Cleveland Gardens

Guided by our client’s vision.

As leading interior designers, our aim is always to put every ounce of creativity and effort at the service of our client’s vision. A fair bit of our initial contact is spent just listening; not planning, not promising, not even suggesting – just listening. Aside from giving us a realistic idea of costs and delivery times, this allows us to get a sense of what really is important to the client. Do they want to make a statement? Are they keen to create a haven of peace? What other projects are competing for their attention? Working like this eliminates mistakes by identifying core values that must be upheld, no matter where the design journey ends up.

Improving a centrally located, Grade II-listed gem.

These principles were put into practice when we got involved with a bold renovation endeavour at a prestigious London address. A three- bedroom period property needed to be brought up to a standard that would allow a private landlord to enjoy the kind of high market value rents achievable in such a centrally located area. Overlooking a picturesque square, a stone’s throw from London’s world-famous Hyde Park, Cleveland Gardens is a stucco-fronted gem that oozes class and distinction. There would be no structural changes to this period property, so with no permission issues or the need to move load-bearing walls, we could map out a design plan quite quickly.

Drawing up a bold, yet workable plan.

Working closely with the client, we settled for a timeless finish that would modernise the property while being guided and inspired by its original features. A neutral palette, combined with feature colours would be ideal for attracting the right kind of discerning tenant, while the right kind of design flourishes would make t stand out from the crowd. With floor plans drawn up and a quantity survey carried out, we were ready to take the following steps:

  • Kitchen relocation
  • New staircase
  • New bathrooms
  • Replacement flooring
  • Brand new paint scheme
  • Creation of an extra bedroom

So far, so routine, but the client also required a new air conditioning system coupled with extensive soundproofing to all areas of the apartment. The job called for pinpoint scheduling and rigorous project management.

With the client’s budget in mind and a 22-week timeframe, our team, led by project manager Amar, was confident that progress would be smooth. We have extensive experience of these type of projects and enjoy an ongoing, profitable and harmonious relationship with the client.

We keep the client’s primary requirements front and centre.

However, as was mentioned earlier, some things can take the design journey in unexpected directions and the twin requirements for the property to be a) air conditioned and b) comprehensively soundproofed, threw up some interesting challenges. Faced with these extra considerations and the possibility that the project might overrun its allotted 22 weeks; the design team chose to go back to basic principles. These dictated that the non-negotiables (in this case, underfloor heating and soundproofing) should be prioritised and that everything else should fit around them. Elegant solutions were required and that’s what the team came up with.

Triple glazing replaced the existing double glazing, and the heating system was partitioned into zones which enabled climate control to be assigned to individual rooms. These twin approaches meant that one consideration would not override the other – the client could enjoy total comfort and privacy within the confines of a period property situated right in the heart of the capital.

A design plan to dazzle and deliver.

With these major requirements taken care of, InStyle Direct could now focus on transforming the slightly unloved décor into something that would dazzle the senses and have prospective tenants cancelling any further viewings. Working on period properties means that you are not starting with a blank slate. This can actually be freeing, as it means that although certain aesthetics will be off the table, a good design team can take a few components and run with them.

In the case of Cleveland Gardens, an original fireplace provided both a focal point and a source of inspiration. Amar and the team went for an elegant, yet clean-lined look that incorporated Art-Deco inspired stylings and adventurous statement walls. Being an early-19th Century conversion, the property boasted large windows and high ceilings which allowed plenty of natural light in. In order to maximise this, the team installed eye-catching chandelier lighting, mirrors and super-slim door frames.These ensured that the light would be channeled into the furthest reaches of the house. Contrast was provided by a bold black and gold colour scheme that harked back to classic mid-20th Century stylings while staying tastefully modern.

Repositioning the kitchen allowed for the creation of a fourth bedroom and the installation of underfloor heating meant that wall radiators could be dispensed with. The extra space now allows the hallway to flow effortlessly into the reception and right through to the redesigned staircase. Herringbone patterned flooring and painted lower wall slat panels created a backdrop for the reconditioned period fireplace.

Perseverance and skill lead to immediate results.

It is a tribute to the team that the project only overran by two weeks and the results are nothing less than inspired. The client was able to ask for double the previous rent and landlords who may have been a bit wary about revamping their period properties are now planning to tackle projects they wouldn’t normally consider. Of course, should they decide to do this, we hope that InStyle’s proven success and experience will be a major part of their plans.