Whincop is an impressive, beautifully proportioned house, standing in formal gardens in an exclusive private drive in Cheam. To Matthew and Lisa Harding, the creation of Whincop was a very special project, because it was built on the site of their former home. This was to be the setting for their vision of a classic, Regency style house, incorporating every conceivable touch of luxury.
“We were inspired by the romance of the Regency period,” said Lisa. “…the time when the British were beginning to indulge in ‘The Grand Tour’, travelling throughout Europe and collecting treasures along the way. We wanted to bring this look and feel to Whincop. We wanted people to walk into it and imagine that they had stepped back in time.”
Matthew and Lisa were no beginners at creating beautiful houses. Their portfolio is impressive. They knew it was important to find interior designers with whom they could
share their vision.
They chose Alexander James Interiors, based -at White Waltham, Berkshire.
“We had seen a couple of their show houses,” said Matthew, “and recognised immediately that they were the perfect partners to help us achieve our vision.”
Alexander James Interiors became involved from an early stage. Their designer for the
project, Gabriela Citaro, remembered her first meeting with the owners.
“It was clear from the beginning that Matt and Lisa were committed to building a house of outstanding quality and design,” she said. “In this type of partnership, chemistry is essential, and we all felt comfortable right from the start. A collaborative approach always works well. The client gains the experience of the designer, whilst the designer gains an insight into the client’s vision. Alexander James offers such a vast variety of products that once we understand that vision, it’s easy to make the correct selections.
“The architecture was so specific and detailed that I could easily see how the house
should look,” said Gabriela. “Our two main aims were classical lines and understated elegance. That might sound like a cliché, but not all houses are so inspiring!
“Lisa and I discussed colours,” she said. “Each room was to have its own particular colour accent, whilst the background colour palette, inspired by period Regency colours, was to remain constant and blend it all in.
“The entrance is particularly impressive,” said Gabriela. “The open space links all the rooms in the house. There is an arch separating the vestibule from the inner hall, so we gave each area its own individual mood, using different wall colours. Silver console tables and mirrors frame the entrance to the dining room and we made sure that the few accessories were large and bold.
Gabriela was particularly enthusiastic about the dining room.
“I loved working on this room,” she said. “I chose a round table, to give the friendliest
dining arrangement, and chose a formal setting with white and silver dinnerware, crystal glasses and fresh white napkins over the dark table top. These colours were echoed in the chandelier – and red flowers were used as an accent colour.
“From the dining room, you walk straight into the drawing room. The windows in this room are spectacular, so I decided to enhance them with simple drapes with a patterned band, to be echoed by the wallpaper. We added dynamism with an array of cushions of
different colours, sizes and textures.
“In the master bedroom, the sophisticated look was achieved with metallic finishes on
the furniture, complemented by the semimetallic wallpaper, antique mirror frames and
chrome speckled accessories. Purple was the accent for the soft furnishings, and we carried this through to the ensuite bathroom and dressing room.”
Matthew and Lisa had the last word on the result.
“Fantastic!” said Lisa. “Very professional. Super people to work with!”
“We will certainly be using Alexander James again,” added Matthew.
M J Harding Building Contractors
Alexander James Interiors
0118 924 1626