Thursday, March 29, 2012

Using a dilapidated Notting Hill townhouse as his canvas, a young London decorator conjures a fresh vision of modern, masculine glamour...

Notting Hill is famous for being one of London’s swankiest residential neighborhoods—thanks in part to the Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts movie of the same name. Nevertheless, it is home to a handful of spectacular buildings that have yet to be renovated. Australian-born designer Peter Mikic fell for one of these diamonds in the rough just over four years ago.
The object of Mikic’s affection was the larger of two mid-19th-century Italianate stucco houses, which had been, he says, “knocked together to make a rather scruffy hotel” in the 1970s. Vexingly, the property that Mikic coveted suddenly disappeared from the market. (After a bit of investigative work, he discovered it had been sold to a fashion designer.) Mikic’s partner, TV producer Sebastian Scott, suggested they look at the smaller, neighboring house. Mikic stubbornly refused. But after eight months spent fruitlessly searching the neighborhood for the perfect place, he finally acquiesced.
“It was a complete dump,” he says. “And when you walked in you could hear cooing, which turned out to be pigeons nesting on the third floor.” In true hotel style, the grand, second-floor drawing room had been carved into four rooms, each with its own kitchen and bath. “There was an overwhelming amount of work to do,” he continues, “and that’s what got me excited.”