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Left Kitchen: Hille (Alan Turville) custom-made cherry fitted units; custom-made stainless steel worktop from Scandinavia of solid maple that are threaded onto each other internally. The white disc bases are supposed to stand on top of a white carpet, giving the appearance that the table top is ‘floating’ – but one too many spilt Ribenas when the children were young forced us to replace the white carpet with something more practical.”
The elegant ‘41’ dining chairs were a standard in the Hille range. Designed by Robin Day, they have solid spoke-shaved maple backs, which compliment the table beautifully. “The softness and the shape of the wood give a lot of support and they are very comfortable.”
Hille also made Herman Miller designs during the ’60s and Knoll furniture through the ’70s, which included designs by Eames, Saarinen and Platner. And it’s all here. The prominence of each of these designers within her home is testament to the belief that Cherrill clearly had in their work.
There is a harmony between the architecture and furniture within the building. Cherrill explains: “Everywhere we have white walls and bright carpets, so as not to detract from the furniture and our art.”
Perched on the 1960s Chesterfield settee, Cherrill remarks: “The Chesterfield is perfect for this room – we often sit on the back ledge and look out at the garden. The kids tumble over it, they love it.”
Cherrill says of the Platner coffee table in front of it, which consists of bent metal rods and a bronzed glass top: “I
love the fact that you can see the carpet through it and you get so many lovely reflections”, and Ian nods to the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman: “That’s everybody’s idea of an iconic design, but none of us ever sit in it. I find it too soporific because of the angle.”
A sliding door, set seamlessly within the dining room wall, separates the spacious living area from the bedrooms and bathrooms, which are altogether more pod-like.
Thanks to the sloping plot, all four bedrooms are on ground level, with two accessed off the living area and two down half a flight of stairs. The fitted furniture in the master bedroom was made as a ‘special’ within Hille. Once again designed by Alan Turville, the wardrobes and L-shaped dressing table are all part of the same unit. Constructed in ash, which has mellowed over the years, with a solid granite countertop, they float off the floor to make the room seem more airy and, as a bonus, allow the vacuum cleaner to reach underneath. The room is softened by a couple of textiles that hang on the walls, including a notable one-off silk mosaic by Lucienne Day.
Looking down the hallway, a grass green carpet in what is now the family office (taken from Cherrill’s parent’s house) cleverly blends with the lawn beyond. Cherrill explains: “We wanted views from all the bedrooms, and used big glass windows that slide back so that you can step out of them. The one problem with so much glass is that we don’t have as many walls as we might have to hang things on!”
When I finally turn my attention to what is in fact on the walls, I am not disappointed. I’m surrounded by many of the greats from the last 40 years – a Patrick Heron and a Terry Frost hang above sculptures by Lynn Chadwick and Anthony Gormley.
Cherrill says: “Ian and I have identical taste. When I saw the Gormley at a Whitechapel Art Gallery fundraising exhibition, I mentioned to Ian that I loved it and to my surprise he immediately told the sales assistant that he’d take it. It turned out that he had already earmarked it and was waiting for my reaction.”
I am struck by how successfully these pieces fit within the architecture. The colour in the paintings shouts of Cherrill’s personality and the clean-lined sculptures hint at Ian’s love of architecture. Each purchase has been carefully considered. Cherrill explains: “Everything in our house has been collected over the years. We don’t go out of our way to change things because something doesn’t fit with the latest fashion. We live with everything we buy. It is our home.” M