Contemporary Design In A Period Gem

Our design inspiration for today comes from a handsome contemporary design London penthouse duplex created within the top two floors of a Victorian period conversion.  The dramatic modernization of this residence within its traditional design shell was completed by the London based Staffan Tollgard Design Group. The company developing this property brought the Tollgard Group in to do the interior design and finish out for this unit when it was decided that the space, unlike the units below it, should be of a modern design (modern as in “very now..current”) and sophisticated, for this is precisely what the design firm specializes in.

Though always generally respectful of the architectural setting, Staffan Tollgard Design Group works creatively and collaboratively to bring forth bold, contemporary design interiors.  Their homes are always eminently livable, with function at the heart of every design, making them perfect for this project.  As with many of the grand, five-story Victorian structures in this historic area of Palace Gate, the lower floors have higher ceilings and more traditional design period details to preserve, but not so much on the upper floors making them well suited for a modern, even a minimalist design finish with contemporary design styling and luxury design detailing. This ultimately gave the Tollgard team a blank canvas with which to push the entire apartment into the 21st century.

At first the design team was apprehensive about coming into a project with construction well under way and a lot of the interior architecture already in place. They found though, that the architects had done a great job so far and had left them a great space to work with. They were happy to take on the 2,925 square-feet spread over just two floors, for “vertical living” is more the norm in central London, with very narrow properties spread over five or so floors with a third of the space taken by staircases.  By comparison, this was wide open space.  It was a great space, with some excellent architectural details already installed and a perfect place for the design group to add their signature sophisticated design style.  A style that has earned them a place on the list of 100 leading designers in House & Garden’s influential directory, as well as being listed as one of the Leading 100 Designers in the World by French Architectural Digest.


In the opening photo you can see one of the special interior architecture details this home features which was created by the architects- Rawspace.  The large skylight above the living room area doubles as the glass floor of the terrace off of the master bedroom above.  The home includes a spacious open living and dining area.  Bright shades of orange provide zesty color against the grey Flexform sofa.  The contemporary design furnishings are gathered on a custom rug from Kymo’s NY Loft Collection.  The color orange was added for punctuation throughout as it works well with the warm woods and compliments the clean symmetry and lines referenced through the rest of the home.


A contemporary design Nahoor floor lamp and a pair of Mood armchairs flank the minimalist design fireplace.  The painting above the fireplace conceals the television.  One simply has to turn on the TV with the remote and the painting slides to the side to reveal the screen.


On the other side of the room, a 14 series pendant light from Bocci is suspended above the contemporary design dining table that seats eight.  The collection of paintings on the wall behind create a modern focal point.  With the client in this case being a developer, the budget wasn’t as expandable as it can be with private clients but fortunately it was understood that a decent amount would need to be spent on furniture, etc. to show the apartment in its best light.


Some of the other great architectural touches the home provides include a curved paneled wall in the downstairs entry hall which the home’s private access elevator opens onto.  This space also includes a cantilevered staircase leading up to the floor above.   I also featured this entry hall in my post on Grand Entrances- Designer Foyers.  The design team further enhanced this space by creating a modern art gallery of it with custom lighting and carefully sourced works of art.  This is my favorite space in the home.  The details used really come together to lift what could have been an otherwise bland inner corridor.


The sculpture shown here is by Randy Cooper whose exquisite wire sculptures captivate the eye with their simplicity and tease the mind with the subtle details in their shadows.  I love them.  You can see more on the website I’ll provide at the end.



The upper floor contains 3 bedrooms with en suite baths, including the spacious master bedroom with its glass floored balcony and spacious master bath.  If another bedroom is needed, this space on the lower floor has been designed to serve as an extra bedroom, but also equipped to function as the home’s theater.  The design team furnished it for a media room which is great.  A Flexform sofa is placed before an upholstered wall where the sound equipment would be concealed.



The home includes a very modern design kitchen.  As this is a high end project, only the best materials were used.  Crisp white combines with distinctive blue in this Schiffini kitchen with custom Corian counter-tops and Gaggenau appliances.  The space includes a dining area as well, with a contemporary design table and seating for six.  A black Foscarini pendent light is suspended above further enhancing the modern effect.. which you can see on the website as well.


The gallery treatment on the lower floor is continued up the stairs to the second floor landing which includes a glass balustrade and a skylight above.



In the bedrooms, the walls behind the beds were covered in silk to add subtle textural interest to the simplicity of the rooms.  The clean simple lines and minimalist design of the low modern beds by Flexform increase the feeling of space.  Here in the master bedroom, a pair of Contardi wall lights are placed on either side of the bed.  The master suite includes a dressing area and spacious bath, and opens onto a terrace overlooking Kensington Palace Gardens.



The marble bathrooms upstairs are  wonderful examples of the homes luxury design.  The master bathroom includes an Aquamass soaking tub and vessel bowl sinks from CP Hart.   Underfloor heating is included here and throughout the entire home.





The apartment includes a home automation system: audio/visual, electric shades and drapes, a comprehensive lighting system, temperature, security, etc.. all controlled via touchscreens.  From the Philippe Starck door handles, to the Gaggenau kitchen appliances, to the bespoke design cabinetry, each detail has been thoughtfully designed and sourced to the highest of specifications.  A perfect contemporary design home created for modern day.

A little more about Staffan Tollgard Design Group.  Born out of a shared passion for design, the Design Group is run and managed by husband-and-wife team, Staffan and Monique Tollgård.  Staffan has crystallized his design ethos into two principles: the search for the Scandinavian notion of the distinctive ‘Red Thread’ or creative DNA in each project, and the commitment to the creation of ‘functional sculpture’.  These twin philosophies have culminated in the creation of a home for the best of contemporary design curated from around the world in their London-based Design Store.  Staffan primarily focuses on product design for leading international brands, while Monique leads the interior design arm of the company.   Comprised of four teams of interior architecture designers, technicians and support staff, the Design Group works on a variety of projects for private and developer clients, from large-scale new builds, listed refurbishments to decorative projects around the world.

As noted, several of the pieces shown in the photos above, along with a large curated collection of other modern pieces can be viewed on the firm’s website which you can view here:  Staffan Tollgard Design Store– brings the best and the bold of international contemporary design, for browsing and for buying.  Do check it out for they have a large assortment of really nice things.

I hope you all enjoyed today’s post.  Be sure to leave me your comments and let me know what you think.  Have a great day!!

Interior Design: Staffan Tollgard @

architecture: Dominic Warren- Rawspace @

Photography: Richard Gooding @


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  • […] maintain the apartment’s air of magnificence.  The effortless combining of classic design and modern design for results that are timeless and livable is signature for the designer, and is well demonstrated […]

  • […] ..and that, my friends.. concludes our design inspiration for today.  I hope you all have enjoyed the contemporary design and understated luxury created within this Knightsbridge residence.  To see another project completed by Staffan Tollgard Design Group, check out my post Contemporary Design in a Period Gem!! […]

  • […] which maintain the apartment’s air of magnificence.  The effortless combining of classic and modern design for results that are timeless and livable is a signature for the designer and is well demonstrated […]

  • […] To see another residence completed by Staffan Tollgard Design Group, be sure to see  Contemporary Design in a Period Gem!! […]

  • […] Contemporary Design in a Period Gem […]

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