An Eclectic London Townhouse, Filled With Storied Souvenirs
The design mastermind behind London’s Chiltern Firehouse, Claire Darrow Mosier, has one rule for her home's decor: Every piece must have meaning.
Published Jan 4, 2018 9:00 AM
A Rolleiﬂex camera, stacks of neon Surfer’s Journal back issues, a teapot by street artist Todd James, and framed Mogwai albums—a quick look around creative wonder woman Claire Darrow Mosier’s terraced home reveals a worldly and decidedly chill counterpoint to the surrounding stateliness of London’s Primrose Hill neighborhood.
She and her husband, photographer Christopher Mosier, along with their daughters, Scout and Esme, live on the top three ﬂoors of a mid-19th-century building ﬁlled with intricate crown moldings and grand mantelpieces. “I adore the still-intact historical details,” says Mosier. “We are just totally happy hanging out here.”
A short stroll through Regent’s Park, and Mosier is at her office at Chiltern Firehouse, the 1889 ﬁre station–turned–boutique hotel with 26 perpetually sold-out rooms. As the creative right hand of master hotelier André Balazs—a post she has held for the past 20 years; he calls her his “secret weapon”—Mosier has helped create iconic institutions like New York’s Mercer Hotel and L.A.’s Chateau Marmont.
The Chiltern is no exception, with an over-the-top yet utterly charming mix of chintz carpeting; dimly lit Bavarian reading lamps placed in all the right corners; and a rotating cast of rock stars, It girls, and theatrical characters.
“My offcial title is kind of vague, but essentially I oversee all the visuals and aesthetics at our properties,” Mosier explains. This means every detail—from stocking the rooms with covetable matchbooks and ﬁlling the gift shops with need-to-know designers to commissioning new-wave artists to paint murals around the spaces. Under her guidance, Chiltern is now a buzzing counterpoint to Marylebone’s rows of Edwardian mews homes and quiet community of shopkeepers.
It was Balazs who suggested the family move from New York’s Lower East Side to London ﬁve years ago, while Mosier was traveling back and forth during the beginning stages of the Chiltern renovation.
“André is like family, so I trusted him that we would love it, and he was right,” she says. Another perk of their adopted city: “It’s really convenient for scoping out new surf towns and little hippie hideaways in other parts of Europe, just a short ﬂight away.”
[In this image: No 12 by Christian Flamm, ICA.]
The majority of pieces scattered throughout the family’s home was scooped up on their many travels—like a vintage Brazilian chair Mosier bought at the airport in Reykjavík and a set of black-and-white trays scored at a supermarket in Sweden.
Mixed in are things that simply ﬁt with their life. In the living room, thevelvet couch
in rich purple gets points for being “surprisingly spill-proof and stain resistant,” while the slim, oblong coffee table was purchased for having kid-friendly rounded corners.
“The design in our home is really just an honest reﬂection of our family and whatever works for us,” says Mosier, adding, “I work at a place that has a pretty lively and maximalist mood, so I’m more of a minimalist whenever I am off the clock.”
The one rule she strictly abides by? “Everything that comes in must have sentimental meaning. Otherwise, too much stuff ﬂoods in!” In the girls’ bedroom, Snoopy-style prints and dolls by artist KAWS were birthday presents to Scout, an avid ukulele and guitar player.
[In this image: Coziness meets clean modernism in the Mosiers’ bedroom, where a Rostarr original work hangs above the bed. It’s one of many pieces made by dear friends, several of whom have since become well-known names in the art world. Jacaranda Wood Armchair by Percival Lafer, 1stdibs; Lohals Rug, Ikea, $79; Fionia Stool by Jens Quistgaard, DWR, $339; Deep Blue Sea Work on Paper, Rostarr.]
At Mosier’s bedside table sits a framed print of her name scrawled in bright graffiti—a gift from José Parlá, sketched on Chateau Marmont stationery while he was staying there. “Most of our really good friends are artists, and I love having their pieces surround me,” she says.
[In this image: The office channels weekend vibes. “Most of the succulents and plants are from Geo-Fleur, a Plant Post Club monthly subscription that Chris gave me as a Christmas present,” says Mosier. 9’4 Saunton Foil Surfboard, Gulf Stream, Surfboards, $1,180; Ellis Ericson UKI 5’10 Surfboard, RVCA, $1,050; Nautical Flag, Jeff Canham; Kusa Desk, Habitat, $400; Case Study Side Shell Dowel, Modernica, $399.]
Another unmistakable totem is the collection of gigantic longboards leaning against the wall. “We still have a small surf shack in Costa Rica where we like to bum around,” says Mosier, “but right now I’m pretty psyched for just hanging by the ﬁreplace in our living room.”
Shop the look:
Medicine Woman by Julie Cockburn, Artsy Coming Together, Coming Apart by Julia Chiang, Perimeter Books, $27 Wooden Frame by Ferm Living, Domino, $38.99 IC Lights S, Flos, $595 Long Haired Sheepskin by Natural Brand, Domino, $88.99 Pair of H269 Kreslá Jindřich Halabala, 1stdibs
Vintage Beni M’Guild Moroccan Berber Rug by Indigo and Lavender, Domino $1,450 No 12 by Christian Flamm, Artsy Plain Black: Abstract Paintings by Clare Rojas, Amazon, $50
[In this image: Verneer by Julie Cockburn, Artsy]
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2017 issue with the headline New Wave Nomad.