All things considered, a Janine Stone interior design project might just be one of the design world’s most guarded. Though the LuxDeco 100 designer’s name is well-known, after 33 years in the industry, a combination of high-profile clients and a proclivity for the discreet means that very little of Stone’s work can be shared. Of course, this makes any insight into her work a real treat.
In a classic quarantine move, I explored (remotely) one of the London interior design studio’s recent projects—a remodelled Kensington townhouse and a commission for an international family seeking to put roots down in Britain’s capital. The elegant residence proves to be one of the more understated and well-appointed spaces I’ve experienced of late.
“It’s all about style—contemporary, eclectic, classical…” the Janine Stone & Co. website explains, “Fusing exceptional interior design with a property’s architectural DNA to create unique and beautiful homes which reflect the client’s aspirations.”
It is in Stone’s beautiful west London townhouse project—a 6-bedroomed residence, housed in a classic red brick Victorian Revival building complete with ornate frieze and corbelled eaves—that that manifesto is, well, made manifest. Contemporary, eclectic and classical elements all feature, exceptional interior design goes without saying, and the property’s DNA (it stands in one of the Royal Borough’s enviably leafy squares), is indubitable.
One thing to be said about the home from the off is this: this is a London townhouse which appears to have stolen all of the natural light from the rest. Room-to-room, the home is illuminated in glorious, almost celestial, light and the studio’s design choices—inspired by the clients’ desire for a romantic Parisian-style apartment—pay homage to that. In the formal neutral living room, a pink-toned off white bathes the finely treated moulded walls; diaphanous drapes frame a trio of floor-to-ceiling windows; a custom wire chandelier by Belgian lighting brand Random suspends delicately overhead.
On one wall, a grand marble fireplace acts as a most appropriate focal point—a reminder, as always in a historical residence, of the home’s old soul upon which more contemporary elements can be layered. The atmosphere is one of quiet reverence and the result “met the client’s brief perfectly”. It seems to defy logic that such an elegantly designed home is set to invite a busy family with “two teenage daughters and an active, sports loving son of eight years” to stay. But, on closer inspection of the living room, there isn’t anything chosen for this space which wouldn’t be conducive for family living.
Furniture is low-key (and low profile in the case of the capacious contemporary sofas), accessories are beautiful though not too delicate (books feature greatly) and the five metre pale blue haze marble credenza—an exquisite custom design—is incredible in its form and function without being overbearing. But that’s not the only custom piece of note. Adjoining the living room is the informal dining area, an intimate area in which the family can enjoy a meal together. It houses another of the home’s unique custom furniture designs—a dining table inspired by none other than Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise. Designed by Janine Stone & Co.’s design director Anthony Bevacqua “when he discovered one of the clients was a fan of Sci-fi”, the piece was created by master French ébéniste SIGébène. A secret drawer along the table’s seam hides a leather covering which immediately transforms the table into a card player’s delight.
But inspirations aren’t the only unexpected element of the home’s design. Making the case for the most unexpected feature in the house, the study, which channels a slightly more gentlemanly look with a caramel and ebony colour palette, offers an overhead treat.
“The ceiling of this elegant Kensington gentlemen's salon, draws the eye to the exquisite joinery and specialist finishes produced by European artisans,” the studio explains of the Moorish canopy which is both an architectural feature and a remarkable art installation (though of a slightly different kind) all in one.
Elsewhere in the home is found another drawing room, this time a blue and white living room with intricate ceiling detailing, Adams-esque fireplace and modern light installation by Lindsey Adelman. A kitchen and breakfast room where “sleek white units in high gloss are offset with slate work surfaces and a charcoal rubber floor, lending an urban warmth” and where “the space is enlivened with flashes of colour from the client’s artwork and by the dining chairs in citron yellow.” And a cinema, morning room, dining room and 6 bedroom suites, being connected, floor-by-floor, by a lift (again, another element making all of the other London townhouses jealous).
“Here we have created a wonderful family home that blends elegant period features with all the comforts and joys of modern living,” Janine succinctly remarks of the project, ever reticent to disclose too much. But perhaps that’s the draw.
When one considers the multiple and diverse interior design companies London has to offer—both new and old—there’s one thing that remains singularly intriguing about Janine Stone and her hushed projects. Maybe in a world of minute-by-minute social media updates a little mystery does a designer some good. Keep your cards close to your chest and, when they’re revealed, they’re a grade-A Royal flush.