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Fanciful Flights


Don’t underestimate the importance of spaces that link other important areas. I often design a building from start to finish and the flow, the way people move around a building, is fundamental.

The staircase is a place where people meet and when they aren’t looking down at their phones. They present us with an opportunity to link levels in an imaginative way.

Let’s look at some of our staircases…

Photography: Tiago Molinos

In this merry mews house in West London, I have chosen a joyful yellow fabric on the walls in the entrance hall and lining the staircase walls. It makes you instantly happy as you enter. You can see here how the vibrant fabric is balanced by a neutral coloured linen on the walls of the dining room, enticing you to move from one space to another.

Here in this residential project in London, I re-shaped the staircase to allow for wider steps at the base and a handrail that gently curves round to guide you to the other level.

A natural wood floor is my favourite for the ground floor, but I often choose a carpet for the next level and a staircase runner is a good way to link these two surfaces. You can make a bespoke runner from a rug you love as I have done here. Even if the rug is old and worn you can reshape and reuse certain parts, giving a much loved item a new lease of life. The colours and design work so well with my Mythical Land wallpaper on the walls. It makes me smile every time I climb through the trees on the walls and out above their canopy at the top of the house.

In contrast to Mythical Land is this architectural wallpaper lining the entrance and staircase to the Townhouse at Haymarket Hotel in London. A dado rail in white with a soft blue paint below is both practical (with all those suitcases rolling in and out!) but also a calm contrast to balance out the busier wallpaper.

A staircase often provides the longest, tallest blank wall or surface in a building and can act as a gallery for artwork.

Here at The Soho Hotel in London, I have played with vibrant paint colours on the walls, again balanced by a neutral colour. Groups of vertically hung 3D artworks by Charlie Wells are displayed on the landing linking the lobby, bar and restaurant area to the private events spaces and screening rooms below.

This country house staircase shows how the stairwell can provide a space for a WC, storage, an interesting piece of furniture, or even a drift wood horse. The walls that appear to be limestone are in fact the result of clever paintwork.

At the top of the stairs the sunlight streams through a beautiful double-height window. The hand rail from the staircase is adorned with saddles from treasured horses that have come and gone.

Here we have made the most of the acoustics in the stairwell to play the piano.

Connecting our events spaces to the ground floor, this stairwell at The Whitby Hotel isn’t used as frequently as some of its counterparts, but when it comes to the design, all the more reason to make sure it won’t be forgotten.

Our Ozone wallpaper for Christopher Farr Cloth adorns the walls and creates real character, inviting you to move through the space and explore what’s around the next corner. The rich warming tones of ruby, scarlet and crimson have wonderful depth and give the space a life of its own. We hung a collection of vintage spy prints in strong black frames on the walls to really play into the graphic ‘Ozone’ design.

The last year has certainly felt a bit up and down, but if we watch our step and are positive we can surely make a fanciful flight!

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