When did this property first spark your interest?
Answers from Danny Pine, the interior designer.
This is my fifth collaboration with architect William Smalley. We found the property in 2012 and immediately saw the potential of its location. The house had fallen into different uses over the years, most recently as a style of guest house. We bought it as a stripped-out shell from a developer who had decided against renovating it. It was literally the bones of the house – a blank canvas.
What were your initial plans?
The design of the house evolved over the three and a half years it took to finish, but it was always informed by our shared experiences in travel, books and film. One of the most important inspirations is the Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan – a modernist masterpiece of the inter-war period. I go to the Salone del Mobile Milano every year and I’ll often stop at Villa Necchi just to soak up the design. I wanted to recreate the Villa Necchi conservatory in Notting Hill.
Any other design inspiration?
The other big influence was Peter Zumthor’s spa in Vals, Switzerland. This informed the basement and the spa and screening room area. The trick was to get these three quite disparate influences to marry up: Victorian townhouse, Italian inter-war modernism and the Vals-inspired purity. But there is a design aesthetic that runs throughout the building to create a harmonious transition from room to room.
Who do you envision living here?
This house will appeal to anyone who enjoys great design and has a relentless attention to detail. Coincidentally, Villa Necchi is the location in I Am Love, a film starring an impeccably dressed Tilda Swinton. I think her character’s style would be perfect for this property.
What was the biggest challenge?
The most difficult element to achieve was the Villa Necchi-inspired conservatory – mainly from a planning perspective. But, unusually, we got support from neighbours who thought it was a beautiful addition. It’s a lovely room – almost like an outside terrace – with glass, polished brass and a heated green marble floor.
It has to be the solid stone balustrade that leads down to the spa. It was a challenge to create, but is a beautiful tactile piece of stone.
There are six floors of vintage pieces and modern classics. Where did you source it from?
I bought items from auctions, fairs and specialists. Sometimes I bought pieces because I liked the look of them but didn’t necessarily have a place for them. I just thought ‘a beautiful piece is a beautiful piece’ and I would ultimately find somewhere for it. In the end, everything found its place.