Super cool sofas, beautiful interiors and urban style. Welcome to the home of Laurence Rebilly in Hans Road, Knightsbridge. The Belgium art collector and interior designer has lived in the three-bedroom lateral apartment for just over five years.
Yet she fell in love with the world of interiors at the age of 19. Since then, she has remodelled, redecorated and redesigned homes around the world. Scottish country retreats, holiday homes in Corsica and luxury London apartments all display her signature style.
What makes these properties special? A blend of bold colours, clean lines and above all, relaxed friendly spaces. Here Laurence takes us behind the scenes of her SW3 home that is on the market for £7.25m. She shares fresh decorating ideas and reveals her passion for interior design.
Q: What was the property like when you moved in?
A: It was very different. The interior was shiny with lots of silver. There were too many mirrors. Now the walls are predominantly white or grey, complemented by marble fireplaces and original ceilings. Modern paintings and photographs fill the walls.
Q: What is the most important room in the house?
A: The life of the home is in the kitchen.
Q: Can you give your top four design tips?
- Use old pieces of furniture in a modern way. I love character.
- Experiment with different colours: pastel blues, pinks and saffron. Everything does not need to be beige or silver.
- Look for large pieces of furniture – pieces on a grand scale. This grey sofa from Uruguay makes the home feel spacious and welcoming.
- And have fun with furniture.
Q: Do you need a big budget to do interior design properly?
A: No, you don’t need to spend a fortune. You just need to search for bargains and make the right offer at the right time. I discovered a beautiful painting at the start of an art fair. At the end of the fair, it was still there, so I asked how much they wanted for it. Now it is displayed in my home. You just need to be creative with spaces and objects. One of my wooden tables used to be a door!
Q: Where did you buy your furniture?
A: Many of the pieces are from art fairs and antiques markets around the world. The red Fifties sofa was from Biarritz, south west France, an architect designed it for one of the hotels. The 18th century Italian busts are from an antique dealer. Actually, I have learnt a lot from antique dealers over the years and you never stop learning. But the owners who lived in this apartment previously, left a white Sixties chair with glass arms and the retro-style bed. Both have stayed with me ever since.
Q: What inspires you?
A: Much of my inspiration comes from nature. It might be a seahorse in the ocean, or simply the sense of light. I have designed rooms, where the light falls to enhance the room’s best features. Light is very important. I added a courtyard to a Scottish home, re-configuring the interior, to follow the light around the chimney.
Q: How long have you lived here?
A: I have lived in this apartment for about five and half years. I enjoy being close to Hyde Park. I must walk around 7kms a day, but the Tube is nearby.
Q: Where have you lived around the world?
A: I have lived in Uruguay, and Monaco for 14 years. I love Argentina, too. I also worked on a project in Scotland over several years, a big estate, with a large house, cottages and bothy. Scotland is a
beautiful escape. I retain and combine the best of the old with the best of the new. Some people might want to rush interior design, but it is better to take your time and plan ahead to ensure the job is done well.
Q: What are some of your most treasured possessions?
A: I have collected lots of silver and I have hundreds of pieces of glass – some are on display, others are stored away. I also like to support up-and-coming artists. Some artwork adds a sense of humour, while other pieces add colour or creativity.
Q: Who are some of your favourite artists?
A: Vik Muniz, Trevor Appleson and Manolo Valdes.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island – what three things would you take with you?
A: A little cushion that my mother gave me. A photograph of my children and a book: Lorsque j’étais une oeuvre d’art” by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
Q: And finally, what do you like about London?
A: I love London’s creativity, charm and energy.
- The three-double bedroom, lateral apartment in Knightsbridge, London is on the market for £7,250,000. Contact Henry & James (020 7235 8861; firstname.lastname@example.org)
For more details, visit http://www.henryandjames.co.uk/property?id=56992D7D948E0