Book Now Menu

OR CALL 020 7640 3347

Martin Hulbert

3rd July 2018

Words: Martin Hulbert

The Athenaeum’s townhouse residences are found in a street lined with wonderful Victorian red-brick Mayfair townhouses. It’s a traditional London scene that really captures the imagination and it was important to harness this feeling inside the new townhouse residences too.

Colours + design pieces to set the scene

When creating the colour schemes, my team and I were inspired by the warm, rich colour of the red-brick townhouses themselves, as well as the wonderful old mosaic floors in the entrance lobbies of the townhouses. Using both of these as a basis for the colourways was the perfect way to reflect the historical Athenaeum in the modern day. In some townhouse residences, we also took inspiration from some of the paintings we’d chosen, which helps to create the inviting feeling of home. We’ve balanced some neutral wall colours with bolder colours in alcoves in the living spaces, which adds some intrigue.

Residence Living Space 2 Apt 28
Townhouse Residence 23 Living Space

It’s important for lighting, furniture pieces and materials to come together in any space, but in The Athenaeum’s new townhouse residences, it’s especially important to create that feeling of homeliness in London. Our design is not set in a particular time, which gives the townhouse residences a mature feeling. In terms of design pieces, we reflected this with a transitional style that is neither modern nor traditional.

The living spaces have plush sofas by B&B Italia with leather feet, creating a feeling of glamour and elegance. Dining tables have a rich varnish, while cabinets – made by the English furniture designer Julian Chichester – are lacquered with a light colour to add some sophistication and to draw the eye upwards. Kitchen accessories are by Joseph Joseph while living spaces are peppered with classic British textiles throughout, from deep silks to leather. The curtains have a rich red velvet trim – inspired by the traditional red-brick townhouses – made by the solo Hampshire artisan, Sam Boy Textiles.

Townhouse Residence Kitchen
Kitchen effect 1

Light + luxuries

Lighting was something I was especially focused on getting just right in the townhouse residences. Lights normally come down from the ceiling, casting shadows on the ceiling itself. In the townhouse residences, we added lighting details around the cornicing instead. This raises the sense of height in the rooms, creates a feeling of space and gives a gentler light. I incorporated downlights too for practical reasons, such as reading, unpacking and using the kitchen. Visitors want more or less light at different times of year too, so there are light settings for varying seasons and occasions. However, it was important to me not to create a complicated system. Most hotels overdo it and guests become annoyed with complex ways of turning lights on and off. So there are different light settings, but it’s not over-the-top.


Other luxuries and details complete the feeling of townhouse living in London that I wanted to achieve. Double door entrances to the classic black and white marble bathrooms make them feel spacious and grand. There are large walk-in showers with an overhead shower and a handheld shower, simple but luxurious vanities with shaving sockets in easy reach, plus intelligent toilets by Roca – which have remote controls, seat warming technology and other advanced functionalities. Bespoke charging docks with room controls, USB sockets and UK and EU compatible plugs are found on bedside tables and desks. Each townhouse residence has original artwork and different accessories, so visitors who come multiple times and stay in different residences will have a slightly different experience.

Black tile Bathroom
Copper Bathroom

A space to look in + look at London differently

There are a couple of ground floor spaces in one of the townhouses that don’t offer a satisfactory view of the Victorian Mayfair townhouses they’re surrounded by. As a result, we designed two rooms that look inward instead of out. In one of the rooms, I created a sofa built into the window alcove that creates this ‘looking in’ feeling. With a veil that can be pulled across, it creates a feeling of something slightly theatrical too. Practically speaking, this sofa can also be a child’s bed. With mirrors, silk panelling, a new bronze rail for the TV and storage space, plus a copper and aubergine mosaic tile in the walk-in shower, the room feels inviting with a quintessentially Athenaeum feeling. This room can be optionally let out with the room opposite to create a family space, where we’ve created a similar cosy, homely feeling.

The new townhouse residences at The Athenaeum offer encounters with the city that’s not quite like anywhere else in London. Combining the contemporary with the classical while taking into account life’s luxuries, this is all about the experience of soaking up a London lifestyle.

Ground Floor Family Room

More in Spotlight

Classic Britishness, eccentric art + the essence of Green Park: new rooms and suites at The Athenaeum

Spotlight / Staying With Us /

The Athenaeum’s new rooms and suites incorporate the best of British craftsmanship and an Art Deco spirit, while capturing the feeling of Royal Green Park opposite the hotel. The carefully crafted designs are the brainchild of renowned British interior designer Martin Hulbert. Here he tells us about his inspiration for the new rooms and suites at The Athenaeum.

Read More

Henry Thomas Hope: parliamentarian, patron of the arts + the beginnings of The Athenaeum

Spotlight /

The Athenaeum started life in 1850 as Hope House, the elegant home of the MP Henry Hope. Here we take a look at the man behind the incredible property we know and love today.

Read More

Sir Cecil Beaton: icon at The Athenaeum

Spotlight /

Hanging on the wall of THE BAR at The Athenaeum is a photograph of a crowd of women wearing decadent ball gowns from the 1940s. The man behind the lens was Sir Cecil Beaton – an iconic British photographer.

Read More