While the clubhouse has been closed during the pandemic, our Estates Team, led by Tomasz Sikorski, has been busy working on the fabric of the building. Compliance and renovation works that would otherwise be hugely disruptive while open to members, have been completed
As part of a comprehensive architectural survey, more than 600 distinct electrical upgrades have been made, including the replacement of two 60-year-old distribution panels and hundreds of lights with LEDs for reduced energy costs and fire safety. The kitchen extraction equipment has also been renovated, asbestos has been removed from basement areas, the entire water system has been flushed and a new water main installed, as well as upgrades to Wi-Fi coverage.
More visibly, garden lighting, paving and decking upgrades have taken place, the courtyard has been resurfaced and the Drawing Room has undergone an extensive refurbishment. Planned to open at the beginning of September, the new design has been the joint creation of Afra Affara of Afra Affara Design and Jane Barrett of LawtonCole Ltd.
Featuring new furniture, accessories and colours, Afra explains how they approached working on a Grade-I listed interior and how this heritage was balanced with its modern-day use:
“Jane Barrett and I have been involved in interior design for over 30 years. Our last project together was a listed 18th-century building, used by the Dukes of Marlborough among other notable families, that was being converted from office space used by the council, into a grand five-star country house hotel and spa. We thoroughly enjoy working together, and when designing any space, especially any that are listed, the architecture and features of a room are our primary considerations when approaching the starting point for any scheme inspiration. This is followed by any pieces of furniture or decoration that the client wishes to keep and use in the decor.
“At the club, we were fortunate to have a beautiful Edwardian, neo-classical room with imposing dimensions and elegant symmetry to work with. Thus, our job was simply to allow the features to “sing” for themselves, while sympathetically designing comfortable and practical seating solutions to provide a unique space that the members could feel is their home from home.
“The first design meeting with ROSL made it clear that the carpet would remain in the room. This constrained our colour palette to these particular shades of pink, green and cream, and also ruled out any heavy pattern in our scheme as it was already present in large doses on the floor! Additionally, we had to couple the history of the room with modern, comfortable seating that still had an elegant, classic style. It was important to show the room off to its full splendour and make sure it sat naturally in its historical surroundings.
When designing any space, especially those that are listed, the architecture and features of a room are our primary considerations for any scheme inspiration
“The seating plan was changed to make it practical and allow a larger number of members to enjoy the full potential of the room. We had to consider all the various activities that would take place in the room. From sitting and enjoying the wonderful views of Green Park over afternoon tea, to using the club’s foldaway gaming tables, reading a book or newspaper, catching up on work with a laptop, or even having an unobtrusive afternoon nap! With this in mind, we tried to be practical and ergonomic at the same time, which is so important when designing for the hospitality sector.
“All the chairs and seating were designed by us and manufactured in the UK. We wanted to respect the grand tradition of the room by producing bespoke furniture made traditionally by true artisans in Britain. All seats were designed with raised arms to allow ease and comfort; bespoke gaming tables were designed that would remain in situ without the need to fold them after a game of whist, bridge or backgammon; clusters of seating arrangements with sofas and armchairs were arranged to provide cosy intimate areas for members to enjoy in groups or alone; small practical laptop tables would allow guests to work from the comfort of a sofa or chair without the need to sit at a desk; and even singular wingback armchairs were introduced, to allow for those who want to enjoy the solace of their own company with a book or paper, in a quiet corner of the room.
“It was a true honour and a pleasure for us to be involved in this project. Thank you.”
While many of the works have been behind-the-scenes, we wanted to share with you some of these crucial projects that show the fabric of our beautiful clubhouse is being as closely cared for as the visible decorative elements of the building. More works will continue over the coming months and years as part of the Master Buildings Strategy