STYLE MAGAZINE EDITORIAL
Manhattan-style living in the centre of the city is top of many wish lists. And getting help to fit out a chic interior to live up to the dream is a rising trend.
Smart town houses are definitely a way of moving up in the world. Ranging over three or four floors means rooms can range from cosy hideaway to airy loft space within a few stairs.
Lorna Higgins has just been putting the finishing touches to a stylish pad in the centre of Cambridge within walking distance of the cinemas, clubs and the Cam .
She has transformed it from the blank canvas of builder's magnolia to sheer opulence with Ralph Lauren styling teamed with a modern take on Art Deco for businessman David Edmondson, who has recently relocated his home and telecommunications business from London to Cambridge .
"It is wonderful when you have a client who really knows what they like and what they want their home to be but are just too busy to be able to do it themselves," said Lorna.
She was introduced to David through Hockey's estate agent who knew her work. Lorna set up her interior design consultancy a year ago after working in the legal field for about 15 years and moved to Cambridge area three years ago.
"I have always been passionate about interior design and decided to give up my previous job and retrain, taking an intensive qualification at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London ," she said.
Before she put together a mood board for the whole house, Lorna made a trip to the West End of London to check out the Ralph Lauren look. "It really is opulent and I knew immediately I wanted to give David's home the feel of a Manhattan penthouse. Clean lines, uncluttered but really luxurious fabrics."
David already had two smart leather sofas for the living room, a walnut table and high backed leather dining chairs and a leather bed for the master bedroom.
"After talking and finding out just what things he liked and didn't like about interiors I decided the first stop had to be to change the wall colour. The house is well built but there was the inevitable magnolia everywhere."
To give the house a masculine atmosphere she chose just two colours to use on the walls, Farrow and Ball's Buff - a warm earthy shade - and Olive from the same range.
"I wanted to warm up the walls but not make it fussy. The olive green is used in the bedrooms and gives a calm, restful atmosphere and the buff is an excellent foil to David's collection of posters and paintings."
The windows were another aspect of the design which she felt needed a strong neat finish. She sourced green subtle striped silk and chenille curtains for the bedroom and gold chenille with flecks of black curtains for the living room. Walnut veneer wooden blinds were fitted to most of the other windows.
There is a wonderful view over the rooftops from the master bedroom which has a neat modern balcony so the huge windows can be thrown back wide during the summer.
"Walnut is repeated as the wood in the furniture I found to have fitted into the master bedroom too. Nothing but the finest 100% Egyptian cotton has been used for the bedding and real luxury - a green silk and suede throw for the main bed," said Lorna.
She found ceiling, wall and bedside lighting which echoed the Art Deco era and added accents to the living room with matt black eggshell cornice and skirting.
Swapping the white switches and electric points to antique brass also helped to warm up the living room without making it look fussy.
"You have to spend time getting to know someone when you are working on their home, you have to really trust each other, and when someone is busy at work it is wonderful for them to come home and relax and not have to spend their free time waiting in for deliveries or for something to be fitted."
David had never used an interior designer before: "It was really out of necessity, I just didn't have the time to complete the move, and carry on working. Also being new to the area, I had no idea who were the best tradesmen. Lorna listens to what you want and is also strong enough to advise when she thinks things won't work out. It feels like home now."