Essentis Properties founder Francesco Carlucci strikes a chord with his design-forward home overlooking Abbey Road Studios.
Some London locations need no introduction. Take Abbey Road Studios.
You don’t have to be a Beatles fan to have heard of the legendary recording rooms – or seen the album cover that has sparked a million imitations. Perhaps you’ve taken a pilgrimage to the zebra crossing to recreate the photo yourself.
Sitting just opposite, all regal and red-bricked, Victorian mansion block Neville Court surveys the scene in question. But rather than be upstaged by its famous neighbour, up on the third floor you’ll find an impressive apartment that tells its own story.
With 20 windows arcing the boundary of the building, the wraparound views offer unrivalled people-watching potential. Not that the setting within is short of things to hold the attention.
A lesson in lateral living, focal points abound throughout an interconnecting series of rooms, arranged around two wings. From Murano glass chandeliers to Fil de Fer light sculptures and furniture that doubles as artwork, every object has been thoughtfully curated – at times painstakingly so – by its owner, Essentis Properties founder Francesco Carlucci.
“It took time to source everything,” he admits. “Here we have a classic container, in which we’ve mixed different pieces – from unique art to timeless design.”
We’re standing in the fourth in a chain of reception rooms – this one carved into the turret of the building – each with their own identity yet somehow united in feel. Particular attention to detail knits the spaces together, creating a satisfying sense of flow.
“This room is a special place, one where the building’s architecture is apparent,” he continues. “We spent more than a year deciding what to do here – and how to highlight its unique shape.”
The answer came in the form of a bespoke Edra sofa, specially designed to mimic the curve of the wall. It’s overlooked by an eye-catching pop art piece by Rich Simmons and a statement light fixture, one of many sourced from Alfies Antique Market.
The bright red Studio 54 Gufram Bocca Lips sofa which sits dramatically in the octagonal entrance hall-cum-reception room was similarly laborious to find. “The grey shade on the walls is quite intense here, so I was looking for a way to make the room a bit less serious – and then I remembered this from the 70s,” says Francesco.
As luck would have it, it was exactly the right size. “The proportions work so well, but it took me three years to find a piece for this space.”
It’s not just the furniture that has taken time to find; the whole fabric of the apartment has been carefully and completely restored – from the coving to the door frames.
“We did everything,” says Francesco. “And when I say everything, I mean everything.”
Arguably it needed the vision of a seasoned property developer to see the true potential of the apartment, which was in serious need of renovation. For Francesco, however, the process of transforming a space is a journey – each one different to the next.
“I find things that inspire me – it could be a house or a plot of land. Then I start thinking about what I could do that resonates with my creativity. I never do the same thing twice,” he says.
Given this mindset, it’s no surprise that Francesco laments the cookie-cutter approach to interior renovations. “If you go to Mayfair, you’ll see the same opulence, the same feel. Beauty is simplicity, harmony and style. It takes time to create a home otherwise it ends up looking like a showroom.
When you’re restoring a space, you need to have that connection with it so that it tells a story.
- Francesco Carlucci, Homeowner of Neville Court
“I like to have a connection with a space,” he continues. “I’m learning to use my heart more rather than my head.”
Call it fate – as Francesco does – but he was certain he was going to buy the apartment before he even walked through the door. The sight that confronted him when he did was a place that had been somewhat neglected for four decades – a series of separate rooms with tiny doors. Despite this, however, it had an irresistible charm.
“It’s an endless process,” he reiterates. “When you’re restoring a space, you need to have that connection with it so that it tells a story.”
And the best thing about living here?
Francesco laughs: “When you’re in a taxi you can tell the driver: ‘Take me to Abbey Road Studios’.”
Abbey Road is available to for short-term let. Take a look inside.