Cochrane Design Creates An Edgy But Elegant London Townhouse

by Becky Hoh in Interior designed homes

Cochrane Design has achieved something very special in this London Victorian townhouse, it is timeless but of its era, rock n roll but classic, edgy but elegant.

This is something which the Fulham-based interior designer has achieved through using traditional silhouettes and shapes for furniture and structure but completely beefing up the proportions and dimensions, adding much more character, interest and warmth than is often associated with luxury properties.

The owner bought the property as three flats and reconverted them into a house, which means it now spans a whopping 3,000sq ft. The client then called in Cochrane Design to help him make sure that all of the space was used cleverly as well as being designed and decorated impeccably, with a real worry being that with such a big home, some areas would be used on a regular basis but some would become neglected dead space.

‘It’s important to be brave with your design, but be strategic. Try to enjoy your entire home.’

With this focus on the client’s need to make sure the whole house was fully functional on a daily basis, a huge portion on the £450,000 budget was spent on the structural changes that would afford the client’s request. Like many properties in London, this building lacks lateral space across each floor, so when Cochrane Design, visited the home, the designers decided to make the most of one of the house’s biggest benefits – its high ceilings. They cut through the floors, vertically opening up the space and bringing together the different levels and integrating the areas in the property.

Sean Cochrane, creative director of Cochrane Design totally concurred with the importance placed on this, ‘It’s important to be brave with your design, but be strategic,’ he says. ‘Try to enjoy your entire home. If you haven’t been in an area or room for a week, you need to rethink the space.To achieve this with this very tall town house, we integrated the living floors, including a double height section to bring the two levels together. On the top floor, we used the same method to integrate the master suite and dressing rooms.”

And to keep the space warm and exciting, rather than sparse and overwhelming, and also to connect all the areas visually, over sized furniture which spans whole walls and rooms has been specially created. The two levels of the integrated living areas are ‘joined’ by a two-storey-high, blue-black bookcase.

“The double-height sections, complemented by the bookcase and rolling library ladder, are both practical and visually stunning,” adds Cochrane. While the scale of the library is certainly dramatic, the panelled wood cabinet doors have a familiar age old feel to their design, that keeps the environment welcoming and homely. Extra elements of upholstery add a further suggestion of opulence and comfort, such as button back velvet padding on the walls and even doors.

The colour scheme is rich and sophisticated. Colours which are sometimes overlooked by the less daring, such as blacks and navy, get a good look in giving a great graphic, punch to the interior. There is accents of plum and mustard too, and even a hot pink fireplace, but the eye is given plenty of chance to rest and relax too with neutral tones on many of the walls with the punchier tones saved for the furniture and joinery. Bespoke panelling throughout the home pays homage to the building’s Victorian heritage, while upholstery on the walls and doors heightens the sense of opulence in the space.

In the upper levels of the home, where the second and third floors are joined to form the master suite, the decadence goes up a gear.  Plush double doors open to reveal a room with a double-height vaulted ceiling, under which the Cochrane has hung a crystal chandelier, rich silk curtains, and used rather glam furniture such as a chaise longue and a black lacquered slightly oriental looking console.

Almost all of the furniture in the house – down to the picture frames – was custom-made for the homeowner to suit his and his family’s every need. In one of the children’s rooms, they created a princess-style “bed in the sky”, complete with space underneath to serve as a play area. Elsewhere, the designer reinforced the ceiling to accommodate a hanging punching bag, for the children to use.

Cochrane has allowed for entertaining spaces, integrating them into the main public areas of the home, again with the ethos that there should not be parts of the home which were only used for ‘best’.  Large bespoke glass doors allow sunlight to flow freely into the home, as well as visually connecting the interior to the outer terrace, where the family hosts parties in the summer months.

Cochrane Design has created such an aesthetically striking home, with so much edge and fun alongside elegance and sophistication. It is a space that is made all the more impressive by the clever strategies behind the design that make it functional as well as so full of expression.


Paul Craig has always taken pictures and his mum still has the first picture he ever took when he was just a couple of years old.  It’s a black and white portrait of his mum and dad with part of their heads missing, taken at a strange angle with his grandfather’s camera.  He shot his first magazine cover of a minor celebrity at 16, but didn’t try interior photography until much later, by chance when a designer asked him if I would take some pictures of a house. Paul says ‘it seems stupid now that he hadn’t considered marrying his love of photography and interior design and making a career of it’

Cochrane Design  –

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