But the project wasn’t without challenges, the main one being access. The building is an old one, with a small lift and staircase, so bringing in huge pieces of furniture was always going to be a problem. In the end, the headboard and huge, kidney-shaped sofa were built in multiple pieces and assembled on site. It’s testament to the quality of the work that it’s almost impossible to tell. ‘You’d never know,’ says Henri.
The courtyard was another issue. ‘The courtyard windows look over drainage systems, so it wasn’t a pretty aspect,’ he says. ‘So we designed blinds featuring magnolia flowers and used the same design on all the windows, which made the area feel more like a conservatory.’
It’s an idea worth borrowing. And, though many features of this bespoke apartment would be tricky to recreate at home, there are still some worth using in your own schemes. Henri has one main tip, which is, ‘Always start with the floor plan – make sure the function works. As soon as you know how the space is going to meet your needs, you can then apply your design.’
He also advises having a clear reference and keeping that in mind. ‘It’s so easy to flick through magazines and say, “I like that… I like that…” But you end up wanting everything,’ he says. ‘But ultimately you’ve got to do something you want to live with.’