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Features > Summer > Urban Homes > Urban Retreat
RS337: Urban Retreat
Starting from a shell, design entrepreneur Sophie Garnier turned her dark one-bedroom apartment in a 19th century terraced house into a light, and tranquil urban retreat. For most of the year, home for Sophie Garnier is a rooftop apartment in hectic, colourful Yangon in Myanmar, where she collaborates with local artisans on designs for her homewares brand, Kalinko. But every few months she jumps on a plane, dons an eye mask, and heads back to her ‘home from home’ an apartment tucked in to the basement of a stucco-clad London townhouse. ‘As I slide the key in the door I breathe deeply, after Myanmar, London feels so peaceful,’ says Sophie, greeting you in the pigeon-grey hallway with its coat rack and cheerful prints. From here, the light-filled corridor draws your eye to the shifting greenery of the garden, which, at 60- feet long, was the reason why Sophie and her husband Ralph (who also works in Myanmar) bought the place. The garden aside, there were few redeeming features. ‘The ceilings were too low and the layout was impractical, with a small sitting room at the front and two small bedrooms.’ The kitchen was a dark galley and the rain-streaked conservatory leaked. ‘And yet – despite all that, it had a good, calm feeling to it.’
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