It’s a nice problem to have; two flats, one on top of the other, neither are quite big enough. The solution? Join the two together to create a duplex apartment that resembles a luxury Chelsea townhouse
An English polo player did just that with his flat in a Chelsea mansion block. A stroke of luck meant that he was able to buy the flat above his, so he appointed residential design specialist Thomas Griem, founder of Fitzrovia-based TG Studio, to do the work.
Griem studied in Berlin and London, where he won the Hubert Sands Memorial Award, and today, his interior and architecture skills are sought after for many reasons – one being the fact that the RIBA-registered architecture and design practice offers planning, new-build and refurbishment architecture, and a full interior design service.
‘This was an interesting project,’ says Griem. ‘The client lived in one apartment and managed to buy the one above it, and he wanted to join them together. It was about making sure the layout worked well, but it took time due to the planning restrictions on the mansion block.’
The bedrooms are on the lower floor and then the kitchen, entertaining rooms, dining room, guest WC and study are on the ground floor.
I’m proud of the living room, where we managed to combine the stucco elements with something quite modern, almost chalet like even
‘It’s got very nice high ceilings and it was important to us to make a statement about where it is,’ Griem explains. ‘So we inserted some of the stucco ceilings that were partly there so that it has a relation to Chelsea – we wanted it to have grandeur. There are also a lot of details on the skirting that work to show off the beautiful era.’
Griem tells me how they were able to design a grand entrance while working out where the staircase would be, which was one of the perks of being able to re-designing two properties into one from scratch.
‘We’ve used the volume and made it seem like a great house in a way,’ he says. ‘The double-height entrance hall is a big design feature and the kitchen has a dining aspect with a large bar on it. We also designed an open bar, as it is very much for entertaining. The kitchen is from Spain and is very elegant with its stone cupboard doors – an interesting material to use, but it works really well.
‘I’m proud of the living room, where we managed to combine the stucco elements with something quite modern, almost chalet like even,’ says Griem. ‘The client loves skiing so we found this very old wood from a barn in Transylvania on eBay and built a cupboard above the fireplace with it. It has two areas, the TV area and then a quieter area designed for reading.’
I wonder what it is that truly sets this space apart from other properties in the area?
‘I think it would have to be the attention to detail that has gone into it,’ he says. ‘We’ve got a lot of traditional elements that are blended with the new, like marble and Victorian tiles. The beautiful doors are made out of oak, with really lovely lines through the wood. It’s got an eclectic feel and it was a real project of love. If we are given the time to put into something, it is the best thing.’