Mad About The House

House Tour: The Hoover Building

23rd April 2019
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I’m very excited to show you today’s post. Not only is it a tour of one of the most iconic ( and I don’t use that word lightly) buildings in London but it also belongs to a client who I had the privilege of helping with her design and both she and I are thrilled with how it all turned out.

the hoover building

I don’t often get to show you clients’ houses as often it’s a question of tweaking what’s there or they (understandably) prefer to remain private, but Lucy was totally up for us working together and showcasing the results on the blog, so come on in. It is, in case you hadn’t noticed, The Hoover building, which was been recently renovated and converted into flats. I wrote about it here where you can see the communal areas and wonderful attention to detail.

hoover flat before

lucy’s flat before we started decorating

The brief was simple. It was effectively a new build and she wanted to add character. She liked the modern California vibe. It was to be both pretty and cool, modern yet dramatic. As you can see there is one main living space with stairs coming up from two bedrooms below and another en suite bedroom is off at the side.

Loaf sofa image by Paul Craig

Loaf sofa image by Paul Craig

Lucy’s main concern was, of course, the building’s biggest feature; those wonderful art decor windows had been painted in a bright green and anything she chose had to go with them. There was also that large shelf running underneath in both this living room and her bedroom next door. It houses pipes and there was nothing to be done about them.

open plan living at hoover by paul craig

sofa Oscar from Loaf in Liquorice

Strictly speaking they are too high for a window seat but it felt like the best option. Finally, that large pillar in the middle of the room. I suggested that as it was never going to disappear it would be better to paint it in a really strong colour and announce its presence. In the end, it worked brilliantly as it was painted to match the dining area walls and help to zone that space from the kitchen, with its more relaxed breakfast bar and the sitting room with the L-shape sofa.

image by Paul Craig – see credits below

By the end of the project we had managed to create a single room with four distinct seating areas each with a different feel to them. Lucy tells me she spends hours on the window seat reading or writing on her laptop. Then she has the sofa for TV watching and relaxing, the dining area for dinner parties with friends and finally the kitchen peninsula, where she mostly eats when she’s on her own or with her flatmate, and also sits to work as she made a point of choosing bar stools that were really comfortable.

window seat image by Paul Craig

fabric L- R: rombo storm, black edition lombardo all from Romo Black edition

As you can see the window seat runs the entire length of the flat, and there was no storage in this room. I suggested adding these shelves and a cupboard at this end and proposed using the other end as a huge plant area so that the first thing you would see from the bottom of the stairs would be a short of indoor jungle against those green windows. Unfortunately the sun proved too much for the poor things and after a couple of attempts Lucy gave up and added more cushions.

samsung qled tv by paul craig, sideboard by westelm

samsung qled tv, sideboard by westelm – see similar here

Moving round the room and the side board sits between the window seat and the dining area and opposite the sofa. The wiring for the television had already been installed with a huge bank of sockets so we had to work around that. Lucy bought a Samsung QLED television so that it can look like a picture if she leaves it on. It’s not the Frame where you can choose any work of art though. There are a few screen savers to choose from but for this picture we found an episode of Blue Planet and just paused it on a jungly page).

Lucy replaced the ceiling spot lights with these pretty wall lights from Tom Dixon. There were some more art deco ones uplighters there originally.

gallery wall westelm table tom dixon chairs at hoover building by paul craig

gallery wall from Liljebergs, table westelm, chairs and lamp by Tom Dixon

Moving to the dining room and we used Hague Blue to zone this space, painting  – not just a feature wall –  but two walls to create a corner as well as the pillar. Lucy used my trick of buying a large piece of carpet and having the edges hemmed and paid around £400 in total for this large rug rather than around £2,000 for an equivalent sized rug. I have since been advised that CarpetRight will also do this sort of hemming.

hoover building by paul craig

bar cart from oliver bonas

The kitchen sits at the end of the open plan living space. There was originally another loo leading off it but both Lucy and I agreed that it wasn’t a place we would want to visit if there were any guests in the flat. Her bedroom has an en suite and there is also a second bathroom downstairs. I suggested ripping it out and creating a walk in larder, which she has done and which helps enormously with storage.

When it came to the bar stools, Lucy knew she wanted something comfortable. She bought some (relatively cheap ones) and had them re-upholstered in this Eley Kishimoto fabric (which coincidentally I featured on the blog as last week as part of the Milan Inspiration series) and painted the legs black. The pendant lights both in the dining and kitchen area are also Tom Dixon.

neon at hoover building by paul craig

neon by bag and bones at hoover building by paul craig

I suggested a neon over the stairs when Lucy said she wanted something that would be visible from downstairs and also work upstairs. She chose the Taylor Swift lyric and sourced it from Bag and Bones.

