Louise Wicksteed, Creative Director of 1508 London, takes The Resident inside an exquisite period property in Belgravia, where the design collective was tasked with restoring classical period details while introducing modern materials for a luxurious, timeless feel
Words: Louise Wicksteed
1508 London is unlike traditional design studios in the sense that it is not lead by an eponymous figurehead. Instead, we work as a design collective to bring together a collective of individuals who are experts in every facet of the design process. Unfettered by a house style, we listen to the stories that history, geography and the vernacular of architecture have to tell and thread together our own, to deliver sophisticated design on a superior level. Right now we have a wonderful mix of architects, interior designers and architectural technicians.
I founded 1508 London along with Ben Johnson. He has worked in contemporary interior design with an architectural remit, whilst my skills are in more traditional interior design, developing palettes, sourcing and styling.
We believe in fine detail and craftsmanship, subtly weaving that detail into a design. The narrative may not be immediate or obvious, but when you do discover it, it becomes clear why we approach interior design in a way that creates unique and timeless residences.
Whilst we don’t actively look for projects in one particular London area, it is great to work with the elegant classical architecture in Belgravia. These grand buildings lend themselves beautifully to contemporary yet timeless interiors, with owners often looking for something different and unique, allowing us to be creative and experiment with the finishes, materials and furnishings we use.
For Project Pearl, pictured here, we were tasked with redesigning and refurbishing the interior of this ground floor and lower ground floor Belgravia apartment. The design brief centred on the restoration of classical period details and an introduction of fresh, modern materials and a controlled palette to create a luxurious, timeless feel.
The design brief centred on the restoration of classical period details and an introduction of fresh, modern materials and a controlled palette to create a luxurious, timeless feel
The biggest challenge was to maintain the period feeling of the property whilst introducing a fresh and contemporary feel to the interior. We combated this by working alongside a heritage consultant to recreate and enhance the Regency period features throughout and complement these with more modern loose furniture and artwork. We reinstated Regency period features such as the decorative ceiling and wall panelling, which enhanced the impressive scale of the key rooms whilst creating a luxurious, calm and timeless interior.
The rooms were beautifully proportioned with high ceilings that lend a sense of grandeur to the property. Having rooms of this scale in Belgravia are hard to come by and therefore are very sought after. Not restricted by the size of the rooms, we were able to include period features that would not work in smaller properties.
Choosing the right accessories was crucial to the brief of seamlessly mixing the old and the new. At the centre of this space we placed a large 24-arm ornate glass, silver and crystal Maria Theree chandelier. Other traditional pieces include a pair of Victorian giltwood oval mirrors and a hand-carved marble fire surround by Jamb. The space is completed with a dose of abstract art that sits opposite a traditional portrait painting above the fireplace in the sitting and dining room.
Layering a mix of old and new accessories with neutral fabrics, textures and accessories creates a cohesive, sophisticated look that enhances the luxurious feel of the property
The end result shows how layering these accessories with neutral fabrics, textures and accessories creates a cohesive, sophisticated look that enhances the luxurious feel of the property. My favourite room is definitely the library as I love being surrounded by books and all that inspiration. It’s also cosy, so you can definitely imagine yourself having a glass of wine and watching a good film in there. From start to finish, this project took around 20 months.
Why the name 1508 London? That was the year Michelangelo won the commission for the Sistine Chapel and the start of the late Renaissance in art and design. We are heavily influenced and inspired by classical principles and the study of historical architecture and interiors.