Homewhere the Art Is; Fiona Fullerton's Solutions Design

Article excerpt


Once occupied by a renowned sculptor, this house has been turned into a lavish masterpiece The other day I found myself outside Michael Winner's Kensington mansion. It was hot and I was in the street to view a house but there was no one to let me in.

Having known Michael for years, I thought I'd take tea with him but, thinking better of it, I ended up in a restaurant sipping cappuccino.

The house is certainly worth the wait. Melbury Road is home to several lavish houses.

Some used to be artists' studios, and this one was once occupied by Sir Hamo Thorneycroft, the renowned sculptor who died in 1925.

The house, built around 1876, has those gigantic windows that let in copious amounts of light, and a doubleheight reception area where Sir Hamo would work on his enormous sculptures.

The owners are a delightful American couple, Paul and Mary Slawson, who have been living in the property for the past 12 years.

Both in their 60s, they lived in Napa Valley, near San Francisco, for a while, where Mary indulged her love of interior design. She has done up many houses over the years but says she never does two the same.

As this house is a prime example of the Arts and Crafts movement, Mary wanted to stick rigidly to that style.

She found many good pieces of oak furniture and even reclaimed the oak kitchen units.

But she has also filled the house with large Gothic pieces and unusual objects from around the world that show an unerring eye for detail and scale. …