A stylish Notting Hill apartment enlivened by maximalist frills
In 2012, after graduating from London’s Inchbald School of Design, Turkish designer Enis Karavil was living in the city’s Belgravia area and working nearby — for the London Design Festival — at the Victoria and Albert Museum. He spent much of his weekends, however, a few miles northwest of Notting Hill, browsing Portobello Market, which consists of a long string of street vendors who congregate there from the late 1860s, and which, thanks to the so-called rag and bone men – essentially cart-wielding second-hand dealers – has over the past eight decades become an epicenter for antiques and eccentric bric-a-brac. Eventually, Karavil’s frequent excursions, as well as the bustling atmosphere of the neighborhood, prompted him to seek a place in Notting Hill. First he bid on a three-storey London villa, but then he saw an apartment that spanned two floors of a stucco-fronted townhouse built in the mid-19th century. Although he needed a lot of love, he knew, thanks in large part to an original marble fireplace with neoclassical corbelled details and an unusual wrought-iron spiral staircase, that this was where he was. wanted to be.
What he didn’t know yet was that the renovation of the house would open a new creative chapter for him. Over the next five months, Karavil strove to revive the quiet charm of the property, in which haphazard interventions and general neglect had, over the decades, slowly faded away. “I wanted to make sure the interior mirrored the architecture of the building, so that everything felt like it had been there from the start,” he says. In some ways, that meant putting things back the way they were. Starting with the south-facing living room that anchors the apartment, Karavil reinstated the decorative plaster moldings, restored the trio of rounded-top windows that open onto a long balcony, and demolished the ceiling storage that had been installed. in the 2000s and delayed the original of the play. generous proportions.
But Karavil has also allowed himself to be strayed from the historical record, opening up and illuminating the space, and his combination of old and new elements is one of the few apparent contradictions that make the house so appealing. He removed the door leading from the entrance to the old fitted kitchen, for example, and added a serving hatch in the wall between the kitchen and the living room. He also painted the walls bone white – rather than one of the deep shades the Victorians might have preferred when building the house – fitted bespoke stainless steel cupboards in the kitchen and laid wooden flooring of reclaimed pine from an old English tobacco factory.
Another notable tension is that, for someone who enjoys collecting, Karavil has kept the coins remarkably and intentionally spare. Seating in the living room consists largely of a single sofa – a square design in brown leather by Umberto Asnago for Arflex – a vintage club chair in black ponyskin from the Nicole Farhi store in Chelsea and a trio of small sofas in mother-of-pearl. Inlaid dining chairs from an antique shop in Marylebone. There’s also a slender Serge Mouille floor lamp, a lacquered screen protecting the TV with mesh details and gold patina, and a metal-trimmed tea stand.
Still, Karavil’s more maximalist side shines through here and there via various trinkets, which are highlighted and offer hints of theatrics. Over the mantel of the marble fireplace, also located in the living room, is a glass dome enclosing a trio of dried and painted mushrooms, their dark, globular shapes appearing to be both a work of art and a science project, and on the dining table is an old butcher block topped with vintage stationery accessories. On the floor in front of the fireplace is an antique alligator rug nicknamed Bob that Karavil found at a Chelsea fair in 2016. And in a far corner of the room is a set of custom shelves that house pieces of his collection of over 100 silver teapots. . What began as a nod to the English tradition of afternoon tea – and the hearty assemblage of silverware by Karavil’s grandmother, Sol – has become a full-scale obsession, and among its vessels are a pyramid version salvaged from the Marché aux Puces in Paris and one with a plexiglass handle from Lots Road Auction House in London. “It’s those little things. But I’m still amazed at how completely different they are from each other,” says Karavil, who adds, “It’s the details that bring the color for me.
This is certainly the case with her favorite object in the apartment, which does not come from a design studio or a flea market, but rather from her maternal great-aunt, an artist named Suzanne Kutiel: above the fireplace hangs a glamorous oil portrait of her which was rendered in 1959, when she was 36 years old and dressed to attend a friend’s ball in her adopted country , Brasil. When she returned to Turkey in 1995, the painting was the only possession she brought back with her. It overlooks a glass-topped dining table with mismatched wooden legs from the Georgian and Edwardian eras, on which sits a set of cardboard papier-mâché 10313 stools, both of Karavil’s design, on the opposite wall, which hangs with 13 anonymous portraits of men purchased at various antique markets. “A stadium for Suzanne,” he says.
By the time Karavil was done with the apartment, he was working as an interior designer at the Hubert Zandberg firm, but his friends, seeing what he had done with his own space, began asking him to reimagine theirs. In 2015, after working on buddy houses in Boston and Istanbul, he decided to start his own company, Sanayi313, with his brother, Amir, and found it in Turkey, where he knew he could create environments, and offer products that were not available anywhere else in the country.
Even today, the Notting Hill apartment remains something of a model for his projects – from an art-filled beach house in Bodrum to Cafe di Dolce, a Parisian-style restaurant in Istanbul where guests sit under an installation of some 2,000 acrylic peonies by artist Nahide Büyükkaymakci – all of which share a clean aesthetic that nods to the beauty of the Old World. This approach extends to the Sanayi313 restaurant and store, located on the mezzanine floor of the former car repair shop that houses the company’s offices in Maslak, an industrial district of Istanbul. The former serves a daily menu of seasonal dishes to guests seated on the same style of long glass table in Karavil’s dining room in Notting Hill, while the latter sells house range items alongside a selection objects from other manufacturers, including the beloved Serge de Karavil. Mouille lights, Taschen art books and Cire Trudon candles.
The designer hopes to one day open a similar facility in west London. For now, he is preparing to present an offer of 21 pieces of wooden, ceramic and glass vases this spring, and is working on a collection of furniture. He lives in the Notting Hill flat for about a week a month. When he’s there, he likes to host impromptu wine and cheese parties. After his friends return home, he heads to his bedroom, a gem space at the back of the apartment that is furnished with a simple antique Iranian table and a Flos Parentesi lamp. On the wall, instead of a headboard, is a mural of a chlorobromide print of a nude by Greenwich Village portrait photographer Atelier Von Behr titled “Rebecca, 1938.” The next morning, if his schedule allows, he wakes up, has an iced coffee, walks his black schnauzer, Polka, and then heads to Portobello Market.