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Property of the week: a William Morris-designed apartment in Kensington

This London apartment’s colourful past almost rivals its Arts and Crafts details.

Local lore attributes the elaborate stained glass windows and soaring barrelled ceiling in the living room and former music room to designer William Morris. Ornate mantelpieces and balustrades in the minstrel’s gallery also bear his thumbprint.

There’s no official record of Morris’s role in the interiors of the 1885 building – located on Queen’s Gate in Kensington – but he’s not the only illustrious name that’s been attached to the apartment over the years…

Photography: Domus Nova
Photography: Domus Nova

‘The building was occupied by Vicomtesse Petersham for most of the 20th century,’ says the property’s current owner. ‘My purchase deed still has a servitude allowing Vicomte Petersham to use the flat to lodge his horses, though that prerogative hasn’t been exercised in the 17 years of my stay there.

‘In the 1970s, the flat was bought by crime author Lynda La Plante. The back room appears in Paul McCartney’s 1984 film, Give my regards to Broad Street – at that time it was painted black.’

Photography: Domus Nova
Photography: Domus Nova

Since 2000, the property – on the market for £3.45m via Domus Nova – has undergone an extensive restoration to fix decades of botched paint jobs. Specialists from Rome were flown in to restore the apartment’s original mosaic floors, mahogany fireplaces, cornicing, colours and stucco friezes.

Located a stone’s throw from Hyde Park, the apartment has been gently reconfigured so that the reception room is now a bedroom, while extra space comes from a mezzanine above the living room.

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