Warm walnut elegance threads together luxe mixed-material cabinetry

Lorna Wright Design works with Barr Joinery on luxury westminster apartment refurbishment.

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Lorna Wright was perfectly placed to take on her clients’ new London project, having worked closely with them on previous property renovations, including their main country residence.

Set within a luxury development, a Westminster apartment required top-to-toe personalisation. Working initially off plan, Lorna Wright’s starting point was a series of white boxes set with fundamental interior elements, chosen from a set range. Over and above that, she was presented with an entirely blank canvas – heaven!

The interior needed to work in concordance with the modern luxe of the wider complex, the scene setting entranceways and communal spaces (including a gym and basement pool) exuding elegance and featuring warmly lit neutrals against flat-fronted dark timber panels with brass accents. For the pre-fixed finishes, Lorna opted for herringbone oak through the main living area, neutral carpeting for the bedrooms, and light porcelain to the kitchen floor set against modern flat-fronted dark timber kitchen cabinetry.

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Her clients’ brief was for the apartment to emulate the style of their main home, described by Lorna as “relaxed, elegant luxe, but perhaps with a touch more opulence”. They were keen for the apartment to be uniquely individual and ready on demand – for day-to-day living, weekend entertaining and as a place for their teenage boys to use as a base when in town with friends. The apartment needed to be warm and inviting at the flick of a switch, incorporating living and dining spaces which felt aligned but visually separated. It was also important, to Lorna and her clients, that the scheme would thread together, with each room (although distinct) running seamlessly into the next.

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Commissioned as project manager, Lorna was responsible for all design work (including lighting and cabinetry), subcontractor and supplier management, sourcing (including all furnishings, artwork, and functional items) as well as fine finishes throughout. Having worked with Barr Joinery on a recent whole-house bespoke cabinetry project, Lorna was confident in the team’s ability to translate her detailed elevations into accurate production drawings and to coordinate her exacting mixed-materials specification.

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Cabinetry pieces throughout the apartment were stained to the same warm tone, matched to the Italian table base, beautifully crafted from solid Canaletto walnut. Bespoke mixed-materials cabinetry has become an integral part of Lorna Wright Design projects, where pieces are cleverly created to define, balance and section spaces. Here, blending wardrobe panels with wall finishes, for example, make relatively small bedroom spaces feel expansive and cohesive. An AV unit, which hugs one wall of the open-plan living space, incorporates a butane-fuelled open fire, functionally and visually warming the space. At the other side of the room a floor-to-ceiling banquette section defines the dining area; the frame incorporating an antique mirror, again giving depth and dimension. The underlit plinth exhibits a fluted detail which allows the piece to belong to the Porada table it was designed to complement.

“Lorna has an incredible eye for detail and the Westminster project brought the team’s mixed-materials expertise to the fore. It was extremely rewarding for us all to work to such a strong vision.”
Lucy White, Barr Joinery General Manager
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Working closely with the Barr Joinery team, Lorna was highly involved at every stage of the project; choosing from samples to achieve the perfect walnut stain and brass finish, joining visits to the upholsterer to establish the perfect filling and edging technique to work with each fabric pile, and collaborating with Barr Joinery designer Sam to thrash out the workings of the more involved cabinetry pieces.

“Working on Lorna Wright Design projects is always a pleasure,” says Lucy White, Barr Joinery General Manager. “Lorna has an incredible eye for detail and the Westminster project brought the team’s mixed-materials expertise to the fore. It was extremely rewarding for us all to work to such a strong vision.”

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Lorna loved having a blank canvas to work with, and a budget which allowed for luxurious made-to-measure cabinetry, designer furniture and original artworks. “I was trusted to make ambitious choices and to put forward ideas which would push my clients’ usual comfort zone without fear of overstepping boundaries,” she says. “The Barr Joinery team had to be very responsive. As the project evolved, so did the design work, and everyone had to be prepared to adapt. The desk in one of the guest rooms, for instance, was a last-minute addition and had to be manufactured quickly.”

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The scheme needed to be indulgent and enveloping… described by Lorna as “absolutely not shiny!” The velvets are deep and opulent, and the textural wallpapers are soft and matt. The result is a calming, elegant space that the clients are delighted with. According to Lorna, “there isn’t anything about the project I would change”.