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It’s hard to imagine a less likely color choice for David Oliver’s London loft than what he refers to as “a bland shade of cauliflower.” After all, the designer and photographer is the founder of Paint & Paper Library, a company whose premium paint offering spans 180 hues.

And yet, when David first encountered the warehouse-style one-bedroom that would eventually become his home, its walls were stark, offset by green floorboards—the only hit of non-neutral color in sight (and an apt one, if we’re still thinking about cauliflower). It was a basic white space, he says. But it wouldn’t be for long.

Six months of renovation rendered the once-dreary loft unrecognizable. The bedroom, located at the rear, was repurposed as a dressing room and study. (“It wasn’t big enough for my clothes and a bed,” David says, “So I thought, Why not turn it into a walk-in wardrobe?”) The main room—outfitted with ceramic tables and stools, a bed, and a 1960s blue leather sectional—became a place to sleep and entertain.

The loft also serves as a showcase for David’s meticulous eye for the most exquisite objects the world—and history—has to offer. The effect is almost museum-like: An antique Berber textile rests on the Gio Ponti bed. A Diego Giacometti candlestick stands beside 19th-century Bidriware. Roman sculpture shares a shelf with Chinese terra-cotta.

And then, of course, there’s the color. Predictably, there are scores of hues (though the space still manages to read sophisticated over splashy)—but the designer is hard-pressed to choose a favorite. “Colors operate in conjunction with each other,” he says. “I’m very much into rusty orange and Berber browns, signal red and lilac, or—back to the '80s—van Gogh yellow and Chinese blue. I don’t have a single hero.” Read on to see more of David’s multilayered loft.

The dressing room/study

Photo: David Oliver

The dressing room—also used as a study—features an ikat Schumacher wallpaper of David’s own design, and a site-specific work by London artist Tim Ralston, made using paint and plywood.

Photo: David Oliver

“The dressing room was not symmetrical, so I wallpapered onto the ceiling and then hand-painted over the top, pixelating the design like a 1960s sci-fi movie set,” David says.


The kitchen

Photo: David Oliver

“I wasn’t a huge fan of the exposed brick in the kitchen, so I dusted it in gray chalk to knock the color back,” David explains.

Photo: David Oliver

In the kitchen, practical storage solutions were key, but the designer was careful not to be overly orderly. “I dislike kitchens that are neat and too polite,” he says.


The main living space

Photo: David Oliver

The loft is home to an impressive assortment of vintage lighting, including this 1950s Counter Balance Hanging Lamp by J. Hoogervorst for Anvia Almelo.


Pieces of a 1960s Mario Bellini sectional flank a Gio Ponti chest of drawers, a Calder lithograph, and artwork by Edward Rogers and Louisa Mahony. “I collected the furniture and art over the 28 years I’ve lived and worked in London,” David says.

Photo: David Oliver

David—who shares the space with his Canaan dog, Benjy—sleeps in the light-filled main room on a Gio Ponti sofa bed. For the walls, he chose an earthy ocher, a custom shade from the Paint & Paper Library.

Photo: David Oliver
Photo: David Oliver

Among the room’s many treasures: a silver Ethiopian cross, an embroidered Berber bedspread, and ceramic stools by local artist Stephenie Bergmann.


Article Credit: Architectural Digest

Updated 6 Months ago

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Tags:     David Oliver     Designer     Photographer     Paint & Paper Library     House