24 Aug What can we learn from commercial interiors when designing our own homes?
Guest blogger Louise Brooks, fashion student and budding interior design voyeur, gives her thoughts on how London’s hotels, bars, retailers and restaurants can be an inspiration for our Georgian interiors.
Georgian houses are very much in vogue with commercial companies loving them for their scale and character as much as private individuals cherish them for their classic style.
Taking influence from commercial interiors is an effective way of learning about entertainment spaces, and the established gentlemen’s club feel that perfectly compliments Georgian style interiors. The range of stunning hotels, restaurants and bars in London means there is no excuse not to get out there!
Commercial interiors in high end venues will have had some serious time and thought lavished on them resulting in complex and considered design solutions. Taking the time to study which finishes they’ve used, how they have incorporated period features, what lighting effects they have used or how they’ve maximized their available space will contribute no end to many important decisions you may be facing in refurbishing your own home.
I took the opportunity to have a look round some Georgian inspired interiors around London bars which showcase that classic and traditional gentlemen’s club feel. Looking for inspiration for drawing rooms, study’s and entertaining spaces within private homes.
The Zetter Townhouse in Clerkenwell is a Georgian townhouse re-designed into a hotel and cocktail bar. The interior was designed by the renowned Russell Sage, who has worked on many high-end boutique London hotels.
The space isn’t very large, and is zoned off by smaller arrangements of furniture, which really help to give it that intimate feel. The first thing that struck me was the low lighting around the edges of the room. The use of wall, table and standard lamps create more intimate spaces with a cosy and relaxed atmosphere perfect for chatting over drinks. The standard lamps also provide subtle, diffused lighting that adds to the ambiance of the room, a really important element of your gentlemen’s club style interior.
The whole bar has the feel of an antique shop; the surfaces are cluttered with taxidermy and other weird and wonderful objects. The furniture corresponds, with an abundance of velvet seating complete with bolster cushions and an eclectic mix of chairs.
The warm reds and oranges used compliment the traditional, opulent lounge feel, and the seemingly random arrangement of mirrors and pictures with different coloured frames add to the quirky nature of room.
Even with the sun streaming through the large windows enjoyed by so many Georgian and period style homes the deep rich colours help to retain the warm and intimate atmosphere.
Since I was so inspired by this Russell Sage interior I decided to check out another interior that I believe Sarah has written about in this blog before – see her Gainsborough Silks article .
I wanted to see the Goring Hotel myself. If it was good enough for Will and Kate it was good enough for me.
This interior was completed in the nic of time for the Royal Family’s annual Christmas luncheon a few years back and you can see why it is a favourite of theirs It has the quality of feeling like the drawing room of a grand house and uses the same principals to achieve that exclusive intimate feel; diffused lighting is achieved here with fabulous uplighting from the coving that highlights the warm golds of the ceiling, ambient lighting from side tables and zones of furniture keep the room feeling approachable despite the fact it is a much larger space. The dark leather pieces compliment the textures of the walls and floor, and the chandelier is the ultimate touch of luxury.
I asked Interior Designer Sarah Salter to give me some insight into how this use of furniture clusters which work so well in commercial spaces can be utilised in a residential interior.
“People tend to arrange furniture around the room and towards a single focal point, but, particularly with large rooms, it can be effective to divide the space up into zones. You may have an area facing towards a large fireplace at one end of the room and a separate sitting configuration at the other to make the space more intimate, more useful or more flexible. Maybe there is one orientation for the times you want to watch TV and another for times when you want to enjoy the view through the windows or cosy up around the fire. Occasional chairs and tables are also great for arranging in the corners of a room or in odd shaped spaces to create smaller spaces for one or two people to gather. Use separate rugs to help distinguish between the different seating zones”
This view through to the bar accentuates the importance of co-ordinating the decor from one room to the next. The doorways here have been used to frame the bar and convey the reverence with which the cocktails are made and poured. Visiting inspiring interiors like these is not only helpful; it also gives you the perfect excuse to get dolled up and try one of these amazing cocktails or two. I hope this has given you the nudge!
Louise Brooks is studying fashion and came to work with Latham Interiors for some experience. We wish her well with her future choices.