Moving into the bedroom. When I first visited this original banana leaf wallpaper (from the Beverly Hills hotel) was already on Lucy’s  list. She planned to do the wall behind the bed but she didn’t know what else to do. I said that if she had the budget she should do two walls – again to create a wraparound feel – and with the windows taking up the whole of the wall opposite that worked really well. She bought all the paper back in her suitcase from LA following a work trip as it is handpainted and she didn’t want to risk damage. As a point of interest, if you order a sample they will send you quite a large one but it has diamond holes cut in it to stop you papering a room for free in sample pieces.

beverly hills at hoover building by paul craig

As I mentioned paining the room pink and green hadn’t been in her plans, and when she did that before the wallpaper was hung she said she was nervous but it all fell into place once the paper was hung.

She then bought a storage bed from Loaf and had the headboard reupholstered.

painted furniture by lucy dachtler at hoover building image by paul craig

the original handpainted banana leaf wallpaper, painted ikea cupboard

The chest of drawers is the Hemnes from Ikea. Lucy and her mother stayed up half the night watching Annie Sloan videos (I posted about painting furniture here) and used the leftover Pink Ground from the walls to cover it adding some new handles. I was gobsmacked when she told me. It honestly looks amazing and, somehow, old. It also matches the (faux) shagreen finish of her Oka dressing table.

It was painted in crackle paint and waxed in gold. But sand throughly as it can be hard to get the paint to stick. The handles were from Zara.

wardrobe pink and green image by Paul Craig

Lucy’s bagdrobe with Leopard rug image by Paul Craig

Lucy saw a vintage chair like this one below on Pinterest and her upholsterer (who is based in Somerset so not London prices) offered to make one similar for her. It’s covered in bouclé material, which is about to be the next big thing in textures so look out for it.

beverly hills at hoover building by paul craig

oka dressing table, the chair was made by Lucy’s upholsterer from a Pinterest image, pink ground and arsenic paint

Finally the staircase. When I first met Lucy she wanted a leopard print which, believe it or not was quite hard to find a year ago! In the end she chose this navy blue Antelope print which I think will last much longer as I think while leopard will always be classed as a neutral it might feel a little 2019 in a couple of years and, this blue suits the overall colour palette much better.

stairs at hoover building image by paul craig

antelope stair carpet from stark carpet image by paul craig

All images taken by Paul Craig, this is his website for commissions and you can (and should) follow him on instagram here for nice pics and good tips.

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  • Russell chedzoy 12th May 2019 at 5:34 pm

    Iam the unarmed upholsterer in Somerset
    Russell chedzoy
    Baytree upholstery and beds

    • Kate Watson-Smyth 13th May 2019 at 12:14 pm

      Aha! Thank you for dropping by. We love your work!

  • Liv 24th April 2019 at 2:38 pm

    This is just fabulous. Having driven past the iconic Hoover building for the past however-many years, it’s our first peek inside! You have done it beautifully, we love the colour scheme.

  • Anna 24th April 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Lucky Lucy to be working in tandem with you and to having a Mum who helps out too.

    A brilliant example of what can be done with the average budget ….and it must be such fun for Lucy to come back to each day!

  • harriet smith 24th April 2019 at 11:41 am

    You are a genius, Kate! And I love the way you’ve worked so well with an obviously creative client – a great way to create a high-end look on a moderate budget.

  • Mandy 23rd April 2019 at 9:35 pm

    Adore the colour choices here – and the stair carpet . . . all very welcoming

  • Laura 23rd April 2019 at 1:11 pm

    I agree with Jenny – from the butterfly prints to the neon wall sign, the whole apartment is young and fun and definitely not too serious, which I love. My favourite part is the stair carpet – which when scrolling through quickly I intially thought was animal print, so it’s definitely a good alternative to leopard.

    Thanks for letting us look around, Lucy!

  • Brad 23rd April 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Amazing job Kate! Love how it all came out

  • Marie 23rd April 2019 at 11:08 am

    Absolutely stunning Kate. Well done to you both. Making me braver in my choices for my own refurb!! Thank you Lucy 👍👍

  • Nicola 23rd April 2019 at 10:35 am


    And thank you Lucy for letting us have a look.

  • Leigh Astur 23rd April 2019 at 9:48 am

    It’s utterly gorgeous, so feminine and chic!

  • Carole 23rd April 2019 at 8:41 am

    Absolutely stunning Kate. Light, bright, bold and very West Coast xx

  • Anne 23rd April 2019 at 8:30 am

    Light, airy, fun and full of personality!!! I’m currently decorating a new build and totally inspired by this home. Well done!!!

  • Jenny 23rd April 2019 at 7:49 am

    This is all just beautiful. I love the bedroom wallpaper and colour scheme especially. It’s all such fun, you want to go hang out and drink martinis.

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