Star-favoured interior designer Paul Davies has refurbed the upper floors of a Mayfair building into a grand duplex penthouse in “homage” to its former owner, the late fashion designer Lee “Alexander” McQueen.
17 Dunraven Street has quite the blue-blooded ownership history, having originally been built in 1897 as a townhouse for His Highness Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke; grandson of Queen Victoria and relative of Loius and Philip Mountbatten. Author PG Wodehouse then moved in until 1934, and netted the building a Blue Plaque (placed by HLM The Queen Mother).
The townhouse was converted into apartments after the war, but was acquired by McQueen in April 2009 for a reported £2.525m; the fashion mogul set about returning the property to its original single residence state – renting a flat at 7 Green Street whilst works were underway – but tragically took his own life in 2010, before the project was completed.
Shortly after buying the property, McQueen gushed about the project to Harper’s Bazaar writer Godfrey Deeny, who wrote: “One can tell he’s desperately keen to move into his new home, anxious to get the art he’s bought installed, keen to walk is dogs in Hyde Park and determined to do lots of cooking.”
After McQueen’s death, the lower floors of 17 Dunraven Street were acquired by Aspire (with finance by Dragonfly Property Finance), repackaged, and sold in late 2013 as a three-bed £7.25m maisonette (via Knight Frank). Not much was done with the building’s upper floors until last year, when Paul Davies of London – an interior designer favoured by the likes of Cher, Madonna, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr and Prince Albert of Monaco – was commissioned to transform the space into something suitably sumptuous.
16 months later, and Wetherell and Knight Frank have been brought in to market the finished two-bedroom apartment for £8.5m (share of freehold).
Davies has created a 1,790 square foot penthouse across the top two floors of 17 Dunraven Street, describing the look as “a luxurious celebration and homage” to the building’s former owner Lee McQueen (better known as Alexander).
McQueen’s trademark skull motif crops up throughout the apartment, while walls are peppered with Trowbridge-framed oversize works by some of the world’s biggest-name fashion photographers, including many portraits of McQueen, his late champion Tatler’s Isabella Blow and his muse Annabelle Neilson.
Combining Art Deco and contemporary throughout, there’s a lot of black, silver and cream – staples of McQueen’s fashion collections (and most flats in central London) – alongside bespoke joinery, Calacatta marble bathrooms, wall mirrors and a lot of custom-made Italian chandeliers, which all delivers, bumf says, “a definitive style-guide to modern Mayfair living”.
As you might expect, the place is riddled with high-style brand and artisan-luxe names: the kitchen is by Clive Christian (with Sub-Zero appliances); Cole & Son have provided silver-leaf wallpaper; crystal door handles have been made by Salice Paolo in Italy; silk curtains are by Drop; silk rugs by Front; furniture by Dutch design house Eicholtz; beds by Archer & Smith; silk cushions, bedsheets and throws from the Italian Fabric Company; chairs by Dolce & Gabbana; bevelled mirrors from NW Glass; console tables from Florence Collections, and bathroom fittings from CP Hart.
It’s all very grand, with a high-ceilinged main reception room linked to the kitchen by a “catwalk” (a.k.a. hallway), and antiqued mirrors, silver leaf wallpaper and another significant chandelier making a statement of the galleried staircase. Both bedroom suites on the upper floor have – 0f course – walk-in dressing areas, and one also gets a “day area”.
One of the apartment’s key selling points, which McQueen won planning permission for but never completed, is a quite spectacular roof terrace. Sprawling across 2,400 square feet, the black timber decked space has been designed for entertaining, with two living areas dressed with outdoor furniture, bespoke awnings, planting and an outside kitchen and planting.
Paul Davies, Founding Director of Paul Davies London: “Providing a homage to Alexander McQueen this luxurious penthouse delivers the very best in contemporary Mayfair living.”
Peter Wetherell, Chief Executive of Wetherell: “The fashion-celebrity, literary and Royal connections provide this spectacular penthouse with an outstanding and interesting provenance. The Art Deco and fashion inspired interiors are luxurious and glamorous whilst the terrace and roof garden provide outside entertaining space.”
Harvey Cyzer, Partner at Knight Frank (Head of Mayfair & St James’s): “This stunning penthouse has been painstakingly refurbished and has all the glamour you associate with one of the world’s most iconic fashion designers: Alexander McQueen. It is part of a very exclusive selection of newly refurbished apartments in Mayfair that offer all the mod cons desired by high end purchasers.”