A bland and boxy new-build penthouse has been given a glamorous, grown-up makeover that elevates it out of the ordinary
Julia Grant is not in the habit of making people cry. So when her clients opened the door to their Edinburgh pad and promptly burst into tears, she was a little taken aback. Happily, these were tears of joy – they were delighted with the way she had transformed their apartment. They had been living in the new-build pent-house for two years but it had never really felt like home.
They had tried out a host of different schemes, she recalls, but had never settled on a cohesive look. The size of the flat was partly to blame – having downsized from a larger family property when their children left home, the couple were struggling to work out how they could make the best use of their compact modern apartment but still maintain a personal style.
“They came to me for help,” says Julia, an interior architect who was head of the interior design department at the Belgica furniture store at the time. She wasted no time in getting started. She visited the flat immediately to get a feel for how the two of them were living, before devising mood boards that would offer them new, improved alternatives. “I had to get inside their heads,” she explains, “so I could start to get an understanding of what would suit their lives.”
Having completed a long series of commercial projects, adapting to a residential brief was a welcome challenge for Julia, who set up her Glasgow-based interior architecture practice, Julia Grant Interiors, earlier this year. She knew instinctively what was going to work in this project. “The walls were all white and they had two large leather sofas, but the layout was all wrong,” she remembers. “There were patterned curtains hanging in the living room that simply didn’t work. Worse, there was a lot of clutter everywhere, and the florals made everything too busy.”
Since she didn’t have the luxury of space to play with in each room, Julia decided that a neutral palette would provide the best backdrop. The clients were open-minded and more than happy to let her loose on their plush penthouse, so Julia had few restraints about what was and wasn’t possible. Influenced by designers such as Kelly Hoppen, Anoushka Hempel and Kelly Wearstler, Julia’s signature style is grand and glamorous, mixing feminine touches with a fairly masculine finish. Mirrors, high-gloss lacquer, chrome and glass all feature here, along with Eastern highlights (black wood, red gloss, high shine) and hip-hop textures (fur, leather, metallics) thrown in for impact. Clean lines dominate, particularly in the living room where Julia’s first task was to house the large flat-screen TV. “Rather than try to disguise it, I thought I’d make a feature of it,” she explains. Black glass was installed to act as a frame around the screen, with Calligaris wall-hanging cupboards serving as a sleek TV unit.
This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 164-170, issue 92.
Words Catherine Coyle
Photography Jen Meiklejon
What A three-bedroom new-build penthouse
Where North of Edinburgh’s city centre
Julia Grant Interiors , 07583 049556