From tailored textiles to interior design, Jason Basmajian discusses how he crafted a loft-style home in Kentish Town.
With a busy schedule commuting to Paris and beyond, designer Jason Basmajian was in search of a sense of community when putting down roots in the UK. “I wanted somewhere that felt like a neighbourhood, close to Kings Cross and Hampstead Heath”, he notes.
Having stumbled upon the Maple Building, a handsome redbrick building in Kentish Town, the former creative director of Cerruti 1881 coincidentally came across a listing for the same property a year later – as it began a full-scale conversion into apartments. Combining a sense of city and countryside, the area offered the best of both worlds. “This was the perfect compromise between an urban feel and a typical English neighbourhood.”
Lured by its traditional exterior and New York-style concierge services, Jason quickly became the first owner of one of the Maple Building’s apartments. An early buyer, the designer was able to meld the loft-style space into his own, including making decisions on the final specification.
Inside, his experience in fashion subtly inspires the design. “It’s interesting because it felt like quite a natural transition,” he muses. “I’ve worked so much with colour, texture, and scale to create a look in fashion, that it just came together naturally.” His work with menswear organically carried over, manifesting in the tones and textiles dispersed across the space. “You’ll see dark grey flannel, black linen… it’s quite a masculine feel.”
A building with history, it was important that the former factory retained a sense of its origins. Though clear on his desire for a space that felt elevated and refined, an assortment of pieces from the designer’s expansive network assisted in drawing on the industrial heritage. In the reception space, a distinctive wall unit by Charles Kalpakian produces an angular echo of the windows opposite. “I liked the idea of blending something more organic and natural with a little more edge,” he comments.
To bridge the space to the kitchen, the designer chose a waxed steel table by good friend and architect Massimiliano Fuksas. Gracing the table, a Fredrikson Stallard bowl is the grounding piece for gold tones that carry through the space. A coffee table by the same artist features ornaments that extend from the table itself, while hand-woven throws and a rug by Teresa Hastings soften the overall feel.
The kitchen – Jason’s favourite place in the apartment – is illuminated by an industrial brass and glass light. “The kitchen really ties the entire space together”, notes the designer. “It has that vantage point of being behind the island, so I can enjoy the perspective and light. I also love the sink next to the window. I love seeing what’s going on in Kentish Town – being above it but still connected.”
Mid-century-inspired style continues through the rest of the apartment – each room a unique continuation of the previous. “I use a lot of repetition,” he considers. “The natural woods, the leather, the colours, the touches of burnished gold… The whole feel of the flat is cohesive.”
Having fallen for the neighbourhood first, Kentish Town catered to almost every point on Jason’s checklist. Commending the village feel while retaining easy access to the city centre, he admits, “it’s different from any place I’ve ever lived.” The building itself holds equal allure for the designer, whose desire for a community was wholeheartedly fulfilled at the Maple Building. “It’s somehow a community within a community,” he enthuses. “Everybody is supportive and friendly. I’ve lived in Paris, Milan, New York, and I’ve never lived in a building with the same kind of community. Of all the places I’ve lived in London, this is my favourite neighbourhood.”
“It’s like designing a season. You’re thinking about the whole show and how the looks work together as one story.”
- Jason Basmajian
On temporarily leaving the space behind, Jason explains that the apartment will largely stay as is. “It feels very organic to leave it as a complete story. I may have taken a couple of pieces, but I would say 95% of what’s in this flat is staying because this is how I conceived it as an environment.”
Jason’s concept of a complete space has resonated with others too. Reflecting on the sale of a previous home, he comments that they literally bought it with the sheets on the bed. “I had taken a couple of lacquered Burmese boxes that weren’t part of the contract, and then the gentlemen called me asking about them. I told him they weren’t part of the deal, and he said, ‘No, no, we must buy those back!’”
The designer ruminates that it goes back to considering the cohesiveness of the whole space. “It’s like designing a season. You’re thinking about the whole show and how the looks all work together as one story. I would conceive every season starting with one mood board, one theme, one idea… Which was how I started with this apartment. It’s a space that someone can walk into yet bring their own personality.”
Highgate Road is available to rent for £2,000 per week.