In his latest book ‘Bold British Design’, interiors editor and stylist Emilio Pimentel-Reid celebrates the homes inspiring creativity today. It was only right that he should include his own, says Jessica Jonzen
IMAGE: SARAH HOGAN
As an award-winning interiors editor, author, designer and stylist Emilio Pimentel-Reid is constantly surrounded by – and the source of – creativity. Born in the Dominican Republic, he read Economics at university before studying fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York. Roles at Oscar de la Renta and Calvin Klein followed before Emilio moved into interiors, where he served as Decorating Editor at Elle Decoration for many years.
“As a British citizen who was born elsewhere I find that design in the UK is full of energy, personality and possibility,” Emilio writes in his new book Bold British Design. “Our designers take risks and are commercially successful, but commerce is not usually the starting point. British design springs from ideas, stories, historical skills and craft. At the moment, British interiors are evolving in varied directions and they are all valid.”
So when Emilio selected the 21 disparate homes to represent the vanguard of modern interiors for the book, he ensured they were all connected by a common sensibility: “they are fearless in their interior choices… bold in personal ways, often unconstrained by rules… They also each exemplify many of the characteristics that make design in this country unique – a sense of humour and an appreciation for history, craft and modernity.”
Nowhere is this in greater evidence than in Emilio’s own beautiful apartment in a Regency building in Bath. Designed by architect John Pinch the elder in 1815, the light-filled duplex has been restored by Donald Insall Associates. “The clear light and airiness of the apartment reminds me of growing up in the Dominican Republic surrounded by lush vegetation and high glass-paned windows,” Emilio writes. We take a tour…
IMAGE: SARAH HOGAN
“My style at home is personal and reflects my interests, upbringing, friendships and mentors. I’m exposed to and work with the most contemporary things in my professional life and yet don’t want to live exclusively surrounded by newness,” Emilio writes about his own interiors choices. The verdant mineral green on the walls in Emilio’s library and home office was specially mixed by Papers and Paints. The Regency chaise has been upholstered with a zigzag fabric from Borderline and the gold stool is by British design duo Fredrikson Stallard. Emilio had the runner made from Spanish wool grain sacks while the herringbone seagrass carpet was from Alternative Flooring.
IMAGES: SARAH HOGAN
The Living Room
Emilio’s favourite room in the apartment, he had the walls painted in a pink tone mixed specially by Little Greene to complement his skin tone. “Specialists advise that you paint your space in a colour that suits the room (which is true) – and I hope I have done – but actually why not also deploy a colour that flatters the homeowner?” he writes. The rug was found by Emilio’s dealer friend Patrick Mackintosh and came from the nearby Fonthill Estate. The two 1960s sofas belonged to the previous owner and Emilio had them reupholstered in an oatmeal-coloured linen from Romo, with ‘York Stripe’ slipcovers from Fermoie. The cushion covers are made from ‘Brush’ fabric by Howard Hodgkin for Designers Guild and the striped ‘Shogun’ floor lamp is by Mario Botta. The Regency chairs are covered in fabric by Dedar and the 1970s brass coffee table came from Brownrigg in Gloucestershire.
IMAGES: SARAH HOGAN
Emilio had the apartment reimagined as an “indulgent one bedroom” and this vast room needed a suitably huge bed. The antique brass bed was made by Hoskins & Sewell, who supplied the White Star Line. The vintage drum stool by Habitat came from a vintage shop in Connecticut, while a contemporary light from Flos is propped up with books. The quilt came from Anthroplogie and on the back wall, Haitian paintings bought at a market in Santo Domingo add international flair. The wing-back chair was in Emilio’s New York apartment and he had it reupholstered in plum-coloured linen by Manuel Canovas. The pale blue walls, painted in Mylands paint, provides a soothing backdrop. “To me the key element of a successful interior is having a point of view and sticking to it,” Emilio writes. He’s certainly achieved that.
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