Material Matters: six interiors with unusual materials
On our trip to scientist Katy Davidson’s Islington home, we were taken with the elegant way terrazzo had been deployed to form the floors and surfaces of the modern, spacious kitchen. It got us thinking about how the aesthetic, functional and tactile qualities of materials contribute to a space, so we’ve had a look through our sales roster to assemble some inspiration for how to design interiors with unusual materials.
Tiverton Road, London NW10
This captivating home is modestly veiled behind layers of silvering chestnut cladding. The interiors take inspiration from Turner’s ‘Interior of an Italian Church’, and are restful, contemplative spaces featuring concrete, natural wood and stone, while bare plaster walls catch light that is fed through the courtyard garden.
Shoreditch High Street, London E1
The entrance hall at this former shoe factory in east London sets quite the tone. A generous space, it is lined with oak panelling and lime plaster, while Beldi Moroccan tiles for the floor. The materials are repeated in the main living space, where light pours through original Crittall windows to accent the tonal variations of the plaster.
Ezra Street, London E2
When we visited designers Eleanor and Peter Pritchard for our ‘Open House’ series, they told us how their architects, Al Jawad Pike, suggested an asphalt floor with granite chips. “I think they used it at Chipperfield for the Turner Contemporary galleries. It’s an impermeable surface, though not as thick as concrete. It looks like terrazzo; it’s amazing. I’m really glad we didn’t go for poured concrete in the end,” said Peter.
Sometimes it’s not the materials themselves that have to be unusual but the way they are used that is interesting, as is the case at this Grade II-listed 19th-century vicarage estate. Three cottages, separate from the main house, have been lined with birch ply and comprise a beautiful, harmonious contrast with the original stonework.
St John Street, London EC1
This apartment occupies the entire floor of a warehouse building in Clerkenwell and celebrates the original fabric of the building with exposed brick walls and high concrete ceilings. It’s a complementary canvas to the modern flourishes, which include shuttered-concrete screens, birch-ply panelled floor and a stainless steel kitchen.
Clay House, London N19
“The lovely greenish-grey colour of the clay in the living space was designed to mirror the typical London sky. The walls and clouds merge into each other and draw your eye out to the view,” said architect Simon Astridge when we visited his ‘Clay House’ project for our ‘Open House series. The lesson here is to incorporate and echo the natural world to establish a relationship between inside and out.