A DJ Booth Brings the Funk to This Designer’s Classical London Flat
Nothing matches but everything works.
Published Aug 29, 2021 1:00 AM
Since earning her degree in textiles and fashion from the revered Central Saint Martins in 2007, interior designer Isabelle Lomas hasn’t wasted any time establishing herself as one to watch. She has styled for British Vogue; tackled interiors for Soho House alongside its founder, Nick Jones; and, most recently, started her own design firm. In 2017, in the midst of it all, she also juggled a side project: freshening up the classical 750-square-foot apartment she shares with her husband, Rob, in London’s Notting Hill.
For three months, Isabelle and Rob lived in a rental while a construction crew turned the compartmentalized heart of the two-bedroom into an open-concept kitchen–slash–sitting area where friends and family could comfortably gather. The family room became the cooking space, while the apartment’s sole bathroom moved from the couple’s rear bedroom to just off the main hall.
From there, Isabelle set an inviting mood by parking a lounge-ready Camerich sectional and chair atop a watercolor-inspired rug she designed to bring some softness and playfulness to the room. Bonus: Its pattern echoes the swirls in the octagonal marble coffee table.
Across from the one-wall kitchen, she set a low-key farm table—part prep surface, part dining spot—below unfussy pleated pendant lights, then sprinkled in a few quirky accents to spark conversation. Among her favorites: a Murano glass fish sculpture and fully functional chrome DJ booth, her surprising stand-in for a mainstream credenza. “We love playing music my parents used to listen to: Bob Dylan, Neil Young, the Rolling Stones,” says Isabelle. “It reminds me of my childhood and driving around the countryside with my dad.”
Isabelle left her stint at British Vogue well versed in how to mix bold hues and patterns. Nowhere is her expertise more evident than in the guest room, where a lick of enveloping green paint (Little Greene’s Livid), a nubby cranberry-colored blanket, and a blue velvet lumbar pillow are moody counterpoints to the light that streams in from the floor-to-ceiling windows. “I’ve heard that it feels cozy, like you’re staying in a hotel,” says the designer.
Anchoring the space is a custom-built platform storage bed. “I own a lot of clothes and shoes from my fashion days–the storage was necessary,” says Isabelle of the hidden drawers. The wavy Art Deco–inspired headboard tempers the sharp angles of the chunky crown molding.
No ex-Voguer’s pad would be complete without a drop-dead gorgeous vanity. Isabelle’s bespoke creation is dressed in burl-wood veneer and buddies up to fresh wall-to-wall cabinetry that compensates for the primary bedroom’s tiny closet. “Because the wood grain is quite busy, I designed something that was simple: a floating desk with two hidden drawers for makeup and brushes,” she says of the setup, which doubled as an office during lockdown.
Opposite the MVP, a suite of pressed flowers purchased from gardening star Charlie McCormick hang above a leafy-green velvet headboard, both of which nod to what Isabelle calls the “living wall” in the adjoining private courtyard. “It changes from the most beautiful green to deep red through autumn,” she says.
Nearly 20 pieces of art Isabelle has picked up everywhere from vintage shops to Saatchi Art wander throughout the home, each with its own story to tell. The guest room’s beachy Bonnie and Clyde collage reminds her of her childhood trips to California; the grand abstract by Henrietta Dubrey leaning on the living room mantel was her first big purchase.
Last year, Isabelle coped with lockdown by picking up a paintbrush herself, dabbling in landscapes and portraiture. “It really helped with everything that was going on,” she explains. Perhaps one day a piece of her own will join the masterful mix.
Biggest save: The red champagne bucket I picked up from a market in France. It was about $30, but the quality and finish are wonderful. It could be worth hundreds.
This textile in my home is so me: My Christina Lundsteen cushions have bright blue and deep red stripes, which feels fun, but the colors keep them timeless and transitional.