In 2012, London antiques dealer Will Fisher was driving around Spitalfields in the East End of London when he spied a sad, dejected building with a For Sale sign outside. Heartbroken by a previous sale of an 18th-century Huguenot house in the area falling through in his twenties, he grabbed this as his moment. Although it is his second London home—and incongruous in many ways—sometimes with a house buy, there is a higher real estate power going on.
Happiest when immersed in a project, Fisher—owner of the Pimlico home furnishings shop—was looking for a fixer-upper that he could breathe new life into. “I needed to discharge some pent-up desire to renovate a house,” he says with a smile, explaining that every corner in his existing home was decorated to the nth degree.
And there was much work to be done. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the Victorian/Edwardian–era former wig maker’s was in a serious state of disrepair. “There’s nothing like seeing a spare building with nothing in it for the first time. You realize what a Herculean task lies ahead. Also, why you were the buyer and nobody else,” says Fisher. Exciting versus terror-stricken? “It is a crazy frisson of both.”
Fisher has since returned the shop to its former glory (it’s the exquisite new bookshop Libreria); the destruction of heritage British shops particularly irks the dealer. “I don’t understand why they haven’t been protected as they are in parts of Paris,” he says. On the building’s upper floors, he has installed Georgian-style painted paneled walls which is faithful to the original period; though, as the building isn’t listed, Fisher was afforded the freedom to add a few tweaks.
Weaving his own narrative, Fisher curated an aesthetic mix of Georgian through to Art Deco and contemporary design. And while there are elements of tribal design in the textiles, the overriding mood is restrained, using classical ornamentation but in a modern context.
One of the cleverest room designs is in the kitchen. So many elements sing together, from the brass handles of the cabinets to the brass-topped dining table in the adjacent room, and although compact, the room makes the most of its 12-foot walls.
More Inside the Chic London Townhouse of Jamb London Founder Will Fisher
Antique museum cabinets serendipitously fit the space. “It’s a limited area so it had to be functioning,” Fisher says of the design. “Putting it together was an organic growth. I had an abstract feeling for how I wanted it to be, but I was desperate to fill up the wall with cabinets. I love the sense of height.”
It’s no surprise that some of the most striking features of Fisher’s home—which is currently rented to friends—are the chimneypieces, always the starting point for any of his interior schemes. “I’m a real stickler,” he says of his belief that they must inform the rest of the room. “The chimneypiece and the flooring: If you’ve got the right floor, the right chimneypiece, and are detail-driven with moldings, these are the main ingredients when designing a space. Nail those and you’re on the home run.”
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest