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The thing about home, is that it’s not just a place you sleep. It is a place that you build your life and lifestyle around, a place where you feel most comfortable and at ease. It has to be filled with your personality and makes you feel the sense of belonging at the same time. I had been on a flat hunting just recently, since I am renting, it is even harder to find the perfect one that fits every single criteria. But when you can afford buying a house in London and have it designed your way, founder of Secretcape, Mathilde Allibe is the lady you have to go to.

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Out of her many projects, interior designer and architect Mathilde invited me to view this gorgeous house right in the middle of Belgravia, She completely reworked and redesigned the entire house consisting of 7 floors, fights with councils to extend the roof terrace and the staircase leading underground for a basement. In London there are many strict rules about what you can or cannot do when it comes to any Grade II listed buildings. This property has the enviable high ceilings, allowing lots of lights to come in, and a lot of room to play with the interior design.

The window behind this staircase is an original feature. Mathilde told me she accidentally discovered this when she tore down the original wall and extended this part, which is now a cosy modern lounging space. And the shelf on the wall is also an original feature, she reckoned it could be the lift for bringing the food up from kitchen. The lights are designed by Mathilde, and they work so well with the window, adding the modern touch to this space.

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When you have a property with 7 floors, either you take the stairs, or you take the lift. So Mathilde took me underground, and there she showed me a “casino royale home theatre”.  Soundproofed wall, a flippable table that you can play games or have dinner, home theatre with high-quality stereo system, and that Kagan sofa from the 1950s. That velvet covered sofa is a very signature design by Vladamir Kagan, American furniture designer. It is so difficult to buy now, and she bought one which was in a good condition, took the shape and remade the whole sofa.


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Mathilde put in a lot of thoughts and consideration when designing the property, she flew everywhere to do the sourcing, and she also designed and created some of her pieces to reflect the home owner’s taste.  The kitchen and breakfast room in the basement for example, is one of my favourite area. The use of wooden furniture and utilising the space makes it so homey to enjoy a good breakfast. There is buffet shelf where the family can serve themselves with cereals, coffee and yogurt etc.

 

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On the other side of the basement is a home gym filled with latest technology equipments, a ballet bar on the wall, and a massage therapy room, sauna and shower. Now talk about luxury!


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This little space on the top floor was the first room Mathilde showed me. The terrace was not there originally, and she had to fight with the council to extend and create this rooftop terrace. Overlooking one of the most central are of London while sipping a coffee? I’m totally up for it!


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The fireplace has been kept, and the lights on the wall are the same that was hanging on the staircase, designed by Mathilde. As you can see, there is a fine balance between modern and classy throughout the whole property. Mathilde uses her expertise and amazing style to create a warm and personal space for the family, who are not based in London the whole time. With that in her mind, she wanted to create an even more homey feeling whenever they are in town, and making sure everything is working perfectly. Making the most of spaces, she kept some original features, while demolished some, and created some.


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Being an architect and an interior designer at the same time, Mathilde is a super woman. From planning to post-furbishing, she overseas the entire process, checking every detail to make it perfect. I joked about how these clients now have no other options but to keep going back to Mathilde for any tiny bits of replacement or refurbishment at home. And she did say she enjoy very much building a close relationship with these clients because not only she knows their home probably better than they do, but also she had spent so much time with them and creating a luxurious home for them. I had the pleasure to meet the very charming and down-to-earth Mathilde, and I’m very looking forward to seeing more of her projects soon!