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BLACK & WHITE

Kensington Gardens Square, W2

What’s black, white and stylish all over? The interiors of this incredible triple-storey apartment, that’s what. Using a monochrome palette, Caradoc-Hodgkins Architects Ltd created a turnkey triplex flat within a beautiful period Victorian building. Many of the original features including the original oval stone sweeping staircase were preserved, yet it was thoroughly modernised with the addition of state-of-the-art bathrooms, a sleek new kitchen, programmable lighting systems and audiovisual equipment. We particularly liked a creative installation by Paul Cocksedge Studio that cascaded down the stairwell on all levels. What appeared to be sheets of paper floating down the staircase were actually made of Corian and each one was emblazoned with a literary quote, a concept the architects devised to “inspire and constantly stimulate the mind”.

Stark white walls were warmed by dark-stained walnut floors. The contrast of light and dark continued throughout the house, most notably in the kitchen where sleek white units and worktops were juxtaposed with black accessories, a wenge cupboard and black-and-white striped upholstered chairs around the dining table. Wallpaper designed by Tracy Kendall featuring huge pieces of cutlery added a playful note. In the lounge, rather than opting for strict monochrome, the designers chose contrasting neutrals. Dark brown curtains and plump sofas still provided pared-down elegance, and we loved the large dining table made from a reclaimed door.

The bedrooms were simple, chic and almost monastic in style. The architect, Caradoc-Hodgkins, said, “We were initially attracted by the excellent feng shui of the property, as well as the breathtaking wide central staircase over three floors, the generous room proportions and the extremely central location.” One couldn’t help feeling that one was entering a retreat that was a world away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Westbourne Grove.

If less is more, this property had it in spades.