of modern glamour. The European furnishing shows last year were brimming with objects made in marbles and golds, I even saw an exotically patterned carpet. These opulent statements were set in contrast within honest, almost humble surroundings.
If we look back to the end of the Eighties, a similar era to now emerging out of recession, the passion for antique collecting was fading and punchy designs, introduced by the Memphis group, reigned. As we today start to look forward, we could be witnessing the death of vintage and upcycling, and current earthy colours being replaced with something more self-assured.
We have so much available to us these days as the high street is so affordable with lots on offer, changing style has never been easier. This gives the consumer many opportunities to be quite individualistic albeit spoilt for choice. I have no doubt though that the creative amongst us, will start customising and adapting what is available in the desire to have something unique.
If this sophisticated, almost theatrical look develops, it will complement our need to personalise our surroundings will give instant charm to the bland new apartments that people are having to buy into.
We are a fickle lot, so who knows if my predictions are correct but it will be interesting to see what choices we make in 2016.
The British Institute of Interior Design
More and more people are looking for interior designers on the internet. We know this because that’s where we get many of our inquiries, often with clients complimenting us not only our previous work but also the website design. It’s easy to be fooled, however, by the flashiness of a well made website, but how do you know that the designers that you are finding are bona fide? By this we mean having the right qualifications and experience in which you can trust – especially considering that refurbishing a home is one of the most expensive things that you can do in your life.
Well, there is a clue, and here it is: any self respecting interior designer will be a member of the government-recognised body; the British Institute of Interior Design. This is a professional body that does not take on just anybody by signing a cheque. Instead, to become a full member, there is a rigorous entrance process and it often takes a number of years to fully qualify. Candidates have to go through five stages, at each one demonstrating proof of both their knowledge and experience. Those with formal education qualifications, such as university degrees, step in at a higher level in the process. It is a proud moment for a designer to be accepted as a full member, but it doesn’t stop there. Members have to adhere to a program of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) to ensure their expertise in design process, practice and regulatory matters. The BIID is not only a great platform for designers to interact and grow, but furthermore, the guidelines for best practice that it sets for its members helps to ensure that the public are well protected.
Make sure that the designer you engage is a member of the BIID and has the logo on their website. Also, if you are a bit stuck finding the right designer, why not contact the BIID directly about your project and they will guide you in the right direction to find the best designer for you.
How Much Does it Cost?
We have just completed pricing / costing of our latest project, which is a rather grand looking mansion block apartment in St. Johns Wood. We are completely refurbishing the 189 sqm flat, including structural work, rewiring, new lighting, plumbing, decoration, extensive and elegant joinery, engineered wooden flooring – the whole works. We thought it would be a good exercise to see how much the project costs per square metre in order to create an equation to calculate costs on other potential projects.
Removing the figures relating to bathroom supply and installation, and the kitchen, we have boiled down the figure to £1,300 per square metre, which is inclusive of VAT and fees. To put this figure against your own project, we suggest that you add £15-20,000 per bathroom and in the region of £20-40,000 for a kitchen – unless you want to impress your friends with a posh, branded kitchen, in which case you should be prepared to invest closer to £50,-75,000. You may also need to reserve a figure of between £5-20,000 for a heating and hot water system.
The cost of our lovely mansion block flat, excluding any loose furniture or soft furnishing, totals at £339,000, including VAT and fees.
We are finding at Studio Hopwood, as with many other professional designers, that a project that involves building work needs to be more than £100,000 in order for us to make a living. Saying that, in the last year, my smallest project was £7,000 to design a delicious piece of furniture and at present, we are handling a project of £50,000 to furnish an apartment.
At Studio Hopwood, when selecting the right materials, we are looking for quality.
For example, in the picture above are two samples of engineered wooden flooring. Engineered wooden flooring is the most popular and practical way of laying a wooden floor in a home. In the picture above is shown one cheap wooden floor of approximately £35 per square metre and another of around £65 per square metre. The cheaper version, although first attractive, will only last a few short years before the thin layer of oak wears out. The cost of removing and replacing would be expensive. Furthermore, the engineering board base is also thinner, which means the floor will easily dent. The cheaper floor is also not graded, which means there has not been a careful selection of matching wood and the wood often can be heavily knotted. This can result in at least half of the wood supplied being unusable. All in all, it’s worth paying that little bit more and getting the right material in the first place.
Made in Britain
The Kensington & Chelsea Magazine showcases news concerning local residents and events happening in and around the Royal Borough, as well as intelligent and sophisticated features on property, places, products and services of relevance to its audience. Interviews with prominent people from different luxury industries in the local area also feature monthly. This month Dan has contributed to the magazine with a feature on British-made design.
A phrase from old Hollywood movies that still exudes glamour.
In order to do so elegantly, some sort of bar is required; from a tray with a bottle of whiskey, mixers and ice to a full on serving counter, stools, the lot.
It is certainly a concept that resonates with my clients. See the image above, of a drinks cabinet that I created. Doors slide into the lacquered frame to reveal a treasure chest backed in copper gilded glass, lighting and a sliding tray to mix drinks. Closed it turns into a discrete cupboard with elegant upholstered doors.
The desire for a bar at home inevitably follows when a sophisticated couple settle down, have kids, still party, but now at home.
Further out of town I have just completed designs for a new home which includes an entire party room with its own long bar, it’s almost a nightclub. A large project and so may be a while before I publish, exciting though, takes me back to designing Adam Street Club many years ago.
Fancy one? Check out this edgy bar called Rockstar from Buster and Punch if not I could make you one to your own specification but it will cost ya (but not as much as you think).
Founded by Daniel Hopwood in 1993, the studio is a multi-disciplinary practice that includes interior designers as well as architects and landscape architects. The aim is to remain a small, bespoke studio offering clients a creative and practical, but ultimately very personal, design service.
Projects are a mixture of residential and commercial work. Over the years we have worked on restaurants, both budget and Michelin starred, hotels from boutique to luxury 5-star, and private members’ clubs.
Personal recommendations form a great part of our heritage and private clients often return when they move home or their family grows.
The majority of the team has been part of the studio for many years, however, when possible, we welcome newly qualified design professionals as they bring in fresh ideas and skills.
The team has extensive professional experience and works efficiently within specific budgets and time frames. We always ensure that all possible costs and obstacles are identified and discussed before work commences on a project.
Presentations are created using a combination of 3D visuals, AutoCAD drawings and presentation boards created from our extensive in-studio reference and sample libraries.
We know that every client values their home and wants it to reflect their individual tastes and personality. Whether they want to be very hands-on, have little free time or live abroad, we adapt accordingly and deliver projects that combine the client’s vision with seductive glamour, cool subtlety and originality.
We believe that it is very important to engage and spend time with our clients during the evolution of the project, making the process enjoyable, accessible and fun for everyone involved .
We always ensure that the skeleton of the building is in good shape before dressing it. As much of our work is in based in central London, we have a wealth of experience with old and listed buildings.
Collaboration with the on-site team is essential so site visits are frequent and every detail of a completed project is quality checked before we hand it over to the client as the finished product, their home.
As well as visiting the main European trade shows including London, Milan and Paris, we are in close contact with the best ateliers and workshops, always looking for the most exquisite new and vintage products. To ensure our clients are guaranteed the best value, we pass on all trade prices on furnishings directly to them.
We also have access to an enviable collection of talented craftsmen and accomplished tradesmen, many of whom have worked with us for a number of years.
Occasionally some clients like to direct their own projects, with a little help and experienced guidance. The studio then acts as a backup team – being able to supply drawings, as a connection for trade purchasing, or even just as someone with whom they can bounce ideas. We aim to ensure that you leave our studio with a fully considered and designed scheme ready for implementation.
For this service, we charge by the day for working with us in-house and using our facilities.
Aware Interior Design is a career that requires both education and experience, I decided early on to enjoy the experience of getting there. I started as an assistant to a furniture buyer, learning how to recognise quality and where to find it.
As an admirer of beautiful craftsmanship, I spent a year learning stone and wood carving, gilding and polychrome work. Working for restorers, I gained knowledge of European antiques, which I still use today.
Graduating with a degree in Architecture, tutored in the Corbusian manner, I then joined the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture where I gained a classical training. I worked in various architects' offices, including the award-winning Hampshire County Architects. I had an opportunity to find and design an apartment for an architectural critic, and took the chance setting up on my own in 1993.
With years of valuable experience, the BIID has recently appointed me as Director of Continuing Professional Development. I am a guest tutor at the KLC School of Design and have worked as a trends consultant for Dulux. I often give talks at trade shows such as Decorex and 100% Design. I write about design for magazines and presented a series of "Britain's Best Homes" for Channel 4. I am happiest, however, working on projects either in the Studio, on site, or meeting with clients.
After graduating with both a BA Hons and Post Graduate Diploma in Architecture in London, Bashir has worked as an architect in the construction industry since 1999. He went on to qualify as a Chartered Architect in 2007 after gaining much experience in various architects’ offices.
Dan and Bash have worked together on a wide variety of projects for over 15 years and know exactly how each other works and complement each other very well. While specialising in delivering high-end residential properties, commercial projects have included working with clients such as the Dhamecha Food Group, ICICI Bank Plc and Bestway Holdings Plc. Over the years he has gained a wealth of experience delivering projects on short deadlines, and with his personable demeanour and strong communication skills, he takes pride in his work adding value to clients’ projects.
Bashir is a Registered Architect with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Architects Registration Board. He is also a Health & Safety CDM Coordinator and Party Wall Surveyor.
Is an interior designer and graduate of KLC school of design.
Karen has had a varied, 20 year, career spanning Wine Marketing, Finance, Banking, and Education before discovering her passion and aptitude for Design.
Born in Singapore, but educated in Australia and the United States, she has lived in London for twelve years. She has a Bachelors degree in Finance and a Masters in Child Psychology.
Karen’s international and multi-cultural background has helped shape her approach to design. Working with Daniel, she oversees at Studio Hopwood projects from concept to implementation.
Married and a mother of twin boys, Karen is living proof that parenthood and a career is possible.
Claire might be the youngest in the Studio but she is also the most qualified with an MA in Architecture from Edinburgh University and is well on her way with an MA in Interior Design from the University of Westminster. Not only is she highly qualified, she has a natural eye for design and is a brilliant spatial planner.
The best bit though she is really fun to hang out with. She originates from Cheshire but now lives in cool Brixton and is loving London and travels a lot.
Pia is a graduate in interior design with a BA from Kingston University and been a professional designer for a number of years.
She is Finnish but has spent most of her life in London.
Her passion for design is in the detail, she has extensive technical knowledge, draws like a dream but also loves being on a building site. She is also frighteningly organised, which is good thing in our industry.
She loves the countryside and is a horse rider which is quite a surprise as Pia is invariably the most fashionably dressed in the studio.
Carole was the administrator for Leith's Restaurants for many years and has looked after finances in the Studio for the last ten years. She is a crucial lynch pin here as we are often entrusted with the responsibility of handling clients’ money.
With his BA Hons and Post Graduate Diploma in Architecture from the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL, Gordon went on to complete his MBA through the Westminster Business School.
Gordon has an in-depth knowledge of current housing regulations and, while focussing on sustainability, specialises in creating high-end solutions across a range of projects, from basement conversions to zero carbon schemes. He is often called upon as a guest speaker at trade and industry conferences, and has been featured in a number of building magazines.
Gordon is a Registered Architect with the Architects Registration Board. He is also a member of the Association of MBA Alumni and an alumnus of University College London.