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Tour a Mayfair Pied-à-Terre With a Subtly Fabulous Kitchen

Art: Gabrielle Raaff

While many Americans associate London living with classic Regency and Georgian row houses or the Victorian Gothic Revival dwellings of the 19th century, the city’s modern side is just as compelling. Case in point: a young family’s recently finished home that occupies a new building in Mayfair, in collaboration with interior design by Sophie Ashby, the founder and creative director of Studio Ashby.

These particular clients likewise represent the contemporary, global side of the UK capital. Although they’re based in Hong Kong, the couple and their three children spend a portion of the year in London, and needed a pied-à-terre during their time in the city. Ashby set out to create a fresh look that matched the family’s youthful, well-traveled spirit. “The location and the overall space were a perfect fit for them,” says Ashby, who wanted to create an “interior language and materiality so the apartment could be more enticing by injecting some flair and personality to the space” and who will include the project in her upcoming Rizzoli book, out this spring. According to the designer, this gave the project a sense of freedom, with none of the restrictions around heritage listings or having to navigate the intricacies of historical architecture. “In effect, we had a blank canvas,” she says.

Ashby had worked with the client before on another property, and had gotten to understand their taste well—but most importantly, she understood the way they live. “As an antidote to the fast pace of their lives,” she explains, “this apartment was created to provide a sense of calm, relying on natural materials as well as some very special artworks.”

To that end, Ashby chose a base palette of neutrals that forms a restrained backdrop: pale oak floors, bleached poplar cabinets, walls painted in soothing shades of cream and putty, and plenty of marble that evokes a feeling of permanence. The open kitchen, with its polished yet substantial surfaces, is perhaps the best representation of the design thesis. As Ashby explains, “The kitchen was the most rewarding room to me. I’ve been wanting to work with bleached poplar burr for a long time, but hadn’t found the right project in which to use it before. I also love the carved oak island and feel like the two timbers work really beautifully together.”

The sense of tranquility is punched up by several striking works of art, with an emphasis on rising young talents including South African painters Anico Mostert and Lara Feldman, photographer Lily Bertrand-Webb, French textile designer Isabelle Hayman, printmaker Katherine Jones, and the Vienna-based mixed media artist Max Freund. Combined with a collection of vintage vases, books, crystals, and tribal sculptures, the overall aim, as Ashby explains, was “to showcase exciting, emerging artists from across the globe, incorporating a diverse range of works and objets d’art that balanced traditional and contemporary influence.”

Bespoke items that Ashby designed herself are in the mix, too, such as a games table in the living room, which has a rotating board (that allows you to play chess on one side and mahjong on the other). “While this apartment isn’t their primary residence, it was really important for the parents that the space supported the children’s passions and hobbies,” says Ashby. “There’s an upright piano, and the study and library offer lots of space to do crafts and illustration.”

As for the designer’s favorite room, “it would have to be the primary bedroom,” she says. “The client specifically asked for it to be all white, which has never been requested before—but it was something I had always dreamt of doing. Once you start playing around with and layering the textures together, you realize it’s still possible to create so much interest without any color. It feels gloriously peaceful.”

