A Modern London Flat Filled With Art and Major Style
The Soho flat of retail visionary Alex Eagle brings together her smartly curated collections with a relaxed aesthetic.
Published Mar 15, 2017 5:00 AM
Photography by Amber May | Text by Gemma Soames | Styling by Hannah Simmons
is in the business of good taste. The founder of The Alex Eagle Studio in London and creative director of The Store at Soho House Berlin and Soho Farmhouse (as well as the recently opened creative hub 180 The Strand), she’s made her name by spearheading a fluid kind of retail experience—one where fashion, art, and home accessories come together in a space that you want to move right into. “When you hit 30, you start to covet a coaster as much as a coat,” says Eagle. “And I think people like to shop around a whole feeling and experience.”
Nowhere shows off this approach better than her own home, a 4,300-square-foot loft Eagle shares with her husband and 6-month-old son, Jack, in the heart of London’s Soho. “The shop and the loft are the same project in my head,” she explains. Both feature all-white walls and open-plan living that create a clean base for Eagle to layer her thoughtful collections—mid-century modern furniture by the likes of Danish designer Philip Arctander; a sizable selection of books; sculptural plants; and small souvenirs, such as a handblown Venetian glass vessel shaped like a puffer fish and white porcelain dishes picked up during her travels. “I’m inspired by Axel Vervoordt and that less-is-more approach, though it turns out I’m not that good at doing the minimalist thing!” says Eagle with a laugh.
One collection that’s always building and evolving is her art, which is displayed throughout the space—lining a ledge, propped up on a bookshelf, leaning against a wall, or hanging in thoughtful groupings. Eagle’s trained eye and intuitive way of decorating come from a life of collecting. “Growing up, I was forever being dragged around auction houses and antiques shops by my gallerist dad,” she explains.
“I never buy anything as an investment; I buy it because I love it.” Alongside photography by Irving Penn and Peter Beard, she features work created by her friends. “I gravitate toward female artists like Tanya Ling, who does these beautiful, hypnotic blue line drawings. You can be a 7-year-old and fall in love with them,” says Eagle. Similarly, she scatters touches of intense color around the calming neutral backdrop, like the custom cardinal red–striped wallpaper in Jack’s nursery, the Yves Klein coffee table in the living area, and oversize cushions on the sofa in mossy green velvet and marbleized silk prints. Within this setting, where pieces are lived with and enjoyed, friends have been known to ask if they can buy the art straight off the loft walls. “At the beginning, I found it heartbreaking to part with a work,” says Eagle. “But now I’ve realized that it’s nice when someone else is going to love it as much as I do.”
Office Cane Chairs by Pierre Jeanneret 1stdibs.com
In the living room, greenery makes a statement. “I go for big, loose flower arrangements,” says Eagle. “I also love plants with real scale. Our cactus is almost 100 years old.”
The French-made papier-mâché animal heads are a favorite of Eagle’s for gifting her godchildren.
Animal Heads by edit58
Neon-framed records, a limited-run collaboration between artist Martin Creed and The Vinyl Factory, liven up the bedroom, along with a striped headboard.
Catherine Lamp by Castor
“I started my book collection quite young,” says Eagle. Here, she shares ideas on making the most of your library.
Leave room for books to breathe.
“As my collection grows, I have to take things away, otherwise the shelves look too packed. Arranging books in different ways (horizontal, vertical, facing forward) and interspersing them with the odd object helps to break things up.”
Use your bookshelves as a mini gallery.
“Living in a loft, we don’t have that much interior wall space, so I like to use the bookcases as an alternative place to show my art.” Live with (and enjoy) your library. “My books are arranged by subject—art, architecture, a bit of fashion, a lot of travel—and I use them for reference constantly, which is nice, because then they’re always being shifted around our space in little piles or on the shelves.”
Start collecting early.
“I bought Jack a vintage David Hockney book of posters; it’s something he’ll treasure when he’s older, and he already loves the colors now.”
Where to Shop
Eagle’s favorite book spots in London and beyond. “Galleries are always a great resource for buying books; the Institute of Contemporary Arts and the Serpentine Galleries have fantastic bookshops. Around the corner from my loft is a shop called The Society Club that specializes in out-of-print and rare editions. I get a lot of ideas from the owner, Babette. I also look for books on my travels. Recently, I went to Hay-on-Wye, a tiny Welsh village, where they have a literary festival and about 50 bookshops. I found some fabulous things!”