How one American designer took this London penthouse to new heights

American designer Rachel Laxer brings transatlantic glamour to the interior of this Belgravia penthouse

What happens when a globe­trotting home ­owner hires a cross-continental interior designer? Throw in a com­manding London penthouse in need of some TLC, and the results are a heady fusion of styles that wouldn’t look out of place as the backdrop for James Bond.
Being based in New York and London, American interior designer Rachel Laxer has an eye on what’s happening in both cities (and a roster of clients who themselves have multiple residences), which makes her perfectly positioned to provide the transatlantic aesthetic they crave. Her speciality is in creating spaces that are impressive and glamorous yet completely practical at the same time.
At this penthouse property in Belgravia, for example, home to one of Rachel’s longstanding clients, the task was to create a bold look that would work with the family’s love of entertaining, while retaining a sense of comfort and functionality. “To me, a home is more than just a dwelling place to come home to and relax in; it is also a place to entertain and work,” the designer explains. “I like to make spaces very versatile.”
With this project, there was no time to waste. The job had to be turned around quickly, with the clients willing to move out for three months while the work was being done. Having a limited amount of time focuses the mind, says Rachel, and here it helped her to make swift decisions, adhering tightly to brief and budget.
A desire to make the penthouse a multifunctional home is what has driven the design scheme. On first inspection, it looks like the ultimate party pad, packed with glitzy, glam adornments. But a closer look reveals a home that takes on different personalities depending on what it is being used for. The abundance of natural light helped to inform the design, as Rachel explains: “The property has a lot of windows, which illuminate the interior with natural light – it’s that beautiful western light that just floods in.”

This is just a taster, you can browse the full article with more stunning photography on pages 220-228, issue 105.

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Photography Adrian Briscoe
Words Catherine Coyle
What A family penthouse
Where Central London