Adrian Amos, owns architectural salvage company LASSCO. The company’s headquarters, an 18th-century villa overlooking Vauxhall roundabout, was once the seat of the Duke of Brunswick but today it houses everything from salvaged crystal chandeliers and radiators to Victorian hooks and handles. It’s also next door to chef Jackson Boxer’s first venture, the Brunswick House Café, which Adrian designed.
‘At Brunswick House we played to all the original details. My philosophy is “If it looks Georgian, then by golly let’s do it up Georgian”. I hate those houses that have 18th-century fronts but as soon as you walk in suddenly it’s all modern and minimalist. That jack-in-the-box style is just unsettling. If you live in an early 19th-century classical townhouse in Kennington, you do it up with authentic items. If you live in a bland void of a box, then the world is your oyster.
‘The problem with young homemakers in London is that they are more likely to enthuse over a wooden crate or palette than a piece of well-made Victorian furniture. Maybe it’s because they aren’t well-versed in the history of decoration, or it simply doesn’t suit their aspirations, but I’m telling you, the smart money is on investing in decent brown furniture, such as a good sideboard for crockery, because it’s going to come back into fashion.
‘Use soft fabrics in unusual ways: in frames or hung on walls. Ham House is the best example of how to do this, but we can’t all afford a set of tapestries, so why not plump for a pretty quilt or rug from the North Country? It will improve the scale of the room and soften the acoustics to give it an intimate air. There’s something quite grand about them but a bit of ostentation in moderation is fine.
‘Our signature style at Lassco will always be English shabby chic, even though it’s been chewed over many times in gastropubs. The winning formula is always a combination of strong brownwood furniture, symmetrical arrangement and red and gold accents. Never underestimate the power of a reflective surface or soft wax finish, either. Subconsciously it implies a room is clean and well-maintained.’
LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Bainbridge’s Auction Rooms has an atmosphere that’s on the point of comatose but you can buy pieces for pennies. (bainbridgesauctions.co.uk)
Thomas Carlyle’s house on Cheyne Row is a great lesson in how to transform a dark house into something inviting. The 17th-century staircase is lovely. (nationaltrust.org)
Bacon Street in Spitalfields has two kitchen junk shops, great for interesting paraphernalia, like enormous poaching pans for turbot.
At Christie’s, not everything goes for headline money so go if you can. It’s not every day you can run your hand inside a Chippendale sideboard. (christies.com)
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