Making people forget about the outside world is a skill that only some interior designers possess. For Bryan O’Sullivan of the Bryan O’Sullivan Studio, creating places where people feel comfortable and at ease is the key to unlocking that sanctuary-esque sense of home. When he was referred to the owners of this family house by Martin Brudnizki (a designer he admired and had once worked for), the brief was to re-invent the interior and create a calm and tranquil retreat.
After more than a decade in the house, and with their two children now teenagers, it was time for a change. What began as a gentle upgrade of the double-fronted Victorian soon morphed into a bigger project as the clients could see the positive impact of O’Sullivan’s thinking. When they had first acquired the house, their then architects oriented every aspect towards the admittedly lovely views front and back but in doing so, focused less on how the spaces flowed. O’Sullivan determined that the connection with the garden and the relationship between one room and another were key to reorganising the floor plan. He set about opening a number of rooms to reinforce the connections between rooms, immediately creating a grander sense of space. This did involve structural work as walls were taken down and rebuilt with wider openings. Remarkably, this structural reconfiguration and the restoration of original details took only three months before the house was ready to furnish.
With one of the couple a well-known and successful restaurateur, the other involved in cultural philanthropy and both with a keen interest in design and art, the focus was on producing a functional home that always looked elegant and felt comfortable and restful. O’Sullivan advised adopting a neutral palette as the backdrop for the couple’s art and furniture, instantly bringing unity, calm and cohesion to the space. This approach is very successful in the main living areas on the piano nobile, where the pair of sitting rooms read as one, and on lower ground level where the kitchen and breakfast room and sitting room overlooking the garden are a fluid sequence of spaces. The kitchen, handcrafted by Crispin & Gemma, is a combination of warm timber and marble, inspired by the clients’ old butcher’s block. This sense of craftsmanship is carried throughout with a combination of antiques and bespoke pieces designed and commissioned by BOS Studio.
For the sitting rooms on the piano nobile, the Bryan O’Sullivan Studio designed sofas upholstered in green velvet specially for the space and simple bookshelves for either side of the fireplace as well as a glass and brass coffee table.
The rugs are by Limited Edition, and the leather chair is from Soane, London. The gesso convex mirror above the fireplace is by Ochre.
In the garden room sits a bespoke sofa designed by BOS Studio.
The Bryan O’Sullivan Studio-designed kitchen was made by Crispin & Gemma Furniture Design.
Several pieces were designed especially for the house by Bryan O’Sullivan, including the striking fireplace in the master bedroom.
The kitchen table is the client’s own with chairs by Fritz Hansen.
In the dining room, the light is maximised by the use of églomisé mirrors by Rupert Bevan on either side of the fireplace. The rosewood and brass dining table is by Jonathan Burden, as are the lamps. The dark pewter dining chairs are by Fiona McDonald, the rug by Limited Edition. The round mirror is by Ochre.
In the dressing room, a bespoke ottoman by BOS Studio and rug by Limited Edition. The chair is black cord and walnut from H Furniture. The artwork is from the clients’ collection.
The marble cantilvered vanity in the master bathroom was designed by BOS Studio. The round steel mirrors with pewter finish are from Jonathan Burden.
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