Dressed up beautifully, the 1.5million one-bedroom flat fit for a fashion queen
Fri 06 Jun 2014
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer, TV star Lisa Snowdon and singer Paloma Faith are among the glamorous women who have been dressed by designer and stylist Lucia Silver. So it should come as no surprise that Lucia's home is fit for a fashion queen.
For a start, it's a stone's throw from Westbourne Grove in West London's ultra-trendy Notting Hill, where celebrities like to shop in the uber-chic boutiques found there. And the one-bedroom flat is on the fourth floor of a serviced apartment block - high enough up to escape the noise and hullabaloo of the streets below. Its grand, circular reception room, which features a succession of windows with 180-degree views, provides a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding area. However, even fashionistas sometimes need to move out of town.
Lucia and her partner Peter, who is a painter and creative consultant, and their nine-month-old son Quinn are relocating to Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. Lucia is putting her flat on the rental market for 795 a week but will sell if she receives an offer in excess of 1.5million. That might seem a lot for a one-bedroom flat, but this is one of London's most desirable neighbourhoods and experts believe prices in the area are still going up. 'You have Queensway being completely gentrified five minutes' walk away; Portobello Market just up the road; the huge regeneration well under way in Paddington Basin; and you're only 15 minutes from Soho or the West End,' says Lucia. 'And on top of all that are the changes Crossrail will bring.'
Lucia knows she will miss the flat - not least because she has built her career in the ten years she has lived there. After reading English and French literature at Oxford University, she was headhunted by advertising firm J. Walter Thompson, where she became a European account director. She quickly realised she wanted to combine the strategic skills she was learning there with her creative talents. So in 2003 Lucia set up her own 'personal design and styling service',The L Boutique, in premises near her flat. Recognition from magazines such as Vogue and the high priestesses of fashion journalism - Suzi Menkes, Hilary Alexander and Lisa Armstrong - soon followed.
The L Boutique evolved into 'The State of Grace', a strictly-by-appointment studio where clients are offered London's only head-to-toe bespoke design and styling service. With Lucia's approach - 'Don't be bullied by fashion diktats... it's all theatre, so just enjoy whatever role you'd like to play and express your own style' - striking a chord, famous clients soon came knocking.Florence Brudenell-Bruce, Prince Harry's old flame, had her wedding dress designed by Lucia, while Paloma Faith used The State of Grace to dress her for her first UK tour. The design house specialises in bridalwear (Lucia was a commentator during the 2011 Royal Wedding) and the service provided is ideal for women wishing to dazzle on the red carpet as well as at high-society social events. Lucia's talents aren't limited to the fashion world. She recently opened a luxury boutique hotel - Dar Jaguar, in Marrakech, Morocco - which she renovated from a ruin.
Her Notting Hill flat shows plenty of evidence of a Middle Eastern influence. It is painted in sumptuous colours and there are hand-painted, crystal ruby and saffron-coloured lights from Morocco, a romantic dark-wood four-poster bed with brass studs, and exotic embroidered cushions and ornate mirrors reminiscent of the honeymoon suite at Dar Jaguar. Lucia explains that the bedroom is inspired by 'exotically oriental old-world harems'. She says it would not be easy to make structural alterations to the property - though she has restored a wonderful fireplace back into working order - and it is unlikely any new occupier could improve on her stylish decor.
There is a 5,500-a-year service charge, but this is quite normal for properties of this type in the area. Though there is no concierge service, the lifts are efficient and well maintained. Anna Ambrose, of agents Marsh & Parsons, says: 'Lucia Silver's flat is a special place - designed by her and with a thrilling circular reception room with great views over Notting Hill and lots of natural light. They are over-used words, but this flat is unique and is simply stunning.'