I had a file of images of Manhattan lofts and I love quirky collectibles so I wanted a space where they would sit comfortably within the bones of the space I had inherited.
Costume designer Sarah Fry has lovingly created her own individual take on the raw and often stark loft spaces of Manhattan in her London flat, skilfully combining modern design with vintage furnishings to create a home that reflects her personality and lifestyle. “I had a file of images of Manhattan lofts and I love quirky collectibles so I wanted a space where they would sit comfortably within the bones of the space I had inherited,” she says.
Sarah, who has been the television and radio presenter Jonathan Ross’s personal stylist for several years, bought the flat, which is in a former Jam Factory, soon after she started working in television. “I fell in love with it because the building has such a handsome exterior and it was a huge empty shell, which meant I could build my dream space from scratch”. Sarah designed her own huge open plan kitchen and living space, two bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and an office, employing only a builder to make her vision a reality.
The staircase was the sole feature in the flat when Sarah bought it, and being very industrial reflected the mood of the interior that she was hoping to create. “I loved the existing features of the concrete floor, exposed brick walls and the fantastic riveted columns, so when I introduced other materials they were either complementary or sympathetic to the mood,” she says.
She found reclaimed oak strip flooring from a school gym and industrial light fittings, which she offset with a high gloss kitchen and simple monochrome coloured walls to achieve the Manhattan loft style look that she wanted. The build took ten months and Sarah did much of the work herself at weekends. She wanted the flat to feel cosy, despite its lofty proportions and so she bought lots of large pieces of furniture, art and quirky pieces from work or travels to bring the space to life. Painting the kitchen black helped to keep the flat from feeling cavernous and sterile.
Sarah visited interiors showrooms in Soho, New York, to find inspiration for her kitchen and asked her builder to create a Carrie Bradshaw style walk in wardrobe for all the clothes she has collected through her work as a stylist. Sarah, who now shares the flat with her partner Richard Drew, a production designer, describes her style as ‘definitely eclectic’ and has furnished the flat with pieces from antique shops, vintage fairs and car boot sales.
“My best bargain is the Mini Mouse bedside lamp which cost a pound at a jumble sale,” she says. Sarah’s talent for styling is reflected in the way she has decorated her home, “I have a fixation with styling things and telling stories, creating characters and putting things together,” she says. “I’m planning to stay here for a while because the area has changed so much since I bought the flat and now we can pop out for great coffee or an amazing meal. I just wish I could finish it!” This is a home that is as effortlessly stylish and constantly evolving as its owner.