With its grand 19th-century bones and modern, elegant interiors, Boscolo’s recently completed Marlborough Mansions project tells a tale of London’s architecture and design evolution over the last 100 years.

Characterised by sky-high ceilings, original covings and immense bay windows, the storied three-bedroom apartment – situated within a West Hampstead mansion block – set its first scene as a high-end residence designed in response to the Industrial Revolution’s population boom. Calling on the skills of fashionable architects Boehmer and Gibbs, mansion block builder Edward Jarvis Cave erected the property in 1898, answering to the increased demand in the wealthy wanting to live in London.

Accelerating thoughts from the 19th-century to the here and now, leading London interior design firm Boscolo brings a new dimension to the narrative by giving the space a sensitive 21st-century upgrade. A redesign with an aesthetic so successful, the project earned the studio three accolades at the International Property Awards 2016.

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Image Credit: Boscolo

“Our main ambition for this project was to create a luxurious and timeless home,” explains Boscolo’s Design Director Gurjeet Hunjan. The property itself was the primary source of inspiration for the studio, who constantly sought creative solutions to enhance the existing period features from the moment you step inside. “A dropped ceiling in the hallway was designed to highlight the beautiful original coving yet maintain as much of the ceiling height as possible,” Gurjeet tells.

Gestural artwork introduces an abstract edge, which is echoed throughout rest of the property. “We chose expressive, emotive pieces that complemented the design scheme’s colour palette, and were keen to choose large pieces for high impact due to the large spanning walls and high ceilings,” says Gurjeet. The hallway’s specially commissioned canvas – scattered with golden touches – becomes the focal point of the space. A circular mirror, an elegant console and a simple array of accents complete the look with an air of effortless elegance.

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Image Credit: Boscolo

Distinguished serenity is the best way to describe the feeling that awakens as you move into the double-impact open-plan dining and living space. It’s a sentiment that’s triggered via contemporary tranquil colour palettes (think warm grey and beige hues mixed with smoked wenge tones) and sophisticated furniture choices to complement the building’s historic character. Button-tufted chairs bring a classic element to the dining room tablescape, while clean-lined cabinetry – topped with striking sculptural pieces – tips the design scales back to a more modern aesthetic.

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Boscolo

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Boscolo

LuxDeco Style Guide

Image Credit: Boscolo

Adding interest to the property’s largely neutral backdrop, the living room benefits from deep blue additions in the form of another abstract artwork and rich velvet sofas, which are dressed with geometric cushions in a silk and velvet fabric by Jane Clayton & Company. Gurjeet reveals: “We were keen to choose pieces with a beautiful, tactile texture, material or finish to contrast the clean, matte panelled walls.”

Metallic accents range from golden side tables to radiant tabletop trinkets by Michael Aram and Visual Comfort & Co.‘s svelte 8-arm chandelier, delivering luxe, warm touches from floor to ceiling.

The furniture selections were also made to be in keeping with the character of the property.

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Image Credit: Boscolo

Clean, new aesthetics are amplified most in the kitchen and bathroom, where functionality is at a height courtesy of marble surfaces, considered spacing and sleek proportions. “A touch of copper on the vases adds warmth to the kitchen,” Gurjeet notes, while the bathroom takes an ultra-pared-back approach to accessorising for calm, easy modern living.

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Image Credit: Boscolo

The bedroom showcases scale and texture. A soft taupe blind dresses the sash window, a super-tall upholstered headboard emphasises the enviable ceiling height, and plush carpet and cushions intensify comfort levels.

Continuing the smart, sympathetic interior design seen downstairs, Gurjeet explains how the studio worked around the structural limitations that come with period apartment blocks. “We were unable to remove the chimney breast in the master bedroom. So instead, we wallpapered and upholstered the chimney breast wall, making it the main design feature in the room. To either side of the chimney breast, we cladded the wall with a bespoke design mirror with bevelled detailing to create a sense of space.”  

As the history of design repeatedly tells us, being mindful of yesterday’s aesthetics and giving them a new part to play on a modern-day stage is so often a formula for masterful results. It’s Boscolo’s execution of fine contemporary interiors – whilst respecting and enhancing period elements – that gives Marlborough Mansions its incredibly on-trend yet time-enduring appeal.