Lulu Lytle’s Nabob Excessiveness and Prime Minister’s Downing Street Renovation

This is the most talked-about but most invisible interior in British history these days. The upgrade of the Prime Minister’s apartment at 11 Downing Street is causing turmoil and we are naturally intrigued.

A quote referring to Theresa May’s “John Lewis’s Nightmare” (which doesn’t seem to come from Carrie Simmons now) is a joke tweet from a department store social media team and a tsunami of expert-level trolling. Caused. Example: “Home Design Services is proud to provide something to * almost * everyone,” said JL Van’s photo in Whitehall, “an old and beloved furniture recycling service. It ’s good to have. ”

The sesame oil for furniture nightmares, which we are happy to know, was made by interior designer Lulu Lytle. At Soane Britain, a shop on Pimlico Road, just a short walk from Westminster, Lytle has built its business into a very British cocktail of country houses, colonial influences and folk crafts.

A coincidence is that she adopted the name of Britain’s best architect, Sir John Soane (1753-1837), for her business. Soane was the architect who designed the Bank of England and was painted as a ruin by the painter Joseph Michael Gandy. Soane designed the 11th elegant state dining room with shallow vaulted ceilings and delicate plaster décor.

With the buzzing makeover image blank, commentators are collecting photos from Lytle’s website and Instagram feed to gather clues about what happened on the second floor of Downing Street. ..

In particular, one image of a bright floral sofa and matching wallpaper and lampshades seems to be mostly accepted as a surrogate photo of Johnson / Simons’ house, but it’s actually Lyttle’s home in Bayeswater. Here’s a photo (she shares this). Her husband, Goldman Sachs Senior Investment Banker Charles Patrick St. John Lytle).

We have nothing more than that, so all we can do is take a peek at these images of her taste when designing for her ideal client, herself.

Anyone who has an idea of ​​decolonization of a facility may need to look away. Flower onslaught can only be mitigated by disturbed individuals, colonial scenes, and the image of a Persian lion orientalist. It looks like one of the magnificent tents built by the Ottoman Empire in military operations to accept guests and diplomats and impress their wealth and luxury.

For all the sneaky tones about John Lewis, strangely, there’s also something very British middle class about it. Longing for the Empire, lamped Chinese porcelain vases, floral fabrics that match all available surfaces-it’s colonialism, misunderstood William Morris, manufactured and groomed eclectic and noisy fabrics It is a cocktail of. Nabob’s extremism.

But in her defense, Lytle is also a collector of Islamic art, reading Egyptology at UCL, and after all, this is her own home.

11 Downing Street is an elegant George Dynasty building with a state canteen designed by Sir John Soane.

You probably aren’t looking for number 11. The prime minister may be worried about a collision with the red wall. Pure luxury is rarely a good image for conservative leaders trying to beat Labor voters.

Lyttle is also known for its rattan, an old craft that influenced colonial balconies. She got the last rattan workshop in the UK, Engraved Busy in Leicestershire to revitalize almost lost trade. Lytle owns the rattan work of Café Parisien on the Titanic. Lightweight and easy to move and relocate on the deck.

Scroll through the sparse images of the previous redesign of number 11 to see Sarah and Gordon Brown from Cherie Blair’s Northern London minimalist makeover to Samantha Cameron’s Northern London minimalist makeover (filled with stainless steel kitchen fittings). It seems that he didn’t do anything via. all. Everything culminated in Teresa and Philip May’s furniture “Nightmare”. It seemed to consist primarily of sofas, scented candles and lamps.

The ramp is very close to the archive. During the Cameron era, Flos Arco-type floor lamps bend overhead, giving the impression of Italian modernists. May add a £ 100 John Lewis table lamp.

Of course, being in England puts the class at the center of the turmoil. Things have changed since Michael Heseltine was fired by Allan Clarke as the kind of man who “must buy his own furniture.” The inherited relic landscape has scaled down the class index, as “brown furniture” has lost most of its value and status, and the Victorian seascape favors contemporary art.

David Cameron at home at number 11 in 2011: “Minimalist in Northern London with a touch of Italian modernist charm” © Getty Images

We are back in the early days of gold wallpapers, exotic artifacts and exclusivity, where cost is important. May’s John Lewis Chrome Table Lamp wasn’t rejected because it was ugly (albeit ugly), but in the suburbs, accessible and fairly cheap. Today’s interior design revolves around a series of codes: rarity, cost, and taste recognition. It’s a top-end country retreat and exclusive member’s club style.

John Lewis may be eager for most people in the UK, but for interior elites, if they can buy items on the high streets, they don’t have that status. Ironically, it’s probably the most elegant of all interior styles, like the one that appears on the World of Interiors page, or the oversized and expensive Italian sofas in advertising photography. The chic of is dependent on the survival and preservation of the historic finish. Instead of erasing all of each incarnation, layer the subsequent decorations.

And this is a very classy Georgian house in a decent neighborhood, partially designed by Britain’s greatest architects. If all the PMs had less work, this might have been London’s most beautiful interior.

Edwin Heathcote is a critic of FT’s architecture and design

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Lulu Lytle’s Nabob Excessiveness and Prime Minister’s Downing Street Renovation

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