"If you stand still for long enough in this place, you'll either be stained or painted," jokes Anthony Evans, referring to his wife Valerie's prodigious talent with the paintbrush. Anthony is managing director of Cole & Son, the long-established British wallpaper manufacturer. Valerie is an interior designer who got her start in the business more than 30 years ago by getting a job as a builder's mate and learning how to do plumbing and build cupboards.
Designed with American David Easton, Cole & Son's "St. James Trellis" wallpaper covers the drawing room's walls. Small framed pictures resting on old books and a leopard throw made from an aunt's coat (not shown) add quirkiness to the apartment. Concealed doors in the mirrored wall lead to a spare bedroom.
Paintings that flank the dining alcove conceal storage cupboards. The table and chairs were bought cheaply at auction, then painted and distressed by Valerie. The chairs are upholstered in a chic Lee Jofa check.
The master bedroom is papered in classic "Madras Violet," with matching linen curtains. A gilt Victorian mirrored screen makes an inspired headboard.
Another view of the master bedroom. The bedside lamp is by Bella Figura, through Lee Jofa, to the trade only.
The patio off the drawing room was once a cellar, with no windows or doors. The mirrored panels not only reflect light into the living area, but create the illusion of space, not to mention a forest of Italian cypresses.
Anthony and Valerie Evans.
In 2000, Anthony and some associates made a successful bid to buy Cole & Son, the venerable British manufacturer of wqallpaper. After raising the money, they set about rehiring all the workers who had been made redundant in recent years. "They were not just factory workers," he explains, "but craftsmen with tremendous expertise." Since then Cole & Son has gone from "strength to strength," particularly in the United States, where the wallpaper is distributed by Lee Jofa.