A King’s Former Bathroom Sink Is Just One FB Marketplace Score in This London Reno
The kitchen lighting once belonged to the Queen Mother.
Published Jan 16, 2024 1:10 AM
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Amira Hashish has a special talent for finding cool old things. “I am not kidding when I say I have the former king of Malaysia‘s and Lord Mountbatten’s wash basins in my bathrooms,” says Hashish, the London-based founder of creative studio Rapport and editor in chief of Neighbourhood Edit. Her contacts list is overflowing with antiques dealers and architectural salvage-yard owners, and in her free time you’ll find her strolling Golborne Road Market in Notting Hill or scouring Facebook Marketplace (that’s where she found King Abdul Halim of Kedah’s old sink to begin with). Hashish has accrued so much stuff that, almost out of necessity, she launched an online platform called Patina where she sells pieces exclusively to newsletter subscribers. The really good stuff, though, can be found in her Victorian home. “There are stories behind every room and object in the house,” she says.
Though the now 1,475-square-foot property was once a candy store, the space wasn’t so sweet when Hashish began renovations in January 2023. “It lacked warmth and there was potential to extend upward and outward,” she says. She worked with contractor Adrian Cahill and changed everything down to the facade: They added onto the home and turned it into a three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence with a bonus third floor and a terracotta-filled entertaining room that leads out onto a terrace. “My interior design process for each space was pretty rigorous,” says Hashish. Usually, she starts by honing in on one object or thinking of a place that inspires her. “Then I would rifle through my countless fabric, tile, and color samples to create a scheme that would bring it to life.”
Let Natural Materials Lead the Way in the Kitchen
Hashish splurged on the kitchen by tasking DeVol with her Shaker cabinetry (in the color linen) and sourcing her clear glazed zellige tile backsplash from Bert & May for $213 per square meter. The countertops are Breccia Oniciata marble with intricate peach, pink, and green veins that play nicely off the nearby dining area. “I just don’t think you can beat real marble when it comes to beautiful countertops,” says Hashish. It pays to call around, though: “Marble can be very expensive, but it is always worth asking if any offcuts work with your dimensions.”
Bring Your Favorite Vacation Destination to the Dining Room
By knocking out the wall and pillar that once penned in the original kitchen, Hashish gained a roomy entertaining space. Inspired by the colorful piazzas of Europe and the warm red colors that dominate the Tuscan skyline, she clad the floors in terracotta parquet tile. “I like to think that there is a slice of Firenze in my home,” says Hashish. She sealed the plaster walls with a couple coats of a translucent primer for protection and stuck a bamboo and rattan bar in the corner (the 1970s vintage score came from Painted House Kent’s stall at Chiswick Antiques Market). “In the warmer months you will find me shaking up a limoncello spritz. I also have a copy of the 1930s Savoy cocktail book, which has many wonderful recipes in its pages,” she says.
Make Room in Your Carry-on Luggage
Not only are many of the design elements in her house inspired by her travels, a lot of them were sourced on trips, like the mottled brown lampshade that is next to the bamboo bar. “I found it on a sidewalk in Hudson and knew I had to bring it back to London, so it made its way here in my hand luggage,” she says. The green-and-white–striped pendant lamp ($156) over the dining table is by English homewares brand Alice Palmer, but it also has a U.S.-based story: “You can spot them in Gigi Hadid’s Guest in Residence store in New York,” notes Hashish.
Piece Together a Vintage Bathroom at a Discount
With her reclaimed floral sink ($700) in hand, Hashish bought a dresser from a reclamation yard for $400 and combined the two to make her primary bathroom vanity. The Minton Hollins tile was another scrappy find: It usually costs around $10 per piece, but she found someone selling untouched boxes of it on Facebook Marketplace for $1 per tile. “I saved nearly $5,000,” she recalls. The freestanding tub has a similar story. A seller needed to get rid of it after realizing it didn’t fit in their space, so Hashish took it off their hands for $475, saving a cool $1,825. “As a rough estimate, the bathroom fixtures and fittings would have cost around $15,000 if purchased new. I paid less than $2,500 in total,” she says.
Embrace the Feel of Carpet Beneath Your Feet
To make the bedrooms as cozy as possible, Hashish opted for carpeting. “This entire floor is newly constructed, but I wanted it to feel lived-in and full of stories,” she says. The surface also makes it easier to lean things against the wall (painted in Lick’s Taupe 03), like the Italian antique mirror that is situated behind the 1970s bamboo table where she takes her morning espresso after rolling out of bed.
Commit to One Bathroom Surface
The guest bathroom looks straight out of Santorini, thanks to Hashish’s clever use of waterproof microcement (made of cement, silica sand, polymer resins, and natural pigments). “It reminds me of trips to the Greek islands,” she says. To complement the material’s soft pink shade, she combined it with gold accents, such as a reclaimed Sherle Wagner scalloped ceramic sink and a dragon faucet she unearthed at a Norfolk salvage yard. “This shower room technically belongs to the guest bedroom, but being in the space feels so relaxing that I use it every day,” she says.