Living in Style London: Book Review
Living in Style London, published by teNeues, takes the reader on a private tour of 20 of London’s most glamorous, luxurious and beautiful private homes. Each home decorated in a unique style that captures the life and personality of the home’s owners. While each of the twenty homes showcased in the book are exquisite in design, they also share three criteria – all of which Her Royal Highness Princess Michel of Kent, who wrote the foreward to Living in Style London, deems quite important, and they are:
- The interior must please the eye.
- The interior must please the pocket.
- The interior must be comfortable and work for the lifestyle of the home’s owners.
Edited by Geraldine Apponyi and Monika Apponyi, both interior designers in their own right, the book captures a variety of well-edited design styles from the classic to the theatrical to the eclectic to the modern. Living in Style London, inspires photograph after photograph, page after page and chapter after chapter. Each home is intimately reviewed in the opening introduction of each chapter, and then room photos are beautifully described in three languages ( English, German, and French).
The names of designers found in this tome reads like a ‘who’s who’ of luxury international design: Alidad, Collett-Zarzycki, David Carter, David Collins, David Gill, Christopher Gollut, John Minshaw, John Stefanidis, Michael Reeves, Nicky Haslam, Nina Campbell, Rabih Hage, Stephan Ryan, Tara Bernerd, Mark and Heather Weaver, Veere Grenney ,Geraldine Apponyi and Monika Apponyi.
Living in Style London is an inspiring compendium of twenty in-depth pictorial home tours – one visually delightful tour per chapter. Though a challenge, each chapter was teeming with exquisite examples of design, I selected the following six room designs from the book that I found to be personally inspiring and intriguing.
In the chapter, “Theatrical Seduction”, renowned interior designer David Carter’s home seduces the senses: from decadent faux finishes to rooms filled with exquisite antiques mixed with quirky, eccentric decor finds (this photo and book cover). David skillfully walks a visual tightrope between creating scintillating visual delights and that of fabricating a world of cheap, tacky, over-the-top mishmash decor. Art gallerist David Gill’s early 20th-century apartment is filled with jolting combinations of colors and styles. Nothing stands still in this visual vortex of design found in the “Colour Shock” chapter. The juxtaposition of strong opposing colors and design styles –purposely set to clash- makes the mind stop and question what it is experiencing and to examine the conflicting emotions swirling inside the viewer’s soul. The masterful design style of international interior designer, John Stefanidis, is captured in the chapter, “Breaking the Rules”. His home is warm, inviting, visually nurturing and engaging. His blend of design elements spanning varied styles with charismatic, welcoming colors and enticing textures and patterns beckons both homeowner and visiting guests to relax, enjoy and truly feel at home. “An Evening Retreat” chapter highlights the petite-scale apartment of designer (and co-editor of Living in Style London) Monika Apponyi. She created an intimately comfortable and inviting interior atmosphere ever mindful of avoiding the appearance of a tiny, cluttered space.Case in point, Monika utilized neutral warm-toned colors for the walls and decor, mirror paneled doors and well-positioned lighting to give a narrow corridor an airy and spacious appearance. MM Design’s Geraldine Apponyi and Monika Apponyi implement a bold, confident and youthful glamour for their clients “In A Sure Style” chapter. The style, elegance and allure of the design is perfectly captured in the visually powerful, yet feminine purple-tone shelving unit and upholstered chairs of this dressing room. A love for decorative antiques that are both functional and comfortable is evident in the home of Marc and Heather Weaver. “A Happy Compromise” chapter examines the wonderfully eclectic design mix of furniture styles, some with interesting storied pasts, which reside throughout the Weaver’s townhome.
Living in Style London makes for a great coffee table book, but more importantly – it serves to inspire, to spur one to dream, to aspire to great design, and to live a stylish life.