Its always lovely to get an invitation to a launch party, none more so than from an incredible interior design company who know their doric columns from their stucco facades. The Georgians and ensuing Regency period gave to architecture and design a gift of such magnitude, its still giving to this day. Those powdered-of-wig folk had such lofty ambitions and grand designs (do you see what I did there?) there are many who, whether living in a period property or not, are still paying homage to their vision. But what if wall sconces and ornate swathes are not your thing? How do you move from a contemporary apartment to a period home and retain your style and interiors identity?
Latham Interiors know a thing or two (three, four and five) about period homes as specialists in period interior design projects large and small. In fact they’re the only interior design company that does specialise in Georgian and Regency interior design. Beau Nash ( Bath’s Master of Ceremonies, celebrated dandy and leader of fashion in 18th-century Britain) would have employed them for his loft conversion/basement games room / gin palace for sure. Ensuring original features (from Georgian fireplaces to doors, art and floors) are retained whilst working their magic and bringing a contemporary design or layout is their absolute forte.
Apart from London, a number of towns feature some gorgeous examples of Regency architecture. Several of the least-spoiled of these are new, attempting to emulate the success of Bath and Buxton which had been extensively developed in the mid-century Georgian period and the 1780s respectively. Brighton and other coastal resorts became fashionable, and other towns that greatly expanded were Royal Leamington Spa, Clifton in Bristol, Tunbridge Wells, Newcastle Upon Tyne, and Cheltenham, “perhaps the most complete surviving Regency town”. From the outside they can look symmetrical, regal and elaborate (excellent examples of Regency properties dominate in Brighton, Hove, Bexley, Hastings and several towns in East Sussex) but what of the insides? Can they even be practical?
Unsurprisingly then, you can find some period houses and hotels in these towns doing some amazing things with their interiors. One of my genuine favroutes is the 131 in Cheltenham …gorgeous building and contemporary interiors that are so up my street, I literally want to live there. Also check out The Painswick and Babington House for more examples of gorgeous period-gone-mod places.
Latham Interiors have headed to the home of architectural splendour and opened in Bath – party central for the gorgeous Georgians. With a brave, contemporary design in mind, Sarah Latham has achieved the zeitgeist and created a modern, stylish home in a previously stark building, by embracing its dimensions and using her flair and insight to create the ideal hip pad in the heart of period Bath. Taking on an upper floor space in an old Victorian school building, she has created something pretty special, smack in the centre of this aesthetically demanding city.
Having an exclusive peek round on opening night I could see the kitchen was a joy – with its antique-mirrored tile splash-backs reminiscent of a cool cocktail bar and views out the double height windows to the beautiful city beyond. But, the piece-de-resistance was the mezzanine bedroom with its essential en-suite and fabulous balcony over the lounge area.
The second bedroom lay at the top of the most beautiful set of bespoke stairs and was ideal for the small people in your life or a guest. With colour-pop furniture and original windows, this scheme added a welcoming feel to the old school building. This is the kind of homework we like in a school.
Downstairs on the ground floor the Tom Dixon light and giant double height windows with super-cool-and-clever bespoke blinds meant the most was made of the light, the height and the character of the room. You will be glad to know I stopped myself from lying on the herringbone parquet floor just to stroke it…stunning.
The third bedroom was my favourite (not just because it had feather wallpaper) and felt so luxurious and well-put together. The bedside tables had a nod to the 30s and my beloved Art Deco. I’m also a fan of a good cushion-combo and Latham Interiors did not disappoint. Close up the wallpaper feathers had incredible detail and with the sumptuous fabrics and collection of textures, it felt like a super-cool boutique hotel room.
The clashing brights and oh-so-contemporary fixtures and fittings sang out in this beautiful period space. If you have a renovation project on or have purchased a period home and are wondering if you have to compromise on your own style and taste, the answer is clearly no. You can introduce your look into a Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Mid-Century or Modern home with some sympathetic interior design and playing to your room’s strengths – be that ceiling height, window treatments or panelling. The current trend for eclecticism is one of my favourites- when style and periods collide and blend. Using Antique homewares alongside modern prints and furnishings can be really effective. If you have 1930s home but fancy the open plan layout – go for it. If you have a basement apartment but want dark walls, do it! You can always paint them again.
With the fizz flowing and yumsville canapés being passed round it would have been super-easy to stay at the show-apartment (though possibly frowned upon if had put feet up on sofa and popped Narcos on Netflix ?) However, like Beau Nash (to whom I am convinced I am related) Bath’s nightlife was calling and I had to head on to further merriment. It was good to see first hand a great mix-up of genres sitting no well in a period property and this deliberate mis-match of styles works perfectly for me. Being sympathetic is one thing but being slavish and obsequious is unnecessary. #Adventuresinstyling if you like ’em, share ’em !