This renowned artist duo have transformed their central London mews house with colour pops that complement the artwork.
Can you tell me a bit about the property itself?
R: It was built in the 1800s to house horses. The Hyde Park Stables are at the end of the mews and have been in operation since 1835. We’ve tried to retain some of the character, but have modernised to make it more comfortable. It has windows on all sides, which makes it light and airy.
N: It has three floors with three bedrooms on the second floor for us and our two daughters. We’ve turned the old hayloft at the top of the house into a library bar. Then on the ground floor we have a sitting room, dining room and a large kitchen, as we love to cook.
What was the house like before the refurb?
R: It was a bit tired actually. The bathrooms hadn’t been touched in a while and now the girls are adults we wanted a more grown-up space at the top for all of us to use together.
N: We use this space every day and really enjoy having somewhere to relax as a family. We also extended the kitchen and built more storage – it doesn’t matter how much we declutter, we seem to need more cupboards as the years go by!
What made you enlist architect Ben Masterton-Smith for the project?
N: We knew Ben from working with him at The Groucho Club so didn’t hesitate to work with him again. Would highly recommend.
How has the house been opened up to make the most of light and space?
R: The property has windows on three sides, which is, of course, great for light and air, although quite unusual for a mews house.We also put big skylights in the top room to maximize the light in the bar/library area. The whole house is very bright.
How does colour feature in your home?
R: Colour is the central part of our studio practice, so it was inevitable that we would have lots of colour in our home.
N: We love a ‘cluttered hang’ on white walls with colour coming from the artworks.
Art plays a central role in the home, can you tell me about your favourite pieces?
N: I’ve been curating the artwork at The Groucho Club since 1989, so the work in our home is by friends that we’ve met over the years. Our collection includes work by Polly Morgan, Charming Baker, Rachel Howard, Jason Martin, David Shrigley, Boo Saville and Marc Quinn… to name just a few! All the works have a story and are very personal to us.
Tell me about your furniture choices
N: We wanted a relaxed home, not too precious. The furniture is mostly retro Danish or Italian mid-century, which we’ve acquired over the years.
R: We love to source unique vintage and antique pieces from Vinterior. Our dining table was a wedding present. It was a Victorian scullery table so has a rich history you can almost feel.
N: We wanted it to be strong enough to dance on!
I love the blue plaque, can you tell me about it?
N: The Blue Plaque is an artwork we’ve always liked, it’s by our friend Gavin Turk. I bought it for Rob for Christmas one year. It makes us smile.
Which is your favourite space?
N: I like the downstairs floor probably the most as it is the womb of the house, somehow. It changes every day though, depending on my mood.
Tell me about living (and working) in Connaught Village
R: We enjoy hanging out here as it’s so close to home and has a lot to offer… unique boutique shops and great cafés. We love The Victoria pub, too. We enjoyed making artwork for Connaught Village during lockdown. Our gallery space is also located here, so we can walk to work, which is a nice bonus.
N: It’s so convenient – we can access the whole city from here. We are so lucky to live so near to Hyde Park, which we adore. The parks are the lifeblood of this incredible city and we felt this even more during the lockdowns, spending time in one of the Royal Parks every day is a delight.
What’s next for Rob and Nick?
R: Over the last three years we’ve been working with KUKA and a team of cutting-edge software programmers to teach a robot to paint in our style of choice.
N: The robot’s been busy over lockdown executing commissioned portraits and we’re continuing to push the boundaries of using this new medium with the introduction of painting in colour.
R: We’ve also just acquired another robot to paint with light in complete darkness, which we’re filming at the moment.
N: In terms of exhibitions, we’re delighted that our first colour Robot Painting is currently on display at Van Gogh Alive in Kensington Gardens.
R: A rendition of Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers – one of our favourite paintings in the National Gallery – our transcription was executed over 40 hours of continuous painting by our robot.
N: We’re now working with our robot to execute six identical Van Gogh Sunflowers paintings and we’re busy working on new pieces at the studio for upcoming art fairs and exhibitions. We’re also thinking of new ideas for a new film for our Transforming series. We might be doing a residency abroad and shows overseas – when things open up again!