Interior designer Robert Kolenik was asked to give a hyper-modern villa in London a high degree of luxury and personality. With a warm palette of colours and materials, the interior designer created a striking family home.
This modern villa was built in one of London’s most stylish suburbs. The owners used an architect to design the exterior. As Kolenik explains, ‘that means that he designed the hardware; the carcass of the house. We sat down together to discuss the interior routing and space division.’ Kolenik then took over and came up with the home design. He designed all the different rooms and took care of the furniture, finishes and styling. ‘People sometimes find it hard to imagine exactly what an interior designer does. In a complex project like this, my role has been to advise, but also to create, produce and organise.’
Kolenik first discussed the home design with residents – a young family with three growing children. He then thought the design through and got the drawings down on paper. From the layout right through to the material and colour choice for the floors, walls and ceilings. ‘We then designed the individual pieces of bespoke modern furniture and other items. These could then be hand-made and produced in workshops and studios. Each room was given a different look, using custom made objects and items.’ He laughs: ‘Even the children’s bedrooms fit them like a glove.’
Openness vs. privacy
The striking thing about this family home is the large amount of daylight that floods in. ‘This is due to the high volume of glass, which gives the villa a spacious feeling.’ At the same time, the family wanted a house that would cocoon them and offer privacy. Although these wishes seemed to clash, Kolenik managed to strike the right balance. ‘I looked for homely materials, like an real walnut floor and lined silk curtains.’ A tour of this London gem reveals other warm materials like leather, wood and suede. Rugged plastering gives a robust effect, adding to the overall luxury.
Kolenik is well known for his unusual eye-catchers. Here he went for modern chandeliers, design fireplaces and stylishly lit natural stone. In a make-up table, for example. Kolenik explains: ‘What the family wanted most was comfort, so we built in some ingenious touches. These included electrically controlled curtains and touch screen applications to adjust lighting and heating.’ When the family wants to be wrapped in five-star luxury, they can visit their private cinema, indoor swimming pool, gym and home spa. The spa design includes a Turkish bath, a sauna and massage chairs. When we ask him what he likes best about the London villa, Kolenik’s eyes sparkle. ‘Without a doubt the salt-water aquarium. It’s full of unusual corals and fish like clownfish, as well as shrimps and other creatures. He laughs: ‘I’m just like one of my client’s children: I can stare at it for hours.’