Notting Hill’s famous blue door may have long gone, but the Hollywood cachet afforded by its namesake film lives on.
A stream of actors, actresses and other A-listers continue to buy property in the neighbourhood, specifically Westbourne Grove. It is here, among the chi-chi boutiques, cafes and celebrity residents, where model Angela Dunn and her husband Colin Radcliffe call home. Scroll through the gallery below (Photography: Michael Paul) to experience the star power of their residence: The couple live in a Georgian house that they painstakingly restored. Built in 1760 as a refined rectory for the local church, the house suffered the ignominious fate of being turned into nine pokey flats sometime in the 1960s. It took the vision of Angela and Colin, a talented architect and interior designer, to see the potential in transforming it into a spacious, light and airy family home. Colin creates luxury houses for London’s rich and famous, so he was the ideal man for the job. The building is listed, which meant Angela and Colin had to go through a long series of meetings with the planning authority in order to determine what they could and couldn’t do before work could begin. “We were very conscious of the house’s origins,” says Angela. “So we were anxious to retain its integrity and reinstate some of the classic values, but to make it livable. It clearly needed to be modern and a lot more comfortable.” Luckily Colin knew a fair bit about London Regency houses, and, after doing a bit of research, he started restoring important details like cornices, skirting boards, architraves and ceiling roses. He had the old windows restored, and he had the original stained glass windows that are now found in the dining room repaired. These actually pre-date the house, and the couple discovered one of them was painted by Hans Holbein the Younger, who was famous in the 16th century for his portraits of Henry VIII. Another panel dates from 1637. “We love these quirky additions to the house,” says Angela. It gives the place an intriguing history and an air of mystery.” Angela and her husband chose a colour palette that complements the home’s heritage yet feels contemporary at the same time. Grey accents enhance the base tones, matching beautifully with the statuary marble floor that flows throughout the ground floor; it is flecked with grey and punctuated with diamonds of Nero Marquina, a classic black Italian marble. Continuing this approach to colour, the panelled, formal salon on the first floor is painted in an elegant Dior grey. The black-themed bathrooms also echo this ethos: Nero Marquina marble is interspersed with white marble diamonds, to graphic effect. Even the bath and walls are lined with marble. “Colin added his trademark touch here,” says Angela. “The taps, fittings and trim around the wardrobes have all been done in an edgy bronze finish, to give that added je ne sais quoi that we love.” Big full-length, smoky mirrors in the bedroom, bathroom and dressing rooms are also trimmed in bronze. To enhance the sense of glamour throughout, Colin and Angela mixed vintage pieces with luxe, fashionable designs. The sensation reaches almost dazzling Hollywood heights in the main bedroom. A sumptuous Dolce & Gabbana fox fur covers the large bed, which has a French dresser mirror at the head. Beside the bed, flamboyant stone and bronze lamps from the 1970s sit atop gold-mirrored cabinets from the same era.
A 1950s Gio Ponti dressing table and a vintage Osvaldo Borsani low chair upholstered in faux leopard skin fabric add the finishing touches.
The couple’s house is so full of tactile elements and visual beauty that a visit here is a very sensory experience. At the same time, it tells an intriguing story through its many layers and fascinating history. The tailored, bespoke look that Angela and Colin have created preserves the classical origins of the house and gives it a new lease of life; through their ingenuity it has become a contemporary and very livable family home.