The place was a dump,” says Michael Anastassiades of his now pristine five-storey home on Lower Marsh in Waterloo. “There wasn’t even a bathroom.” Built in the 1800s as a merchant’s house, it most recently accommodated a fashion store and had been uninhabited for decades when he moved in. Now, 20 years on, the property has slowly evolved into an elegant, airy home that serves as canvas for the Cyprus-born lighting and furniture designer’s unequivocally modernist tastes.
“Right from the beginning there was no finished plan for anything in the house,” he says of the space, which takes inspiration from the open-plan lower layout at the Sir John Soane’s Museum. “It was a very organic process.” Working with his architect friend Wim de Mul, after demolishing the interior, knocking out ceilings and shifting stairwells, they began the gradual process of rebuilding. Much of the muted look of the place was dictated by the parquet mahogany floor, which neatly demarcates each area. Reclaimed from a local builder, it once decked the nearby County Hall, and had to be cleaned and spliced after arriving in 200 bin bags covered in staples and tar. “There’s nothing straight about it,” he says. “But it gives the place character.”