Byline: KATRINA BURROUGHS
Spanning the centuries, Lucia Silver's home is as exotic as her Notting Hill boutique, says Katrina Burroughs
LUCIA Silver is a modern-day alchemist who transforms both women's wardrobes and their homes into idiosyncratic expressions of the "irresistibly superfluous" with a few enchanting touches. Step into the * Boutique, her lavish emporium off Westbourne Grove, and you are surrounded by the secret ingredients of the magical process: vintage jewellery, semiprecious stones, exotic feathers, extravagant beading, romantic flowers and a wealth of textiles.
Favoured fabrics include handmade devore silk satins, Chinese silk, organza, chiffon and brocade, mixed with antique Gujarat and Damascan garments and luscious apparel from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.
The boutique's young proprietor (Lucia has just turned 30) has seen it swiftly become the place where time-starved corporate types and celebrity clients, from Jerry Hall to All Saints, discover an exclusive look, woven from cunningly sourced old and new, customdesigned pieces.
Lucia has an equal interest in interior decoration, which has led to a number of commissions. She says: "Once you are designing a woman's wardrobe it's quite natural to start talking about her home."
Her own home is a two-bedroom maisonette in a white stucco house in a terraced square in W2. Lucia and husband Hugo moved into the first-floor apartment in January 2000 and set about transforming it into a distinctive stage set of sumptuous luxury.
"Home is a fantastic concoction," says Lucia.
"We've so enjoyed putting everything together, from a 15th century Renaissance painting to cupboards that we've built new.
There's a classic Georgian partner's desk, 1920s Venetian lamps on Edwardian side tables and a late 20th century sculpture in the Deco fireplace. The overall impression is something of a Moroccan, earthy feel.
Ethnic, but not grungy ethnic. It says, there are no restraints and no rules."
In the living and dining room, a highceilinged space with tall, shuttered windows, centre stage goes to a massive Rajasthani ox cart, iron-slatted and metal-studded, which has been converted into a coffee table using sections from the original wheels as legs. Sofas and chairs are smothered in bejewelled shawls (dupatas) from India, and one is adorned with a black velvet Ottoman coat and cap, intricately patterned with metal thread embroidery (zardosi work).
The theatrical feel of the decor stems from a couple of influences in Lucia's past: early dance lessons at the Ballet Rambert and a passion for acting and producing plays, discovered while studying English and French literature at Oxford. …