I’m so excited to be sharing the first in a new series of blog posts with photographer Nathalie Priem. I love Nathalie’s work, both for interiors but also her still life and landscape photography, which is, frankly, epic. So I’m delighted to be able to share Nathalie’s images here on Copperline, starting with this beautiful apartment in London which is the home of interior designer Shanade McAllister-Fisher.
I must admit, I’m always intrigued to see how architects or interior designers create their own living spaces, when they’re not working with a client’s brief but are free to follow their own vision, and Shanade’s home offers a lesson in being clever with space and bold with colour. Shanade studied at the KLC School Of Design and then went on to work for a luxury interior design studio, focusing mainly on high-end development projects across London, before setting up her own studio in January of this year.
I recently caught up with Shanade to ask about her inspirations, and how she went about transforming this interior into such a vibrant home.
Tell us a little about this apartment – what attracted you to it and what state was it in when you bought it?
I purchased this one bedroom apartment from the local authority. It hadn’t been modernized for years and the whole apartment was very tired and dated, but the enormous floor to ceiling original sash windows and high ceilings had me hooked as soon as I walked through the front door. It was a small space but with big attitude.
What were the main challenges of the project?
The proportions were a challenge. With the ceilings being so tall, standard-size pieces of furniture looked dwarfed. I played around with this by incorporating both oversized pieces such as the headboard in the bedroom and overly tall kitchen units with smaller pieces like the floor lamp in the reception room to create an Alice in Wonderland feeling.
Were you working with existing pieces of furniture and lighting that guided your approach, or were you starting from scratch here?
This was a complete key turn project so everything has been designed or sourced specifically for this space – which was so much fun!
How would you describe your style?
Eclectic, luxury…. I’m a huge fan of mixing different styles and periods and I love using bold colours, big patterns and lots of texture to create drama, impact and visual talking points.
Did you have to make any structural changes to the interior?
I opened up the dividing wall between the kitchen and living space to create an open plan layout. As the kitchen was always going to be dominant within this room, I wanted it to feel more like a piece of furniture that would sink in and complement the room. The beautiful detailing on the cupboard fronts give it a modern edge, and the mixing of materials, combining plywood with walnut, works perfectly to make it feel more than just your standard kitchen.
Colour plays such an important part in this interior – how did you choose the palette?
I wanted each room to have its own identity but also flow as one space so I’ve used an undertone of monochrome and brass throughout, while giving each room its own colour pop.
The bedroom is a place to retreat and relax so colour was really important in here. The inky blue walls and complementing blue hues are so tranquil and luxurious, making it such a calm space to relax and drift away.
The kitchen and living space is a place to entertain and bounce around in, so I wanted this to feel more open and fun and alive. Having light-coloured walls complemented by big bold colours and pattern along with lots of texture packs a real punch.
The bedroom has such a luxe feel – how did you design this space?
Having chosen this calm colour palette of deep rich inky blue hues with a sprinkling of brassy gold tones, I then added a layer of different textures including silk, mohair and velvet to make it wonderfully luxurious. And, of course, as with every room in the apartment, there is always a statement piece and the roman blind made with Timorous Beasties Napoleon Bee fabric is a complete showstopper.
What is the finish you used on the woodwork round the window here?
Originally this woodwork was going to be stripped back and repainted, but when I saw the amazing richness and texture being unveiled under the layers of paint I fell in love with its pared back state. The restorer thought I was mad when I told him to stop and leave the window as is.
How did you design the terrace?
The terrace is accessed from the kitchen sash window. It is such a luxury to have outdoor space in London that I wanted it to feel like an extension of the apartment and another lounging/entertaining space. I used low seating with big chevron patterned monochrome cushions to create impact and added a pop of colour with strong purple piping, which was inspired by the lavender-filled planters that enclose and cocoon the space.
What were the challenges when redesigning the bathroom?
The bathroom is small and narrow with no natural light so I used mirrors and glass to create a feeling of space and openness. I wanted to draw attention away from the size of this room and by adding a focal point with the very cool geometric floor tiles the eye is naturally drawn downwards. Then to give a little touch of luxury I designed the black lacquered vanity unit with a beautiful shadow gap inlaid with brush chrome trim. Finally the large halo effect mirror just finishes it off perfectly with a soft glow.
I have to ask you about the hallway – it’s such a dramatic entrance. What was your design approach here?
It was exactly that. The entrance hall is hugely important to set the scene, so drama was at the forefront of the design. This again isn’t a large space and so I wanted to have over-exaggerated big patterns, large wall art and a rich colour palette, which is a little unexpected when you open the front door.
With thanks to Shanade McAllister-Fisher; you can see more of Shanade’s work here.
All photography by Nathalie Priem.