Living etc

01st August 2010

We are proud to have been featured in Living etc's recent article, Neil McLennan branding our home as blending "elegance, practicality and era-defining, rule-breaking star pieces":

Sebastian Conran has created iconic ranges for department stores and posters for punk bands, so it's not surprising that his home blends elegance, practicality and era-defining, rule-breaking star pieces.

If today’s lifestyle is all about being relaxed, comfortable and surrounded by the things you love, then designer Sebastian Conran has mastered the art of modern living. His home with its seamless flow from front door to rear garden of rooms dotted with what he calls 'the stuff of life' - is one of those stucco-fronted west London wedding cake houses we all dream of getting our hands on. Sebastian had long-harboured similar dreams, having first clapped eyes on the property as a child. 'My stepmother's sister, Dinah Morrison, used to live next door and I often came to play in the garden as a child. Her son [now designer] Jasper had his first workshop just over there in that garden shed,' he laughs.

When, six years ago, Sebastian found himself in the market for a new home, he looked in the area that held special memories and, as luck would have it, his favourite house was for sale. 'A deal had been agreed,' he says, 'but I left instructions to get in touch if it fell through.' Six weeks later, the call came.

What followed was never going to be your typical story of a car-crash house that needed gutting to unleash its full potential. 'We bought a Victorian property with sturdy proportions, so there wasn't that much to do structurally,' he says. 'And I don't believe in ripping out perfectly good fittings just for the sake of it.' But when you have design in the genes - Sebastian is the eldest child of Sir Terence - the urge to put your own stamp on a property is strong.

What he modestly refers to as 'an exercise in tweaking' translates as precise widening of hallways, raising of door frames and adjusting of sightlines to create a series of perfectly aligned vistas that lead seamlessly from living room to kitchen, dining room and garden beyond. Against this meticulously devised backdrop, the creative brain's flotsam and jetsam - collections of art, toys, prototypes and memorabilia - pepper every surface.

As the design expertise behind Nigella Lawson's kitchenware collection, and a very successful range at John Lewis, it's not surprising that the kitchen is at the heart of Sebastian's home.

Although he admits he's 'not really a party person', he adores cooking - the rationale behind the horizontal internal window in the wall between the kitchen and dining room. 'It drove me mad to be in here cooking and have guests in there chomping away. I felt so disconnected.' Although many of the kitchen implements that are in daily use were created by the man himself, he freely admits he's not 'a fancy cook. Simple, good-quality ingredients - that's all you need.' Whether you're designing a punk poster, a pot or your home, that sounds like a pretty good recipe.