Home Tour: A Stylish Penthouse Inspired By Superyachts and Hotel Suites
“With private clients, the design journey is always personal and you become emotionally involved so as to create a beautiful home that represents their personality, style and aspirations,” says British designer Jo Littlefair, co-founder and director of Goddard Littlefair.
The London-based design firm, which Littlefair helms alongside fellow British designer Martin Goddard, is known for creating luxurious, detail-oriented interiors that are “inspired by a building’s architecture, location and history”. This philosophy is reflected in the firm’s latest residential project, a penthouse apartment in London’s Casson Square, which looks out to enviable views of the River Thames.
The design team combined two riverfront apartments to create a sprawling three-bedroom penthouse that spans the full width of the building. “When we first saw the home and received the brief from our client, we imagined the home for a couple that wanted to entertain, whilst appreciating the finer things in life,” explains Littlefair.
She continues: “We have tried very hard not to create an overtly ostentatious apartment. The client wanted a welcoming, elegant and calm home for themselves and their visiting grandchildren; but they also wanted one that can be easily turned from a family home into an entertaining space, beautiful and as spectacular inside as the surrounding views of the city.”
The entrance hall draws cues from the interiors of luxury superyachts, inspired by the client's love of sculptural forms. “The superyacht influence in the home is seen from the onset, through sweeping walls clad in butter-soft stitched leather, coffered ceilings finished in subtly pearlised bespoke plaster and skirting, as well as architraves formed from carefully sourced grey Marquina stone,” says Littlefair.
The soft curves and nautical-like colour scheme open up to a formal living room that’s awashed in natural light, courtesy of the large windows that frame a sprawling panoramic view of the London cityscape. A striking red parchment feature wall, which surrounds a marble and bronze-finished fireplace, forms the focal point of the space. Sofas and armchairs from Italian furniture company Minotti bring elegance to the room with their gentle curves and neutral tones.
The living room was also designed with ample spaces for the sociable homeowners to host guests. “When designing the living room, we kept the client’s love for entertaining friends and family in mind,” says Littlefair. “We played on their love for materials, with Patagonia stone for the joinery pieces. We also introduced colour through glass lamps and timber floors, softened with wool and leather woven rugs. Audio-visual equipment were skilfully designed imperceptibly into furniture and joinery in order to maintain an air of peacefulness.”
The client also had a “real appreciation for the beauty” of natural stones and architecture. This played a considerable influence to the team’s design direction and material selection, including in the kitchen, where they meticulously selected various types of stones that complemented each other. The walls and flooring are clad in polished Statuario stone that’s personally sourced by the client.
“We used stone to elevate the design scheme, with simple forms designed to let the stone sing,” says the British designer. “This can be seen in the central kitchen island with liquid metal bronze accents. You can also see this through the circular powder room sink as well as the curved skirting in the home.”
The hallway down the various rooms doubles as a gallery space for the homeowner to showcase his extensive art and sculpture pieces. “Their appreciation of art and sculpture had very strong influences on the apartment layout,” notes Littlefair. “Key vistas and moments are punctuated by curated artwork that sits perfectly in against the rich but understated palette of finishes.”
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The master bedroom boasts an aura of calm. Three of the owner’s prized art pieces, framed in gold and adding character into the room, hang above a large bed nestled into a curved leather headboard. “Our starting point [for the bedroom] is to aim for a hotel suite feel,” says Littlefair. “It’s designed to be a series of functions, blending together and flowing from one to another. We utilised pockets doors to offer the potential to physically and visually connect and disconnect spaces.”
These pocket doors feature hand-finished bronze handles embedded with imprints of a human hand, speaking to the design studio’s eye for detail. The team dressed the space further with textures such as shagreen leather, geometric woven wallcoverings, and blackout drapery that adjusts both the lights and acoustics of the room. An intricate chandelier hangs from the ceiling, “adding delicacy and a softness with their palette of hand-made metal and glasswork”.
The master bathroom continues the bedroom’s serenity with its marble-clad walls. Bold ivory and black patterned floor make an impactful visual statement in the space. A small-scale glass mosaic sourced from Italian mosaic company Sicis is Littlefair’s favourite design element; it's complemented with Waterworks Vintage brassware to create a beautiful shower experience.
With its rich materials and sophisticated details, the apartment is the result of nearly three years of hard work.
“The devil is in the detail, and the clients’ appreciation of the finer things in life means that they understand and value the efforts and time spent to achieve this. We didn't get the chance to do a big reveal, as the client visited a lot, so it was a slow release of the potential,” recalls Littlefair. “The clients have repeatedly voiced how happy they are, and what a good job the team has done. There are many comfortable places to sit in the apartment, but the kitchen counter is where you can peruse the views, like the bow of a boat, watching the world go by.”
She adds: “Our ethos is about combining aesthetic perfectionism and boundless curiosity with a team-playing, service-driven attitude. We aim to constantly evolve and create truly unique spaces that work within the context of each project.”