Twenty years ago I came close to realising a dream. I fell in love with a derelict house in Spitalfields and the day had arrived to complete the deal. A day I will never forget as I was gazumped. I was devastated and I never forgot that house…
The first time I met Natalie Wilson in 2001, was with a level of disbelief, as World of Interiors said they were going to cover my first apartment in North London (WOI June 2001). This juncture of my life became massively formulative. Simon Upton came to photograph the apartment and has been photographing our Jamb advertising campaigns and projects ever since. I have been extremely lucky to have had all three of my homes featured in World of Interiors and photographed by Simon. My bachelor flat in 2001, my family home in Camberwell (2012) and now my new creation in the East End of London, as seen in the January 2016 World of Interiors.
It was extraordinary after all these years that I was more nervous than ever showing Natalie my latest project. As I was waiting for her to arrive I had regressed to the mental age of five, with an overwhelming sense of vulnerability and fear of her not liking what I had created. Natalie is such a charming, lovely individual and an extraordinary pro. When she arrived she was so engaging and warm but also held a poker face that I couldn’t read. The more I couldn’t draw whether she liked it or not, the more anxious I became. It’s one of those funny things really; you get so involved in the creative process of blending an environment with such enthusiasm and pleasure, that you don’t really think about it from the eyes of the outside world.
Fortunately for me, Rupert and Natalie wanted it for the World of Interiors January issue and this illustrates a return to my original aesthetic. When I used to deal at Core One, my collection of antiques was far more eclectic. The country house aesthetic that defines Jamb is driven by the 17th, 18th and 19 Century fireplaces that is our foundation; with an obsession to see through that aesthetic in all areas of our business from antiques to lighting and furniture. When I had Core One, I mixed all periods and it was a far less puritanical aesthetic. At Hanbury Street I had the opportunity to turn a semi-derelict, turn of the century building into the vision of my dreams and return again to all sorts of styles and influences that I’ve always loved as an antique dealer. I have integrated all the things I am enthused and excited by, involving companies whose craftmanship and artistic licence I respect and admire, including Waterworks, architectural metalworkers Eamonn P Kenward and decorative vintage rugs that I used throughout from Emily’s House.
The building itself is similar to my first apartment – late 19th Century built for the purpose of habitation and manufacture. There was no point in trying to replicate the Spitalfield’s Hugenot interiors of the Eighteenth Century because it wasn’t true to the building and my passion has always been to create authenticity. But in some of the areas of the house I chose to echo that in the revivalist sense; through the paneling in the bathroom and the dressing rooms.
It has been an amazing opportunity to design and make the bespoke products that I have been thinking about, and seeing them through to a living environment. I love screens and in the living room I always wanted to build one like a clerk’s office relating back to a working environment rather than a domestic.
In the dining room the Cruxton table with the brass top fulfilled a design that had been playing in my head for a while and which has now been added to our range of reproduction furniture.
In the kitchen itself the work tops are handmade Belgium fossil with pewter doors – a combination that I have dreamed of for a while.
It is also the first time that the new collection of lanterns has been published: the lattice globe lantern in the drawing room and the Morton globe lantern in the master bedroom above. Each bedroom has bespoke fireplaces in wonderful materials, Derbyshire fossil, Peacocks eye and Travertine.
The third floor bedroom has a bespoke fireplace in Peacocks eye and our Art Deco dish light.
The new lighting designs continue throughout the house. The Aspley dishlights in the dining room and the new Florin, Croft and small Bradshaw wall lights. Not forgetting for a minute the Conroy wall light that I am passionate about and which completes the new range of lighting at Jamb that is both affordable whilst retaining its quality.
It’s all very much a dream come true to be able to bring this project to life and to be able to channel my passions and energies in this way with a wonderful design and building team behind me. And it is with great thanks to Rupert and Nathalie that I can share it all with you.