Interview with UBER Designer Grace

WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE PROJECT FOR YOU AND WHY?

“It has to be the The Grand Restoration. There is so much history to the building and it’s completely in line with my personal style.
A project is more interesting when there’s more detail to it and you have to do the research behind it.
I like how you have to be sympathetic to all the history and details of the building, with the cornicing, architraves, column details as well as any existing panelling. This client has got an eye for detail, so his aim is to restore it sympathetically to what was there before but with a contemporary twist. It’s the biggest project I have worked on to date – with three generations living there! They have all got their own individual styles, so there isn’t one individual style that you have got to run with in each room – there’s diversity which makes it more interesting.”

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF DESIGNING THE GRAND RESTORATION?

“I loved seeing the rendered elevations that I have composed and then seeing It come to life on site. (Rendered images are 2D images of the wall fittings with included material finishes and colours to give the client more of an insight into what things are going to look like.)
The ceiling detail particularly in the living rooms were all designed during the first lockdown, we picked all the cornicing and moulding details, set it all out, did all the elevations and rendered it with the wallpapers and colour choices. So, when we went on site and we saw what was just exposed brick to seeing all our designs in the flesh was really exciting.”

WHAT WAS THE CLIENTS BRIEF FOR THIS PROJECT?

“This building originally was a residential college, and this is the first time it will be a residential family home. The clients fell in love with the grandeur of the property and the history behind it, so they still wanted to keep the integrity of the properties history but also make it work for them as a family and put their own stamp on it.”

ARE THERE ANY UNIQUE PARTS TO THIS PROJECT THAT YOU HAVEN’T DONE OR EXPERIENCED BEFORE?

“Dealing with the number of clients on this project was very unique.
Also, I’ve never worked on a building with so much history.
There were many products used in this project that haven’t been used before – for example the kitchen island by Officine Gullo which is 5m by 1.2m. It was the first time I have had to look at how to specify a kitchen and the appliances that go with it. Also I had to go into what was required to hang the kitchen canape from the ceiling on top of the island as it was the weight of a small car.
They built a mock-up of the kitchen island from the design to make sure its right for them, it also gives the client more of a feel of the space and if it will work for them.”

STONE ARCHES AND COLUMN DETAIL

“There are dozens of stone archways in this property and every single one is different. From intertwining ivy and ferns growing around the capital of the column, to grape vines and other different fruits delicately placed around the crowns. With this property being the age it is (built in 1876) the majority of the column details have unfortunately either chipped or eroded away over time. The new owner has got an eye for detail, so his aim is to restore all of these more intricate details sympathetically to what they were when this property was originally built, but also incorporating his own style. His own style being quite palatial yet still maintaining a contemporary feel to incorporate the rest of his family’s taste. The stone archways are going to be restored and painted white with the two raised profiles in the arch being gilded in pale gold leaf. The existing decorative pieces around the columns are going to be restored to its original gothic design and painted white, whilst the marble shaft is going to be maintained and cleaned.”

CORNICING, ARCHITRAVES AND CEILING ROSES

“All of the cornicing, architraves and ceiling roses were designed by Stevensons of Norwich. They provide many styles that are in keeping with different time periods. As this is a Grade II listed building the clients wanted to keep its grandeur and be sympathetic to the history as that’s what they originally fell in love with.

So when deciding on the style of cornicing, architraves and ceiling roses we knew we had to be mindful. We wanted them to flow from room to room, stay in keeping with the property, complement the intricate detailing on the marble columns yet still remain contemporary.

We decided on Victorian cornice moulds for the dining room and ladies lounge as there’s more grandeur to these cornices with the floral mortise and egg and dart details. We then opted for Georgian cornice moulds for the gentleman’s lounge and guest lounge as they wanted a more contemporary feel to these rooms. The ceiling rose that was chosen for the ladies lounge has floral motif and life size fruits incorporated into the design which then complements the fruits and the floral mortif on the stone archway columns.”

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