Cheshire is famous for being one of Manchester’s swankiest residential counties – thanks in part to its high-profile footballer and musician residents but also because it is home to bountiful spectacular residences. Lebanese-born interior designer/architect, Janine Stone and her husband, Gideon (who is the Managing Director of Janine Stone), fell for one of these movie-worthy properties 10-plus years ago.
The object of their affection was a 100-year-old English coach house, which has since undergone, she says, “a complete transformation of the space including all interiors, new areas and landscaped gardens”. When you stand on the quiet street out the front (where the surrounding area is dotted with bushy green trees), tall walls and a large gate conceal a view of the home creating intrigue about what lies ahead. The moment the motorised gates begin to open a sanctuary is in view. Walking up the pebbled drive you arrive at a paved outdoor space complete with a sun lounger, outdoor lounge setting and umbrella. The meticulously placed mirrored wall – which creates an illusion of even more space – enveloped by vibrant green trees and perfectly groomed plants in pots are telling that this home belongs to a shrewd designer.
When you step foot inside there is an immediate feeling of grandeur from the amazing pieces of furniture and art housed here, but, also an undeniable feeling of light and calm despite the rich and warming colour palette – think chocolates, burgundy and eggplant. The ground floor contains the entrance hall, a cloak room and a grand staircase leading to the upstairs. Elsewhere on the lower level there’s a dining area, kitchen, drawing room, small library and an office.
Janine’s vast bedroom is on the second floor, which has a dressing room and one of the most magnificent bathrooms we’ve ever seen. Natural light floods into this space by way of two floor-to-ceiling window/doors. On the top floor there is also a second bedroom with bathroom, a walk-in wardrobe and small gym. When it comes to her favourite room in the house, she reveals, “I am fond of my drawing room and bedroom; they are at once warm, inviting and elegant. The view through to the terrace is a favourite too.”
The talented creative has an approach she favours in her home and that definitely extends to her interior projects too – attention to detail. Her work on this Cheshire property also favours bespoke designs. “Many of the pieces in my home have been specifically commissioned,” the petite brunette explains.
Despite her talent and clear natural abilities, a career in interiors wasn’t Janine’s first inclination. “I think I always wanted to be involved in something creative and from an early age I was inspired by my parents’ love of art and music,” the very welcoming, and almost shy, Janine divulges. “But doing something in film and advertising was my first thoughts on a career.” She started out in the creative area in a role as a make-up artist in TV and film. “Whilst this was happening I undertook some small interior design projects for friends. These proved successful and word spread with more projects. I soon realised that this was where my true talents lie and that career change, some 27 years ago, formed the beginnings of Janine Stone.”
With an interior designer father it seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Janine tells LuxDeco her dad taught her all she knows about design – “My parents are now retired but my father was a designer and artist and my mother designed couture clothes, so my early life was influenced by their creative talents.”
"I like rich colours; so the space is darkly sophisticated, warm and inviting."
Born in Lebanon, Janine cites the place she grew up in as an enduring source of inspiration. “I remember a place of sophistication and elegance and there was a wonderful vibrancy about the city,” the acclaimed designer enthuses. “Its people, music and food have had a huge influence on my life.”
With this house in Manchester and an apartment in London’s prestigious Hampstead, it is Britain that Janine now calls home. “I have lived in Britain for many years so I feel very much at home here,” she says. “My Lebanese roots inspire my personal taste and I tend to favour a warm and rich colour palette which lends a sophistication and depth to a room.”
It is this elegant style – which is embodied in this gorgeous home – that has imbued Janine’s eponymous interior design and architecture firm with such success over the years. Boasting a team of 50 architects, designers, craftsmen, project managers, technicians and builders and with offices in London, Manchester, Moscow and Milan, the firm specialises in developing, refurbishing, designing and building extraordinary private residences.
From high-profile clients – whose identities are tightly kept under wraps (so very classy) – to projects all over the world, what defines both her work and Janine’s home is that finesse. “Embarking on an interior design project,” she explains, “is similar in many ways to beginning a fascinating journey with each client. Every client is different in every way; how they live and ultimately how they want to live. I really try to understand the ‘person’ and then it is possible to produce a design that meets every aspect of the brief whether it is classical or contemporary treatment.”
"I am fond of my drawing room and bedroom; they are at once warm, inviting and elegant. The view through to the terrace is a favourite too."
As one of Britain’s foremost designers, and with international acclaim, Janine has had all sorts of requests for her residential projects from her affluent clientele, including a 30,000 square foot leisure complex extension with a bowling alley, an art gallery, a walk-in humidor, a chapel and hairdressing salon. “I’m always excited about being able to enhance my clients’ lives,” she smiles, “and the way they want to live.” It is this part that Janine says she finds “hugely satisfying,” and the obvious reason that she has continued to be seen as the best at what she does since 1987.
Extremely friendly, warm and bubbly, Janine is also a very modest person. Perhaps this is why she doesn’t seem affected by her clout in the industry. Breaking free of the interior-diva mould, she takes the time to nurture her field. “I wanted to give back to an industry that has rewarded me with a wonderful, enduring career,” she explains of the Young Interior Designers Award (yida-award.co.uk) she set up in 2011. “We set out to connect the UK’s young design talent with some of the most successful companies and design businesses in Britain today.” Each year she offers the winner a £10,000 cash prize and six-month paid internship at her London office. Paving the way for a new generation of design talent, there is a lot that can be enjoyed from Janine’s accomplishment.
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