See Inside Interior Designer Beata Heuman’s London Home - The Gloss Magazine
2 weeks ago

See Inside Interior Designer Beata Heuman’s London Home

12 MIN READ SAVE

In her own home, Swedish London-based interior designer Beata Heuman combines bright colour, mischievous elements and a family-friendly aesthetic …

When I was a child, my world was one road long: the tree-lined drive up to the house where we lived. I grew up in a tiny hamlet, made up of my family’s farm and almost nothing else, in Skåne, in the south of Sweden. I had my three siblings for company, but could go for weeks without really seeing anyone else until I started school, which begins at age seven in Sweden. Our home was everything to me and that feeling – that this one place can encompass all that you need – has never left me. Even in less isolated circumstances, home is a powerful thing for children. Not only is it the dominant place of a child’s existence, but our senses are heightened when we are little. Everything is new and in technicolor, and impressions are felt deeply. Childhood helps to form our understanding of what home is and what we might want it to be; allowing our inner voice to be heard is invaluable when trying to connect with what home means to each of us.

I have gone from growing up in rural Sweden to living in the vast city of London. There is a generosity about how the English live, and how they welcome guests into their homes. It feels relaxed and open, and there is a worldly air about the place. This is definitely something that has affected my view of home and how I would like to live, especially as my interests, needs, and priorities shift as time goes by. That said, the thing that strikes me is how little has really changed. The core remains within, and it still influences what I seek when it comes to the environment around me. The older I get, the more strongly I feel it. It is not all that I am, but recognising everything I still have in common with the child I was is to me one of the pleasures of getting a little older.

Many aspects go into building a home: the architecture, the functionality, the local vernacular, and so on. These are all important, of course, but too often the most intimate and emotionally engaging part of building a home – creating a sense of sentimentality in the space – is neglected, most notably by commercial property developers. Anyone who has walked into a showhome in London will understand what I mean – invariably a monstrosity in flame-retardant graphite upholstery and nasty dark wood veneers, with glaring spotlights leading you from “en suites” to the “family lounge,” each room more depressing than the next. It is not built to last for generations.

It is not there to meaningfully connect with you. There are no layers of history beneath. In fact, it is shamelessly the opposite: a bland, conformist, empty ideal presented to prospective buyers in the name of “luxury.” Spending time there won’t make you feel good, because of the complete lack of anything sentimental or personal. It is soulless design with no sense of place, and because of how prescriptive this look is, it is almost impossible to add layers to, and so it mostly just stays that way.

The fact that this hopelessly dreary and already dated style remains the face of a multibillion-pound industry is baffling to me.

Beata Heuman at home. (Photograph: Chris Gloag, stylist: Violet Naylor-Leyland)

Instead, think of a moment when you come across an item that meant something to you as a child; there will be a leap of the heart and a flurry of emotion within. Recognising something personal is comforting, uplifting, and sweet. It means something. The interior of my house in London is an example of all the subjects I touch on in my new book and is a reflection of both my past and that of my husband’s. Many of the objects, especially the artworks, are from our family homes. Having familiar items from way back makes me feel more connected to my house in London but also to my home in Sweden and growing up. It is nice to think that these same things will in time evoke memories for my own children. Why aren’t we more actively trying to include moments like this in our interiors? The importance of the sentimental should not be underestimated. In the words of Billy Baldwin, “Nothing, and I mean nothing, is interesting unless it is personal.”

Your home will continue to evolve with you through life, taking in whatever comes your way and reflecting you and your family’s past and present. It needs to be a fold for all the experiences you go through, which is a completely individual journey. That is why any sort of uniform style never seems quite right to me in a residential setting. A singularly modernist interior can leave me awestruck. But how can life take place there when relaxing in your armchair disturbs the aesthetic? A prescriptive style is a fascinating way to explore a concept. At its best, it is a work of art. It can work very well in a restaurant or a hotel where you have an experience for a night or a few days. But to me, it is not an environment to call home.

If a space does not allow you to be your complete self, how can you be happy there? We are all different and contradictory in nature – serious and silly at once. I think we need this complexity reflected in the things around us to feel stimulated and at ease. We are more than just one thing.

The home should be a true reflection of who you are and where you are, but you also want to make sure your surroundings are the best versions of themselves, to serve your intentions for the kind of life you want to lead. It is not the easiest point to illustrate, but the same idea lies behind religious buildings. Places of worship are designed to inspire their congregations and help them access a range of emotions through architecture and iconography. Your surroundings affect you consciously and unconsciously, and we should all aspire to construct a home environment that helps us to be the person we want to be. An interior can enrich your life, and can even open your mind to certain ideas. You need to seek the right combination of whatever matters to you.

So, what is home? The answer could be a simple list of what you need: a place to sleep, a place to eat, a place to wash, a place to store things, a place to read, a place to sit with friends. All of this is true. What is also true is that the main spaces we occupy shape us, more than we might realise, and all too often there is a dislocation between people’s home design and their personalities. Like anything worthwhile, it will take time and effort to work out what home means to you, and even longer to build an environment that is a true reflection of who you are. In my new book, I hope to help make the process a little less daunting. You will, of course, not always agree with my reflections, but when there is friction, it might help you to find your own answer. What I can say for sure is that if you persevere and put some effort into it, you will find that creating a real sense of home will bring you comfort, joy, and excitement. I believe that if you are happy in your home environment, you will feel a sense of fulfillment and wellbeing, and your home can become what I think all interiors should be: truly life enhancing. Not worth anything, but combined together they become a personal expression of what is happening in this moment in time.

