It’s surely a home fit for a princess – featuring five floors across 2,200sqft of indoor living space in a beautiful Victorian building, with a 270sqft garden to boot. This grand abode in South Kensington was once owned by Carrie Fisher, the famed American actress who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. A year after her unexpected death in 2016, the property was sold to a young English couple with two young children.
“The husband and wife are both sophisticated professionals; the former is a lawyer and the latter practices in the finance field,” says Milan-based architect Isacco Brioschi, who was tasked with the renovation project. “They were very specific about what they wanted – a spacious, functional and inviting space infused with an Italian flair that works for adults and kids. Yet we were given plenty of freedom to create and interpret the brief in an unexpected manner.” The project proved to be a rewarding design challenge, as the founder of Isacco Brioschi Architects explains. “Since it’s a listed historic building, we were not allowed to conceive any large-scale reconstruction. The only change we managed to make was delineating a room next to the master bedroom for a bathroom and a walk-in closet.”
Scroll through the gallery below (Photography: Simone Furiosi) to see more of the elegant abode:
While the historic architecture is as prestigious as it is, settling in amidst their rather narrow and compact spaces is usually another story. “They often come with a lot of stairs, too,” says Isacco of the project’s limitations. To tackle that issue, the team cleverly incorporated mirrors and reflective surfaces to enlarge the perception of each area.
Once belonging to Hollywood actress Carrie Fisher, the London home has undergone a refreshing and modish overhaul by Milan-based architect Isacco Brioschi.
“We’ve also designed many furniture pieces for the home to create a better ratio balance. Other key designs include the Boffi kitchen, a sofa from Fendi Home and armchairs from Porada, exuding a refined touch with Italian craftsmanship from different perspectives.”
While the design team decided to revisit the classic Italian aesthetics after thorough meetings and discussions with the homeowners, they felt it was also important to weave in a sophisticated English sensibility to guarantee “an image of prestige and an allure of conviviality”, as Isacco puts it.
Upon arrival, you’re greeted by the stairs at the entrance, which lead up to the first floor, covered in a wool-and-silk runner. “Adorned in various shades of grey and an asymmetrical line, the runner contributes to a delightful illusory contrast between light and shadow. The lime putty-coated walls, together with the mirrored surfaces, further enhance the illusion of spaciousness,” says Isacco as he moves on to the dining area, which features a unique luminescent wallpaper that reflects natural and artificial light to suggest a candlelit ambience.
A mini sun-lit living area with an adjoining wine cellar enjoys sweeping views of the courtyard. The assemblage of furnishings is a curated mix of tactile materials and elegant palettes, including a smoked-oak wooden flooring with a beautiful chevron pattern framed by edging stones.
On the first floor is another living area that is separable for delineating formal and informal occasions, as well as a guest bathroom. While elegant Isacco-designed panelling (a reinterpretation based on the French neoclassical style of the late 18th century) pulls all the areas together, the architect adopted two distinctive decorative schemes to differentiate the mood.
Two sculptural New-Tone sofas and a Husk armchair from Moroso, as well as exquisite lighting by Brokis, set a modern, earthy atmosphere for the formal living area. As for the informal side, a generous-sized Madison sofa from Fendi Home that’s upholstered in blue velvet adds a pop of colour and texture to the relatively restrained scheme.
Such refined yet refreshing sensibility continues and is perhaps epitomised in the master bedroom on the second floor. Wall panels covered in Alcantara fabric are alternated with Vescom’s natural linen wallpaper for a three-dimensional effect, while Jok bedside tables by Porada and Fulcrum pendant lamps by Lee Broom anchor the peaceful retreat. The third floor, basement and outdoor area are almost entirely dedicated to the children so they can have a private forest-themed playroom, as well as plenty of indoor and alfresco living and entertainment options.
The meticulous execution of Isacco Brioschi Architects has created a contemporary refuge highlighted by Italian and English elegance and tailored for a modern family – and it’s an abode that exceeds the clients’ expectations.
Indoor and outdoor seating as well as ceiling panels in lush azure hues inject the home with a cosy sensibility.
Adding to the home’s textured, layered tactility are features such as marble, plastered walls and ornate ceiling cornices.
The home has been reimagined with a sense of contemporary European glamour, thanks to gilded accents, elegant lighting and streamlined fixtures .
An audacious sensibility unfolds in the bathrooms, imbued with vividly-hued walls and exquisite cabinetry.
Similarly, the children’s playroom oozes colourful character.
Exceptional craftsmanship shines from every inch of the elegant residence.
An atomspheric showering area.