Cover A mural featuring birds in flight draws attention to the glossy black Steinway grand piano in the drawing room

This London townhouse by Katharine Pooley features an enchanting blend of bespoke details and jewel tones

The stately exterior of this Notting Hill townhouse surely has many passers-by wondering about its grand interiors. Truth be told, what lies within might exceed even the most exacting of expectations.

Owned by a jet-setting professional couple who live here with their two dogs, this luxurious 17,000sqft abode spans seven floors overlooking leafy private gardens. Its decor was entrusted to renowned interior designer Katharine Pooley, named British Designer of the Decade at the International Design and Architecture Awards in 2019.

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Pooley immediately knew this would be a project like no other. “This property was very much a blank canvas with tremendous potential to become a remarkable work of art,” says the designer, whose team completed the project in an impressive five months. “The rooms—large, light, and airy, with elegant period detailing—were predominantly white, and this seemed the perfect backdrop for a dramatic transformation. The building is undeniably beautiful, it just needed some personality drawn out of it.”

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Regular discussions with the owners helped Pooley solidify her creative concept. For instance, the husband’s appreciation for cutting-edge contemporary styles, which is rooted in his love of automotive design, inspired her to commission notable work from leading British ateliers, makers and artists for the home. According to Pooley, the joinery is exceptional; she engaged top English artisans such as Halstock, Silverlining and Interior-id to work on custom cabinetry for the townhouse.

Setting the tone is the grand drawing room, with a clean, contemporary aesthetic to balance out the generous use of ornate finishes. “There are so many beautiful bespoke pieces, it is like a gorgeous gallery space. We wanted guests to return many times and always notice something new and extraordinary,” says Pooley.

From the interconnecting crystal ellipses of the chandelier, which hangs glimmering in the light of the fireplace, to the hand-painted Fromental wallpaper panels and glossy black Steinway grand piano, there is an abundance of details to feast one’s eyes on. Fancy a tipple? Raise your glass to the craftsmanship of the straw marquetry of the bespoke bar counter.

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The living and dining rooms share the same amber accent to evoke a “warm, intimate and less formal” atmosphere. Nevertheless, extraordinary pieces still abound, such as the agate-inlaid dining table and silver travertine fireplace. But the real showstopper might just be what goes on behind the scenes.

At the client’s request, the home is equipped with a commercial kitchen that caters to numerous guests with “Michelin-level cooking”. And that is not all—Pooley’s team also created a show kitchen that opens up to the dining room to offer guests an intimate private dining experience.

“This client has a wide friendship and family circle which he takes great pleasure in entertaining and hosting at his home,” explains Pooley. “So, we carefully designed the space to ensure the client can seamlessly impress his guests.”

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Pooley playfully calls the seven rooms in the home her “rainbow palette”, as she used a different jewel hue in each room to differentiate the spaces from one another; these range from cobalt blue and canary yellow to amethyst purple and emerald green. She paid careful attention to the cobalt blue-hued master bedroom to create a picture of refined elegance.

“My ambition was to create a seamless and elegant design narrative across the entire master bedroom suite,” explains Pooley. “The large, airy space is the perfect backdrop for a statement headboard, intricately handcrafted bespoke bedside tables with straw marquetry and suede inlays, and large statement paintings and sculptures for the art-loving client.”

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Spanning an entire floor of the townhouse, the master suite incorporates a marble-clad bathroom as well as his and hers dressing rooms. Adds the designer: “The overall effect is of a private and cocooning retreat: peaceful, comfortable, and undeniably luxurious.”

The subterranean games room is a delightful surprise. With a malachite-and-bronze bar, bespoke poker table with a hand-stitched leather top, full-sized billiards table as well as an eucalyptus-and-brass ping-pong table—all of which incorporate monogrammed detailing—this is a grown-up’s wonderland.

Interestingly, the crown jewel of this room is hidden behind another treasure, a pointillist cityscape painted by Australian artist David Hinchliffe. All it takes is the touch of a button to slide the painting away, revealing a carport where the owner can showcase his beloved collection of automobiles.

Pooley also reflected the couple’s love of Japanese culture and art in various elements of the interior design. For instance, she used linear furniture shapes and carefully placed sculptural accessories throughout the home to create a visual sense of balance and flow.

And to subtly reference the understated stylistic beauty of the Land of the Rising Sun, she added motifs such as bonsai-inspired plaster panelling to the staircase, cherry blossom detailing in the lift panels and the owners’ Japanese artworks in the spa. The result, say the owners, can be summed up in two words: “Simply outstanding”.

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