Case study: City Slicker
Designers Lana de Savary and Linda Morey Smith worked closely together to transform two central London townhouses
By Sarah Brownlee
The St James’s district of London is the salubrious setting for a residential development that is luxurious to the hilt without compromising its impressive architectural credentials. Two vertical, five-storey buildings have been transformed into one new building – comprising one three-floor penthouse with magnificent views and three apartments – for a project led by Lana de Savary, wife of entrepreneur Peter de Savary.
‘I tried to create the feeling of mega yacht making clever use of the space, flow and light to makes the areas feel bigger,’ she says of the overall design concept for 46 St James’s Place. ‘The areas feel much more spacious than the actual square footage would indicate.’
Architectural designer Linda Morey Smith was brought on board to realise de Savary’s vision. The integration of two former office buildings separated by a hefty spine wall proved particularly challenging along with the need to house all the infrastructure required of a high-end residential development while maintaining the character of the old property (the facade was left intact). But Morey Smith is most proud of the creation of a ‘summer lounge overlooking the chimney pots of London’, as she says, ‘the penthouse has incredible views, which are sufficiently high enough to avoid the hustle of the streets below, but low enough that there is a connection with the streetscape’.
Outdoor space overlooking St James’s Street and St James’s Square. That’s a pretty impressive view to take in over your morning coffee. The Sky Lounge roof terrace also has an indoor bar and dining space, for when the weather’s not permitting, with a feature wall made up of slabs of reclaimed Indonesian teak and Crinoline chairs in the foreground from B&B Italia.
Natural light floods into the main living space in the penthouse apartment spanning three floors. An open gel fireplace serves as a focal point in the room leading up to a raised dining area. Custom-made parquet flooring makes for an impressive finish and feel underfoot with furniture sourced from top brands including B&B Italia, Poliform and Minotti.
Chandeliers by Moooi, which are arguably more like artworks in appearance, hang above an impressive dining table from B&B Italia. The lightweight creations contain transparent lenses that catch and reflect the light but don’t detract from the room scheme as a whole. Sleek Doyl dining chairs, also from B&B Italia, are a light but luxurious addition.
Italian company Pedini is behind the high-gloss lustre of the kitchen units that are smart enough to show off but can be hidden from the view when necessary. Quality materials were used throughout the development and all the apartments feature bespoke ironwork, with door knobs covered in leather with cricket ball stitching from House of Eroju.
The design team worked hard to maximise ceiling height where possible. Raised ceiling areas were hand-gilded in silver leaf, as seen in the apartment lounge (above), and lighting cleverly concealed in coves to highlight the decorative craftwork. Distinctive J.J wood chairs from B&B Italia sit happily in the muted room set-up.
The bathrooms are all about the finishes. That includes the Island stone mosaic tiles lining the walls, the Pamchal marble flooring and the stained wenge and antique brown granite storage units. Superior sanitaryware was sourced from Crosswater and Alape with select fittings by Dornbracht.
Lana de Savary aimed to create a ‘subtle feeling of excitement, comfort and warmth’ in the bedrooms while providing plenty of storage space. Soft, or low-level, lighting is used to enhance the relaxation factor and on the highest floors skylights were installed to allow lashings of natural light in.