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Project: Syrie Maugham Bathroom, London

Syrie Maugham (1879-1955), briefly married to Somerset Maugham, was known for her all-white rooms and for her pared back 'modern' aesthetic that echoed the glamour of Hollywood.

The decoration of this house in Mayfair was one of Syrie's best known commissions. It was owned by Margaret Whigham, later Duchess of Argyll.

Our clients had purchased the property from developers who had sadly removed the beautiful glass and other features designed by Syrie for this infamous bathroom, installed in the 1930s. The American fittings were the peak of modernity and sophistication in the period and the Duchess was quoted as saying it was so glamorous, she could have held a cocktail party in there.

Because of its importance, the local planning authority insisted that our clients reinstate the bathroom to its 1930s decor as far as possible. Decisions had to be taken on which fittings were to be replaced (such as the 1980s glass and light fittings) and what should be retained from the original scheme, such as the bath, basin and taps. Despite not being in their original colours, stripping elements of later finishes would have damaged them.

It was essential to find someone who could replicate the special fluted mirror glass of the pilasters and architraves/pelmet boxes. After a long search, we located a craftsman who developed a unique brilliant-cutting wheel to enable him to cut these pieces. We designed the ionic volutes with the brilliant-cut scrolls and worked with another company who supplied the flat glass plates that were tinted to replicate the original 1930s glass.

We sourced items such as the period Deco frosted wall light, as well as the frosted hanging glass dishes by Osler and Co. A tiled floral-patterned shower wall was stripped out and replaced with Carrara marble to match the fire hearth.

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