Hempel's Knightsbridge home
This fall British interior designer Anouska Hempel published a beautiful collection of her rooms-her homes, and hotels in a self titled book- ANOUSKA HEMPEL. Written by Marcus Binney- Hempel, Lady Weinberg, is of Russian and Swiss-German ancestry, raised in New Zealand and Australia-all integral influences in her work. Her interiors are worldly, other worldly, and old world.
Classic-Elegant, and always with a touch of modernity (spareness amidst the charm of British clutter)- achieving such a balance is truly Hempel's strength. Her own home, the stately Cole Park is exemplary. In an essay by Belinda Harley, Hempel's inspirations are explored, and range from Zen temples to Elizabethan portraiture, Japanese screens and the saturated colors found in Thailand.
Cole Park, her home for thirty years, is a my favorite interior. The elegance of her color choices and her decoration at Cole Park make it perfect for the present Christmas season. Filled with gilt reflections and shades of evergreen, author Binney says the dusk of winter is magical at the estate. Lit with candles, there are fires, comfortable sofas and chairs at Cole Park as one enters the house-quite unusual for a country house entry. Modern screens, red walls, stripes, mahogany bookcases, all bring elegance, classicism and formality- with warmth- to the space.
Porcelain plays a major role in all Hempel interiors. In the breakfast room, the red walls are covered in armorial plates, and the table shows off a collection of blue and white porcelain. I imagine boughs of holly and pine draping the chandelier and mantle, a Dickensian Christmas scene if ever there was one.
The Cole Park dining room is another perfect Christmas year round room- filled with Lady Weinberg signatures-topiary, gilt, crystal, hurricane globes, and candlelight. Stripes, another Hempel signature, cover the Regency chairs, table linen, and floor.
Period portraiture, deeply rich wall color, trimmed boxwood- all marks of Anouska Hempel appear throughout her rooms-with startling diversity. Belinda Harley cites Hempel's "perceptive eye" that can spot "the intrinsic qualities of objects great and humble and an acute sense of mood and atmosphere,"as just one of a multitude of Hempel's attributes. Self taught, her design of Blakes in London is considered to be the advent of the "boutique hotel."
ANOUSKA HEMPEL is an exciting book exploring the multi-talented designer at her best. A perfect addition to a library with discerning taste-and a critical eye for the best of the countless designer portfolios presented every season.
ANOUSKA HEMPEL by MARCUS BINNEY, Rizzoli NY 2015