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.
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 Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Zoe Kazan.
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.
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.
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.”
From feathers to birds, flowers to foliage, she has brought the drama and beauty of nature inside and made it sing.