This stunning London home has won the title of Best Living Space UK, and was designed by South African-born Christian Bense!
The bustling streets of London are a world away from the Dolphin Coast where Christian began his career. However, within two weeks of arriving, his flair saw him snapped up by a top design firm, and he soon got to work.
While most of the SA projects he had worked on were new builds with plenty of space to work with, London’s more built up and older infrastructure means he has to be clever with limited space.
This beautiful home was meant to be a portfolio show-piece for Gallagher London, but fashion stylist Sophie Gallagher was so impressed with the results of the renovation, she moved in herself.
It’s easy to see why she loves it, and the extremely high ceilings and amazing natural lighting sealed the deal for her. The previous owner had given the house a very contemporary feel, but Sophie has cleverly added elements of her own taste.
According to Christian, an important design feature throughout the house is the mix of old and new, such as the stunning fire place with older antique brass, mixed with modern polished plaster and dark joinery.
The oversized globe lights bring a touch of fantasy to the combination chic and classic style kitchen.
As for the one-of-a-kind kitchen island it is a beautiful contemporary blend of antique brass and stone mixed with dark blue paint, and is one of Sophie’s favourite features.
The dining area has a lovely rustic, antique feel to it, while the nearby kitchen contrasts it beautifully with its dark colours and joinery.
As for the stunning master bedroom, Sophie wanted a softer, more calming space than the rest of the house. They have cleverly chosen fabric wall paper, which creates a feeling of being wrapped in a blanket, and the limed oak floor also create a sense of calm. There is a slight edge however, and the soft colours are contrasted with some patterns in the dark head board of the bed.
There is a continuity of finish in each room – all leading into or off the elegantly simple brass staircase. The advantage of this consistent, light, spacious theme, is that it lends a feeling of volume to every room.
Such canny use of space and light could only achieve so much impression of volume however, and by addi,ng a basement, they doubled the size of the property.
The downstairs area could be its own home entirely and has everything someone could need. Stand out features are the second bedroom and the warm, world-travelled feel of the home cinema which has a more informal feel than the upstairs lounge.
Christian’s work reflects all of his family’s talents. His father was a builder, his mother a photographer, and sister an interior designer. London is lucky to have him!