Tatjana Von Stein And Gayle Noonan On life At Plush

As Tatjana von Stein so rightly says, the apartment she shares with her wife Gayle Noonan feels like a 1970s cocktail bar. Located on the top floor of a converted Hampstead townhouse, with soaring views of the moors and London beyond, the space has a warm filmy glow, plush finishes and a pleasantly sumptuous aesthetic. But you would expect nothing less from the founders of Sella, the interiors, furniture and branding studio known for its tactile and soulful approach to design.

The apartment, which was once, as Gayle says, an unloved white box, was transformed by the couple. Tatjana specifically drew on her background in designing hospitality spaces, and began to create a space suitable for enjoyment. Each pocket of their living space, for example, has its own function – you can go to the bar for a drink, or to the lounge for a conversation by the floating fireplace. Unlike their previous projects, however, their apartment is designed around objects rather than architecture – and their cherished values, including pieces they created, inherited and collected, is what brings the space to life. Here we talk to Tatjana and Gayle about their approach to interiors, their favorite things about their home and why Hampstead Heath has their heart.

Tatjana: “we both love the idea of being close to nature and in the city at the same time. Here we are uphill and in the trees, but get the view of all of London. That’s what first attracted me to space – you feel like you’re in an urban tree house. I just love the room-to-room windows, it means we are surrounded by birds and leaves all the time. I don’t care how many steps there are, I just want to be at the top. This view and sense of space is quite rare in London.”

Gayle: “when you come here, it feels like you’re on the water! When we first moved it was a really shabby white box. It was tired, old and unloved. There was a bookcase in the wall in the living room and relics that you just couldn’t live with every day.”

Tatyana: “it’s awesome to see how someone uses the same space in a completely different way. We definitely added a layer of pampering. We dressed the stairs in yellow velvet, there is the Golden bedroom, and we created the custom Sella color on the wall in the living room in collaboration with Mylands. The space feels like a cocktail bar from the 1970s-which we love. I just love the 1970s vibes.”

Gayle: “Tatjana is really the interior genius. We get so excited about the idea of transforming a space. As a couple who live and work together, we already knew that there were certain things we would like to do in certain rooms. But there’s a balance: I knew Tats was going to get her crazy golden room, but I also knew we were going to create a uterus-like, cozy, wrapped-up bedroom that would be truly zen.

“It’s the same in the living space. I knew what kind of flare Tats would bring to the room. It really feels like a little bar here sometimes and that’s magic. It’s a mockery of us and a reflection of Sella, too.”

Tatjana: “I love designing a room with many different moments and that thinking comes from doing hospitality spaces. I love it when you can just roll around. Here is the bar where you can have a drink, there is the lounge, somewhere where you can dance. It’s really nice at night too – it helps if you see the red light of the London sunset at 17: 00 coming through the large window.”

Gayle: “there is a flow of movement in space. The first time we had a dinner party, Tatyana’s big plan really worked: we had people kneeling by the benches, dancing on the vinyl, on the terrace with a cigarette.”

Tatjana: “this project was interesting to me because a lot of what we do is interiors and architecture driven where this is very heavy furniture – the bones of the building were already here.”

Gayle: “space is so sacred and if something doesn’t work, you have to react to it. We are very good at looking around and seeing if there are parts of the puzzle that don’t quite fit. I made peace with the fact that things are impermanent, and you do not need to own and overcome everything.”

Tatjana: “we really fall in love with things. All the pieces in the living room that I love. I love the dining room chairs, they are beautiful and go really well with the table I designed. When designing a table, it is difficult to find chairs that do not overpower it. These are Italian and I love the delicacy of them.”

“But my two favorite pieces are the coffee table and the secretary. The coffee table is everything I love – the stainless steel with the black glass, and it opens to show this bar component. It also fits our floating spaceship fire! It is antique and it certainly gives off heat, but the design is delicate and intricate.”

Gayle: “yes, for me it must be the secretary. It has such a powerful impact on space. It feels emotional and I love it even more because it came from your grandmother. The wood is beautiful, and it sparks joy every day.

“I also like the dining table because Tatyana made it. We live with it every day and use it for many different things: for work, food, crafts with my cousin’s children. Living with things we have created intensifies the connection we have with them, because there is an emotional attachment.”

Tatyana: “it’s really wonderful to live with my work, but it needs to be mixed with the work of other people. We have art here from our friends and the painting above the sofa is by Gayle. There is a nice mix of things we made and found. This flat will be a continuation-pieces will come and go.”

Tatjana: “I totally agree with Gayle. It’s the Sella color! It makes the space very versatile.”

“You really feel like you’re in no man’s land here – lying on the couch, you can just see the sky. There is also something beautiful about the background sounds – in the summer you can hear the people for lunch in the gardens behind us. There’s a nice village thing going on. Hampstead is awesome, it has such a community of ancient sculptors, actors and writers.

Gayle: “there are neighborhood restaurants here that have been around for years. Many of the older people have an outside glass of plonk in the middle of the afternoon and it is because there is a huge community that has been living here for so long. It’s nice to tap on that, because we moved a lot.

“We feel really connected to Hampstead Heath. The day after we got married in London, we wanted a special moment, so we came to Hampstead Heath and went swimming in the ponds. Tats then made a beautiful collection of stools inspired by the ponds.”

Tatjana: “the collection is called’ Ladies Pond ‘ – The Stool has the shape of the water and the color is inspired by the algae. I’m half French, half German, but my mother grew up in Hampstead, so there’s an affinity for the area. All the signs point us here.”

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