April 18 2011
Grasping the big, silvery Buddha’s hand on Eliská’s black door is the first indication that a warm welcome awaits. Step inside to where a real fire crackles and a friendly assistant offers coffee and cake. It’s a personal touch that interior designer Eliská Sapera feels her clients deserve. “Interiors are such a personal thing that it’s important to take a very hands-on approach,” she says.
Sapera has run her boutique interior design practice for 10 years. Originally from New Zealand, she grew up in South Africa, lived in Paris, then took a holiday in London in 1976 – and stayed. In 2008 she combined her new office with a shop “to show people what I can do”. It’s a fine window on her work. Bespoke furniture – such as a croc-print, patent leather cabinet (from £7,500), adaptable as a wardrobe or hi-fi unit, and a compact sofa upholstered in distressed shagreen leather (from £3,000) – is dressed with own-brand throws (double-sided cashmere, £400; machine-washable angora/merino mix, £150 and £350; woollen hound’s-tooth, £100) and her lusciously coloured suede cushions (from £25). Eliská bed linen, meanwhile, launches this spring.
Sapera also offers a complete design service, from single-room to entire property renovations, and will source goods for clients. “I go out hunting, come back with ideas, track down site-specific pieces and even bid at auction,” she says, for a client profile that includes young bankers and international high-flyers. And here the shop doubles as a mini room set. “My style is eclectic – I do a lot of mixing – and even in a small space you can show how things work together,” says Sapera. So she displays a 17th-century oil portrait above the aforementioned shagreen sofa; while bold, monochrome flower prints by Japanese photographer Hiroyuki Arakawa (from £1,500) create a contemporary context around an Edwardian sofa reupholstered in metallic grey leather (£4,000).
Her own designs are mixed with carefully edited pieces such as Aiveen Daly’s Spank Stiletto dining chairs with ribbon lace-up backs (from £750-£1,050) and Eichholtz lamps with silvered ginger-jar bases (£205 with silk shade). Vintage finds include a Venini 1940s Murano glass pendant lamp (£950) and mirrors, both antique and contemporary (from £1,200). Quirky silverware is a further draw, such as a 1900 travelling condiment set (£225), a 1920s silver-plated tray (£350) with 18 goblets (£350) and a 1930s cocktail shaker engraved with drinks recipes (£380).
Balinese celadon tableware (dinner plates, £80 for four) and stemware (flutes, £60 per pair) are also popular, as are smaller gift items such as organic cosmetics (from £5.95) and scented candles (£35). “We’re getting requests for ‘alternative’ wedding gifts,” says Sapera, who intends to add further homewares, making this truly a one-stop shop for all things interior.