Shop out the look of the house here

The entryway is anchored by Blue Water Lilies, a painting by artist Lilia Orlova-Holmes. The bench is swathed in Bee’s Knees by Donghia. Toucan Bench from Sister by Studio Ashby.
Displaying objets d’art—including linocuts, ceramic lighting, vintage vases, books, crystals, and tribal sculptures—across the shelving adds visual interest and creates a dynamic focal point for the open-plan living room. At its center is a painting by British artist Abhayavajra Newman, which also cleverly hides the television. The custom wool rug is by Christopher Farr and the ottoman is upholstered in Teyssier’s Firenze flame stitch linen.
The creamy hued walls and de le Cuona curtains and pale oak floors set a calming tone in the open-plan dining room. The aged brass and porcelain Trapeze : 5 mobile pendant light from Apparatus Studio hangs above a Porro Materic stained oak table surrounded by Lema’s Hati ash and twine armchairs. The painting is by Liam Stevens via Francis Gallery.
In the kitchen bleached poplar burr cabinets create a neutral-toned frame for the marble backsplash. The island features a smooth lava stone top and a gauged oak base, which is lined with leather and faux-bamboo brass bar stools by Rose Uniacke.
Ashby used a layered lighting approach in the all-white primary bedroom, with a mix of wall, floor, and table lamps, including Kalmar Werkstätten’s Zweig brass and linen wall lights, Vaughan’s hand-carved alabaster Genoa bedside lamps, and Marta Sala’s Guya Classic Standing Light. Tactile textures include the padded three-paneled headboard, framed in limed oak, as well as R&Y Augousti’s parchment nightstands with beveled drawers. Over the bed hangs a work by New York–based artist Yoona Hur.
The centerpiece of the primary bathroom is the pitted, poplar burr vanity unit, accented by a marble countertop and backsplash, as well as antique brass hardware. The vanity mirrors were designed by Studio Ashby.
The centerpiece of the primary bathroom is the pitted, poplar burr vanity unit, accented by a marble countertop and backsplash, as well as antique brass hardware. The vanity mirrors were designed by Studio Ashby.
Another view of the primary bathroom, with its marble-lined, deep soaking tub and recessed towel rack.
Another view of the primary bathroom, with its marble-lined, deep soaking tub and recessed towel rack.
Framed Emma Howell watercolors add vibrancy to the cheerful kid’s room. The beds, with their heart-shaped headboards by Ben Whistler, are flanked by bespoke bedside tables by Justin Van Breda.
Artwork features prominently in a guest room, with a series of garden-inspired paintings by Wales-based artist Lisa Hardy. The headboard is by Ben Whistler, covered in fabric by Raoul Textiles; patterned bespoke bedside tables are by Justin Van Breda, lights by Naomi Paul, and table lamps by Audo Copenhagen. The cushions are covered in a Clarence House fabric.
As in the primary bathroom, a pitted, poplar burr vanity unit defines a guest bathroom, topped by rosso levanto marble and antique brass finishes, alongside a vanity mirror by Studio Ashby.
As in the primary bathroom, a pitted, poplar burr vanity unit defines a guest bathroom, topped by rosso levanto marble and antique brass finishes, alongside a vanity mirror by Studio Ashby.

Shop it out:

Tufted Ottoman

$3800.00, Nickey Kehoe

Idris Oval Mirror

$398.00, Lulu and Georgia

Zweig Wall Sconce

$2083.00, Lightology

Beke Silver-plated Table Lamp

$399.00, CB2

Studio Ashby: Home Art Soul Book

$57.00, Amazon

Toucan Bench

$4635.00, The Expert

Bettie Velvet Throw Pillow With Down-alternative Insert

$100.00, CB2

Emmett Platform Bed

$2298.00, Lulu and Georgia

Notes In The Fog No. 1 Framed On Canvas

$1599.00, Wayfair

Raw Brass 2 Arm Wall Lamp

$398.00, Etsy

Areca Pillow Cover

$75.00, Oka

Noah Velvet Headboard

$329.00, Urban Outfitters

Snug Throw

$98.00, Lulu and Georgia

Marcel Bedside Table

$1195.00, Soho Home

Sizikato Bedside Glass Carafe with Glass

$16.00, Amazon

Alabaster Swirl Table Lamp

$320.00, Soho Home

Hatter + Lantern

$475.00, Goodee

Silas Table Lamp

$165.00, Soho Home

Vintage Rattan Cabinets Night Stands- a Pair

$1850.00, Chairish

Hayes Faux Mohair Throw Blanket

$79.00, Pottery Barn

Moroccan Boho Throw Pillow

$178.00, Etsy

Organic Kitchen Counter Bar Stool

$3538.00, 1stdibs

Copper Salt & Pepper Mills

$256.00, Williams Sonoma

Mateo Large Acacia Board

$60.00, Crate & Barrel

Astraea Round Dining Table

$990.00, AllModern

Matera Dining Armchair

$895.00, Design Within Reach

Greenwich 23" Chandelier

$1589.00, Rejuvenation

Emery Linen Pinch Pleat Curtain

$209.00, Pottery Barn

Form No_001 Sculpture

$874.00, Chairish

Pogo Brass And Cane Floor Lamp

$499.00, CB2

Connection Shaggy Area Rug

$1795.00, Nordic Knots

Decorative Teak Wood Bowl

$70.00, Burke Decor

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest