Rich pickings: a fashion stylist’s palace of glamour

From gold-patterned wallpaper and velvet upholstery to peacock feather fabric, there is barely a corner of Leith Clark’s glamorous Victorian house that isn’t filled with rich, dramatic shades. The hallway is papered in dark floral blooms, inspired by the cracked canvases of Dutch masters; the dining room has bold gold-and-black wallpaper and shimmering brass cupboards, giving the room the feel of a jewellery box; and the master bedroom has a decadent De Gournay decorative wallpaper. A pale grey living space – the most “calming” room – is the closest this house comes to neutral.

Owner Leith Clark in the dining room, in front of a wall of brass cupboards designed by her partner James Hatt.
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 Owner Leith Clark in the dining room, in front of a wall of brass cupboards designed by her partner James Hatt. Photograph: Kensington Leverne/The Guardian

Canadian-born Clark, a fashion stylist, and her partner James Hatt, a production designer who did a lot of the carpentry in the house, moved in five years ago; they have a daughter, Astrid, four. A style director-at-large on Harper’s Bazaar UK, Clark founded the fashion magazines Lula and Violet Book; private clients include actors Keira KnightleyGugu Mbatha-Raw and Zoe Kazan.

A Fornasetti plate and a painting by Julia Hamilton above a turntable and drinks trolley.
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 A Fornasetti plate and a painting by Julia Hamilton above a turntable and drinks trolley. Photograph: Kensington Leverne/The Guardian

She and Hatt stripped out the interiors, and reconfigured the layout, reducing five bedrooms to four: a former dining room on the lower ground floor was converted into a study, and they moved the dining room to the ground floor, next to the living room. The couple laid parquet flooring throughout and added a kitchen extension, with pale green Shaker cabinets. Liberty London’s tropical leaf wallpaper, the most modest paper in the house, lines one wall. Black painted stairs sweep up the house, with a blush pink runner, and family portraits (including one of Astrid wearing a vintage Dior coat) form a gallery along one wall.

De Gournay Chinoiserie Portobello wallpaper in the master bedroom.
 De Gournay Chinoiserie Portobello wallpaper in the master bedroom. Photograph: Kensington Leverne/The Guardian

In the dining room, Queen Anne Ebony paper from riflepaperco.com (now out of stock) provides a dramatic backdrop to gilt-framed oil paintings, black skirting boards and picture rails. Old-fashioned flourishes include a turntable and a drinks trolley. The brass-fronted cupboards are designed by Hatt, as are the built-in wardrobes upstairs. The living room is painted mid-grey, which contrasts with a pair of velvet green sofas, and an armchair upholstered in purple velvet. A jukebox stands in one corner, and art books and pictures sit either side of a Victorian fireplace.

In the master bedroom, a panel of De Gournay’s romantic Chinoiserie Portobello wallpaper lines the wall opposite the bed and the back of the door. “I became obsessed with it when I worked on a Chanel ad,” Clark says. “It’s one of my favourite things in the house.” Another wall is painted dark grey, and a “floating” bookcase sits by the bed, housing a column of books. Off the master bedroom is a dressing room with floor-to-ceiling wardrobes, the doors upholstered in iridescent vintage Liberty Hera peacock feather fabric, which Clark found at Kempton market (held at Kempton Park racecourse, in Surrey). A shoe cupboard with a glazed door displays the footwear as if in a gallery. Antique french doors from a salvage yard open on to a bathroom, painted dusky pink and with a mirror-tiled wall.

The en-suite bathroom with floor-to-ceiling mirror tiles and a vintage Sonic Youth poster.
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 The en-suite bathroom with floor-to-ceiling mirror tiles and a vintage Sonic Youth poster. Photograph: Kensington Leverne/The Guardian

Clark is inspired by nature. “I feel very at home among it,” she says. “I live near woods, where I walk all the time, and a nature reserve, which is filled with overgrown vegetation and moss.”

House of Hackney’s Midnight Garden wallpaper in the hallway.
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 House of Hackney’s Midnight Garden wallpaper in the hallway. Photograph: Kensington Leverne/The Guardian

From feathers to birds, flowers to foliage, she has brought the drama and beauty of nature inside and made it sing.

 

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