Every Room Should Sing by Beata Heuman is published this month by Rizzoli, £45

Photographed by Simon Brown

In our living room, there is an oscillating line starting with the rattan chair, across the fire guard, following the lyre shape in the cabinet and over the back of the Wave Longue day bed in the bay window. The Lyre cabinet and Wave Longue are now part of my studio’s furniture collection. The artwork above the fireplace is an antique royal banner from the former West African Kingdom of Dahomey.

The breakfast room table is by Axel Einar Hjorth. The stoneware clay Cormorant and Egret mirrors by Gail Dooley were made specially for the room and the doors lead onto the terrace and garden at the back. The artwork above the fireplace is by Swedish artist Marianne Stalin. The wallpaper was made for the room by Tibor; the design was taken from an old biro scribble Tibor Reich did at university in Leeds in the late 1930s.

The kitchen’s glass ceiling was inspired by patisserie ceilings from the turn of the last century in Stockholm and Copenhagen. The blue cabinet hides the refrigerator, and all the bespoke cabinet handles were handmade in Florence.

The hallway leading into the bedrooms and bathroom. The mirrors above the doors emphasise the height of the small space.

The seagrass wall covering in the hall is more resistant than paint, which is important in a narrow space. It is also a good backdrop for pictures. We have a radiator here, but we also needed a table, so this is the bespoke piece I designed out of necessity.

The oversized headboard was made using a throw, with a generous velvet border added to fit the bed’s width. The small copper etching over the bedside table is by the artist Vanessa Garwood. It depicts Meme Buendía from One Hundred Years of Solitude waiting for her lover, with the air filling with butterflies just before he arrives. The black mirrors are Edwardian.

My daughters’ bedroom. The mural is a copy of the one at the Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle hotel in New York. The chest extends into what was once a fireplace cavity behind. A vintage Audoux-Minet rope pendant hangs on the ceiling. The fabric on the headboard is my studio’s Palm Drop.

Our little garden house, which we call “Chatsworth,” a name we inherited from the previous owners of the house. The enormously deep loveseat is my favourite place to sit!

Our terrace as seen from the garden house. The open doors look into the breakfast room. The wall lights are my studio’s Gentle Giant Lanterns. Playing with scale can add a bit of theatre without going too over the top. The lights here before were half the size and didn’t look half as nice.

In our living room, there is an oscillating line starting with the rattan chair, across the fire guard, following the lyre shape in the cabinet and over the back of the Wave Longue day bed in the bay window. The Lyre cabinet and Wave Longue are now part of my studio’s furniture collection. The artwork above the fireplace is an antique royal banner from the former West African Kingdom of Dahomey.

The breakfast room table is by Axel Einar Hjorth. The stoneware clay Cormorant and Egret mirrors by Gail Dooley were made specially for the room and the doors lead onto the terrace and garden at the back. The artwork above the fireplace is by Swedish artist Marianne Stalin. The wallpaper was made for the room by Tibor; the design was taken from an old biro scribble Tibor Reich did at university in Leeds in the late 1930s.

The kitchen’s glass ceiling was inspired by patisserie ceilings from the turn of the last century in Stockholm and Copenhagen. The blue cabinet hides the refrigerator, and all the bespoke cabinet handles were handmade in Florence.

The hallway leading into the bedrooms and bathroom. The mirrors above the doors emphasise the height of the small space.

The seagrass wall covering in the hall is more resistant than paint, which is important in a narrow space. It is also a good backdrop for pictures. We have a radiator here, but we also needed a table, so this is the bespoke piece I designed out of necessity.

The oversized headboard was made using a throw, with a generous velvet border added to fit the bed’s width. The small copper etching over the bedside table is by the artist Vanessa Garwood. It depicts Meme Buendía from One Hundred Years of Solitude waiting for her lover, with the air filling with butterflies just before he arrives. The black mirrors are Edwardian.

My daughters’ bedroom. The mural is a copy of the one at the Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle hotel in New York. The chest extends into what was once a fireplace cavity behind. A vintage Audoux-Minet rope pendant hangs on the ceiling. The fabric on the headboard is my studio’s Palm Drop.

Our little garden house, which we call “Chatsworth,” a name we inherited from the previous owners of the house. The enormously deep loveseat is my favourite place to sit!

Our terrace as seen from the garden house. The open doors look into the breakfast room. The wall lights are my studio’s Gentle Giant Lanterns. Playing with scale can add a bit of theatre without going too over the top. The lights here before were half the size and didn’t look half as nice.

LOVETHEGLOSS.IE?

Sign up to our MAILING LIST now for a roundup of the latest fashion, beauty, interiors and entertaining news from THE GLOSS MAGAZINE’s daily dispatches.

Newsletter

Pin It on Pinterest