Henry Prideaux’s most memorable project

By Elspeth Pridham
October 8, 2020

Interior designer, and BIID member Henry Prideaux, revisits the flat he refurbished in South West London 

What was the project? 
This project was the complete refurbishment of my own home – a slightly dilapidated, one bedroom garden flat in South West London, which was completely transformed and reconfigured to become a two bedroom flat featuring a small rear extension for a new kitchen, and a simple landscaped patio garden, perfect for entertaining.  

Where was this and when?
The flat was conveniently located near Battersea Park and Albert Bridge, affording quick access to Chelsea and many of the areas I found myself working on other projects. I bought the property in early 2010 and once planning permission had been granted, the project was completed within about five months.  

Who was the client?
I was effectively the client which made decision making more efficient. However, I wanted to create an original, eclectic space rather than focusing on one definitive style, so it took time to settle on all the different aspects of the eventual design.  

What was the brief?
This was going to be my first independent home in London, so I had free rein to design it to my own specific requirements. Particularly important was designing plenty of fitted joinery throughout the flat including a bespoke wardrobe to accommodate my clothes and a large collection of trainers! I also saw the project as an investment and was determined to add value by creating a second bedroom making it more saleable in the future.  

Why is this project your most memorable?
From a design perspective, I was able to experiment with some design techniques that I had wanted to test for a while. One of these was to decorate all the surfaces in a room in a single colour. I chose the master bedroom, in which the walls, ceiling, woodwork, fitted joinery and furniture were painted in a dark, inky midnight blue, with the carpet, upholstered headboard, window treatment and soft furnishings all finished in the same colour. The result was very dramatic and, although not to everyone’s taste, was the perfect room for falling asleep in and having long weekend lie-ins. I also wanted to add more detail to the space by creating faux panelling effect using ribbon applied to the walls. I used an off-white grosgrain by VV Rouleaux which contrasted wonderfully with the dark walls.  

The flat underwent several changes during my time living there, highlighting the adaptability of the design. The second bedroom became a dressing room when (my partner), Amy moved in, an office when I started my own interior design business, and a nursery when our son was born. The experimental colours and artwork were all eventually changed for something more family focused and commercially appealing.  

What did you learn from this project?  

The main thing I learned was to ensure that a design is adaptable and can evolve. A home that works long-term without having to spend too much making changes in the future is crucial. This can be achieved by having well- designed joinery that is multi-functional and designing rooms that can be adapted as families grow and needs change. Also, I recommend experimenting with design in your own home before you implement something inventive on a client’s home; well-made blackout curtains will stop any light penetration and are incredibly effective in bedrooms, sound insulation from neighbours can be a sound investment, and consider every available inch when designing valuable storage space.  

Elspeth Pridham was in conversation with Henry Prideaux. This feature can be read in the October issue of Studio Magazine

(photo credit: Tom Sullam)