…to the most divine house I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. I’ve just returned home from a delightful afternoon spent in the company of my darling friend Naomi and Mr David Carter, interior designer extraordinaire, and the owner of 40 Winks: the place German Vogue described as ‘The most beautiful small hotel in the world’.
This elegant Queen Anne townhouse was built in 1717, and it’s David’s home. It is an absolutely breathtaking work of art – each room is packed with antique furniture and paintings, scuplture and objets d’art – endlessly fascinating and delightful. You won’t be surprised to hear that he often hires it out for fashion shoots, by the likes of Vogue, Tatler and Harpers Bazaar; not to mention A-list actors and popstars.
I briefly visited the kitchen/dining room on the ground floor, and passed David’s office, in which I think I spied a huge picture of Jean Patchett (and immediately swooned).We then retired to his incredibly peaceful garden – which in itself is a marvel as the house is very conveniently situated on Mile End Road – with buses whooshing past every few minutes. But from the moment you step into the cool, dark hallway from the bustling East London street, you realise just how quiet it is. In his calm little garden, we barely heard a thing, except for a squirrel jumping around overhead.
There are two beautiful sitting rooms – the Music Room is light and airy, decorated with antique instruments; the other, main sitting room is darker and cosier.
It’s in the cosier of the two that David hosts regular Bedtime Story nights, for which guests dress in their most glamorous nightwear and wrap up in cashmere blankets to hear stories read by professional actors. These acclaimed nights are being put on in association with Spoken Ink, the online audio website, and there are two evenings coming up in October, should you fancy your own bit of bedtime reading!
Now… the bedrooms. There are only two, bijou guest bedrooms available to stay in – and one can spend the night in either, for less than the cost of an inner-city Travelodge. Each is like something out of a fairytale – the bold stripes of the single, and the glamour of the double has to be seen to be believed. From the vintage-clad mannequin to the antique suitcases, I can only dream of spending a night in such decadent luxury! And oh! The Marie Antoinette room! I can’t find a picture, so you’ll have to use your imaginations… I guarantee it’s more fabulous than you can even dream!
And do you want to know the best bit of all? Naomi and I are going to be holding fabulous vintage afternoons here, starting in October! Yet another thing to add to the list of things I will update you all on in due course, but in a gilded nutshell, these events will involve afternoon tea, cocktails and champagne, hair and makeup demonstrations and applications, plus vintage shopping; all in this sumptuous location. Dying to know more? Well you’ll just have to hang around for the full unveiling. It’ll only be a couple of weeks, I promise.
But if you would like to visit 40 Winks before then, David has teamed up with Kink Ink to offer a life drawing class with a difference. The next one will take place on WEDNESDAY 2ND OF SEPTEMBER 2009 from 8-10.30pm…
‘In Her Room’ is the first collaboration between 40 Winks and Kink Ink, high-class purveyors of entertainingly different art experiences. In various rooms around 40 Winks, a series of tantalising tableaux vivants will be enacted against a special soundscape commissioned from composer Daniel Pemberton. Guests will be provided with sketching materials and sent off on an intoxicating journey to capture these frozen moments with pen and paper. Taking their inspiration from the hauntingly seductive interiors of 40 Winks, each Kink Ink model will conjure up the memories of an imagined inhabitant of the house ranging from an amorous 18th century aristocrat awaiting her latest lover to an Anais Nin-esque opium dreamer. This is an art event with a difference – a fusion of life drawing class and theatrical performance…. Strange, magical and cathartic!
Costumes on the night will be provided by top lingerie boutique, Bordello.
How utterly fabulous? If it sounds like your cup of absinthe, tickets are £25 per head including wine, nibbles and drawing materials. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 020 7790 0259.
I’ll be back with more information on our very special vintage events, but until then, do visit the 40 Winks site for lots more pictures to whet your appetites!