Design Centre Stories

Design stories from WOW!house 2024

Even though each designer and sponsor working together have little idea what the others are planning, there are always some themes that emerge, like a thread that runs through the house. Here are just a few that stood out. What ideas will you come away from when you visit WOW!house 2024?


Upholstered walls often make a more luxurious alternative to wallcoverings, elevating the look and feel of a room while dampening sound to provide a cocooning feel. At WOW!house 2024, this concept was taken to a new level with the design device of using curtained fabric, rather than textiles pulled taut to the wall, creating an even softer look and adding to the cosiness.

Zoffany Entrance Hall by Benedict Foley at WOW!house 2024, Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour

In the Zoffany Entrance Hall (above), Benedict Foley has created a highly dramatic first glimpse inside the house. Inspired by a ballroom scene in Luchino Visconti’s 1963 film The Leopard, set in mid-19th-century Sicily, Foley has draped the walls in Zoffany’s ‘Long Gallery Brocade’ fabric. This abundant wool and cotton textile, inspired by an original 18th-century design at Yorkshire’s Temple Newsam house, is suspended all around by paw-like ‘Rateau’ hooks from Pinxton & Co, a witty reference back to the title of Visconti’s film.

Architecture practice Fosbury Studio worked with fellow Italians Dedar to create a Studio (above left) that features elements of playful surrealism: even the room’s potted plants, desk lamp and laptop have been upholstered in Dedar fabrics. The intention with this room is to showcase the beauty of the fabrics, and the innovation that goes into them: a full curtain of ‘Déjà Vu Jamais’ covers one wall, affording visitors the privilege of seeing it in glorious abundance. This soft flocked velvet features a labyrinthine pattern – one of Dedar’s signature motifs – its meandering line mirrored in the upholstered seating next to the curtain.

Head to the Chase Erwin Library (above right) to see how Andrea Benedettini has created a hushed atmosphere with draped fabrics. In this case it’s a softly neutral Ultrasuede, the suede-alternative microfibre available from the Chase Erwin showroom. Artwork has been cleverly suspended from the ceiling using an elegant brass chain system, skimming over the tactile drape of the fabric.


A fireplace can be an important focal point in a room, and is often the fulcrum about which an entire layout is arranged: it offers a place to direct your attention, interesting display opportunities for the mantel shelf, and the chance to use a contrasting palette of materials to soft furnishings, from brass to marble and stone. Many of WOW!house 2024’s designers introduced some very special fireplaces to their rooms, from decorative antiques to cleverly upcycled examples.

Lucy Hammond Giles has made a floor-to-ceiling design statement in one corner of the Colefax and Fowler Morning Room (above). An antique polished brass register plate, adorned with relief pomegranates and foliage (from Gibilaro) forms the centrepiece, with a double mantel shelf above animated by Delft porcelain.

Jamb London’s antique and reproduction chimneypieces are beloved by interior designers, so when the opportunity came along to create a WOW!house room for themselves, it was a natural choice to include one of them. ‘Algernon’ has a simple architectural profile with a keystone at its centre, but its simplicity of form is contrasted with its material, richly grained grigio carnico marble, with the keystone in breccia medicea marble.

In Suzy Hoodless’ Dining Space (above right), the chimney breast is clad in handmade ‘Bajmat’ tiles by Robert Emile Atelier, made using Moroccan clay and using natural pigment glazes, creating a subtle array of tonal colours across the wall. The room was inspired by the earthy colours and natural surroundings of Hoodless’ Cornish home, and this rich green easily brings to mind the vibrant moss or lush spring foliage of the countryside.

With sustainability front of mind, Sophie Ashby’s Sitting Room for United in Design (above left) takes an ingenious approach to the fireplace as focal point. Her fire surround is a patchwork of mismatched marble offcuts and samples, given new life for WOW!house.


Dusky, knocked-back colours were the hues of choice for many designers, lending the house a sophisticated ambience. The Jamb London Primary Bedroom (below) is upholstered in a plaster pink silk (Claremont’s ‘Faille Lugano Silk’) creating a soothing backdrop that did not complete with Jamb’s judicious selection of antique and reproduction furniture, and picking up on the tones of the late-19th-century Ziegler rug.

Jamb London Primary Bedroom at WOW!house 2024

Tactile matte finishes make these muted shades feel even more alluring, with several designers using surface specialists to create walls that have a subtle play of colour or texture. Both the House of Rohl Primary bathroom and the Home Bar by OZA Design (below left) use a natural, breathable clay plaster from Clayworks on the walls (the former a creamy nude, the latter a more textured dark red); while Studio Vero called on the services of Henry Van Der Vijver to create the specialist paint finish in the Martin Moore Kitchen (below right), in a red wine shade that was picked up on by the zellige tiles cladding the kitchen island, and a mid-century ceiling light, both in the same shade.


While last year’s WOW!house saw bar-carts and cocktail glasses in nearly every room (including the bathroom), this year it felt like many of the rooms might have been designed for quiet introspection rather than all-out entertaining. Books bring many rooms to life, helping to suggest the rich inner lives of the imagined occupants of each room – their tastes, passions and habits. Bookshelves were obviously a key feature of the Chase Erwin Library by Andrea Benedettini, where the books on the shelves, colour-matched in muted buff and nude linen jackets, could keep you busy for months, from The Complete Works of Shakespeare to The Pilgrim’s Progress.

Lucy Hammond Giles’ Colefax and Fowler Morning Room included tables piled with coffee table books, suggesting passing a lazy day in the company of a few favourite tomes. A Regency-style ebonised bookcase (part of Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s portfolio of antiques) holds everything from classic John le Carré thrillers to well-thumbed copies of House & Garden.

In the Tissus d’Hélène Drawing Room (above), designer Guy Goodfellow has filled a bespoke bookcase (made by Rupert Bevan) with art and design titles. They all come courtesy of Potterton Books: this specialist design bookshop, which has a London base within the Alexander Lamont + Miles showroom at the Design Centre, specialises in unusual, out of print books and can also source books for bespoke libraries and design projects.

WOW!house 2024