Interior Décor Focus: The Studio at Harrods

by theartofbespoke in Interior designed homes

Reluctant to go for an unknown interior designer? You could do what one North London family did, and let the Studio at Harrods revamp your home.

How do you go about choosing an interior designer? Certainly with so many around, it can be hard to know where to start. So you can understand the appeal of heading straight to a brand you’ve heard of, like Harrods.

The department store now offers its own residential interiors service, called the Studio at Harrods. Together with her sizeable team, head designer Sara Cosgrove has transformed everything from Chelsea apartments to Cotswold homes. And no, you won’t see a gilt Diana-and-Dodi statue or Egyptian-themed hallway in sight. Instead, the Studio aesthetic is about understated elegance – classic contemporary is probably the best description. But, as you’d expect from Harrods, there’s an emphasis on luxe fabrics and upscale textures – this isn’t the place to come for bohemian maximalism or a casual, lived-in look.

‘We created a different universe. We completely gutted the ground floor and totally reconfigured the living space.’

The Studio recently overhauled this modern, terraced house on a quiet Hertfordshire street, taking what was a cosy family home and giving it a thoroughly modern makeover. Interior walls were knocked down to create an open space, making the house immediately feel bigger. The walls were painted matt grey and a grey-washed oak flooring installed. This provided a neutral backdrop against which to add vivid accessories, such as turquoise and plum cushions, and Warhol prints.

‘We created a different universe,’ says Cosgrove. ‘We completely gutted the ground floor and totally reconfigured the living space. Upstairs was more of a refurbishment job, but even there we took out the wardrobes and radiators, and upgraded everything.’

The couple have teenage children, so Cosgrove and her team built a media room. Bespoke, wall-to-wall cupboards now house the family’s electronics and DVD collection. Other enviable features include a stylish downstairs partition wall, which divvies up the room without blocking the light or invading the space.

And it’s the use of space and light that Cosgrove likes best about the new-look home. It has a beautiful garden overlooking open fields, which was previously blocked from view. ‘Now you walk in and get this beautiful vista of the outdoor space, and it really plays with the internal colour we’ve used,’ she says.

One advantage of working with a big name like Harrods was that there were fewer hiccups than you might expect with a project of this size. But that’s not to say nothing ever went wrong. ‘We had a few issues with the wrong colour paint turning up, and that sort of thing,’ says Cosgrove, but, ‘because we have such good supplier relationships, it was always easy to solve.’

Another bonus of working with such a big firm is that you’ll have access to its vast network of contacts. Clients aren’t limited to sourcing pieces from the Knightsbridge shop, but instead have access to a huge portfolio of suppliers, including top-class joiners, stone suppliers and audio-visual specialists.

Naturally, such expertise will cost you. But perhaps not as much as you might think. Though Cosgrove happily admits that they work with ‘the higher end of the market,’ it isn’t just celebs and billionaires who use the service. ‘Obviously we have international clients with properties all over the world,’ she says. ‘But we also have those for whom this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.’

Certainly that was the case here. The family simply realised, as many people do, that they hadn’t done anything to their home for more than ten years, and it was time to make a change.

‘We’re more accessible than people realise,’ says Cosgrove. ‘But we tend to work on the bigger projects, where we’re completely renovating the whole house. If someone just wants to change a bedroom or bathroom, we’re probably not the right people. But if you’re willing to go the whole way with us, then we’re interested.’

And it seems that, these days, more people are ready to go that whole hog – certainly if the Studio’s waiting list is anything to go by. There’s a good reason for that, thinks Cosgrove. ‘For most people, their property is their biggest asset,’ she says. ‘It’s not so easy to move around any more, so in terms of maintaining your property, this is the best way you can do it. And for this family – well, it’s like they built a new house.’

For more info, visit The Studio at Harrods website

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