The story behind this joyful Chelsea home / Architecture , Design
The story behind this joyful Chelsea home

How a love of textiles helped interior designer Lonika Chande to infuse Radnor Walk with an uplifting hit of colour.

How a love of textiles helped interior designer Lonika Chande to infuse Radnor Walk with an uplifting hit of colour.

For some interior designers, the starting point for a project is a colour chart or a cherished piece of furniture. For Lonika Chande, it’s fabrics. Swatches of bright, bold textiles are the springboard from which her joyful schemes take shape.

At Radnor Walk, it was a playful striped print, chosen in collaboration with the owners, that set the tone. Covering the curved, custom-made banquette seating in the open-plan living space, its punchy primary hues are picked up across the rest of the room, tying the design together.

“We pulled everything out from that,” notes Lonika. “The fabrics, the cushions, it all builds up from there.” The trick, it turns out, is to take a magpie approach. “You want it to feel like it’s come together over time, so we’ll source from lots of different fabric houses to create a layered look.”

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It’s an ethos that Lonika and the studio apply to every aspect of a project, not just the textiles. Bespoke furniture is counterbalanced with antique finds sourced from Kempton Market and The Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair. The result is eclectic and characterful, much like the home’s Chelsea location. Lonika’s oeuvre embraces, if not excess, certainly not restraint. A deep espresso kitchen dresser pops against its canary yellow backdrop, while the innards of sky-blue joinery flush a pillar-box red.

Throughout, this interplay of tones and textures envelopes the space in a soothing sense of comfort. Rich ochre curtains add warmth to the cool cream shiplap walls in the principal bedroom suite, while in the guest room, crimson drapes conceal a built-in bed, adding privacy and panache. Elsewhere, old sari silks have been fashioned into lampshades, lending a soft, diaphanous quality to the light.


Appearances aside, Lonika clearly has a knack for weaving practicality into her warm tapestries, too. “It’s a completely different home to the one we started with,” she reflects. As well as adding an extension that accommodates the second bedroom, the main communal space has been reconfigured to encompass a kitchen, dining and living room that enjoys a harmonious sense of flow. In the process, original features like the staircase balustrades have been refurbished, while new fire surrounds and tongue-and-groove panelling have reinstated a semblance of period charm. “The house always had a welcoming feel, we’ve just lifted it and brought it into the 21st century.”

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The newly rejigged footprint means hosting is now seamless. The upholstered chairs in the living room can be pulled up to the table to seat more guests, while the joinery that frames the sofa also doubles as a coffee table or drinks stand. The furniture, like the space itself, serves multiple uses. “Because of this, we’ve added legs to the sofa and armchairs so you can see underneath. It makes things feel more open and spacious as opposed to having blocky pieces,” notes Lonika.

To set the mood, the studio has gone to town on low-level lighting, subscribing to the belief that “you can never have too many lamps”. As a result, the living room’s five-arm, string-wrapped Banbury chandelier acts more as a grounding focal point than a source of light.

“You want a room to feel like it has evolved naturally,” Lonika reiterates, even when it hasn’t. Her winning formula? “It should feel lived in, heaped in texture and layered with lighting.” Piecing together all these elements like a patchwork quilt, at Radnor Walk she has achieved just that.

Radnor Walk is available for short stays from £850 a night

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