Last Friday we had the privilege of visiting 68 Dean street which I suggested we use as a location for our Autumn Winter 13 campaign. Truth be told I’d been begging to get in for ages! I’d been on the waiting list for Open House Day but they were fully booked. I’d called David up and he’d suggested joining The Young Georgians, the horror when I discovered the cut-off point was 30 years old! My youth had been misspent! Alas, I’d had to make do with going on tip toes and peering over the railings for the last six months (not so easy at 5ft 2!). We wanted a location with wood panelling and I suddenly remembered No. 68 which is owned by David Bieda.
Built in 1732 by a carpenter called John Meard Jn, (Master of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters in 1735) for his own use. He also worked for Sir Christopher Wren on wooden carvings at St Paul’s cathedral and with the architect John James on notable churches. This stock of early domestic Georgian architecture (all built by John Meard Jnr which continues round the corner on to Meard Street) is some of the finest examples in London. Not even this would convince most people to live amongst the brouhaha of Soho. But ever since I stepped inside and heard the reassuring brass clock I’ve been hooked and dreaming of the house.
David is a real character as I suspect the majority of the Soho Society must be! I am completely in awe of his passion to restore the house back to its former glory. He has even consulted for Dulux on its Heritage paint range which is based on 12 historical houses including No.68. He also went to great lengths to source “flat oil” paint which is in keeping with the period but sadly only made by one company now due to environmental restrictions. On the day we visited he was having the dining room repainted and shrunken panelling attended to. His work is tireless as I saw him with the lacquer brush at the ready to attend to the brass picture rails. You get the sense of the kind of enthusiasm and energy you need to be a custodian of a house like this.
I was mesmerised by the colours used throughout which provide a rich, dark backdrop to what is a fairly sparse interior. But in this way claret red panelling allows the matt black of the range fire in the corner of the library to quietly whisper. The greyed off walls of the front parlour are the mellow stage for blue and white Delft tiles. Upstairs, a brass rim lock sings against the charcoal grey walls. If walls could talk I wonder!
Most of the photos here are courtesy of the lovely Caroline Parker our in-house photographer as my little camera was blurring in the darkness. I had to play stand in model whilst we worked out the shots, hence why you see far more of me than usual. I am so excited about being in the house for a full day when we shoot our handbag campaign and will be back with more pictures in February.