It’s hard to recreate the feel of a hotel at home, but after the launch of Gleneagles Townhouse, we’re certainly tempted to give it a try. The new creative hangout in the middle of St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh is a treasure trove of decoration ideas – from the royal canopies in the bedroom to the unconventional use of mirrors in the members’ club.
Charlie North, the designer behind Gleneagles interiors and vice president of interior design at Ennismore, sat down with H&G share five keys interior design tips of the most luxurious new opening in town. Here’s how to recreate the townhouse style – anywhere.
1. Place your plants to draw attention to the architecture
“Palms were often used in large spaces in the 19th and early 20th centuries, so we also chose to use a combination of palms and banana leaf plants for their scale.
“We strategically placed plants to fill the gaps on the floor plan, but also vertically. We often use them to frame views and draw the eye to other areas. For example, the palm trees in the centerpiece are a conduit to draw your gaze up to the glorious ceiling. I love large house plants – especially banana leaf and fiddle leaf figs – as long as they are well cared for. They are not difficult to care for, but they like routine.
2. Make a statement with soft furnishings in the bedroom
‘Upholstery focuses on contemporary takes on traditional pieces, both in the shapes of the furniture and in the patterns and colors of the fabric.
“Like the rooms at Gleneagles, color is important to us, but we use a modern approach and have deliberately stripped layers of small traditional patterns from the design from the earliest stages. We love the canopy which helps make the bed feel spacious, but without the need for a canopy frame in the room. Again we used contemporary fabrics so the canopy is not dated or twee. It reads like a confident statement.
“There are so many styles of curtains and valance that it is worth doing your research and choosing a style that suits your home and the height of your ceiling. I always take the curtains to the ceiling, whatever whatever the position of the window, to make the room appear as tall as possible.
3. Flirt with textiles in the dining room
‘Despite the scale of the Spence [the restaurant] it was difficult to create an effective layout. Center banquettes help anchor the space and also fill a void, instead of having a sea of square tables. The restaurant designer’s mission was to make sure there were no missed seats in the house – and everyone loves to sit at a banquette.
“Upholstered chairs are a great way to bring padding into a dining room, I avoid throw pillows unless the chairs are deep enough to take them comfortably. Remember that textiles can be layered on the table as well as off the table. Cloths, table runners, placemats and napkins all add layers of texture to your dining experience.
4. Use mirrors to accentuate your space
Decorating with mirrors has played a big role in creating drama. “The mirrored ceiling serves three purposes: during the day it helps to bounce light around the room and really brightens and enlivens the space by creating reflections. It also helps give the illusion of a higher ceiling , especially useful at Lamplighters which was rightly restricted in height by planning permission.Thirdly, at night we get soft flickering candlelight reflections which add to the mood and atmosphere.
“I can’t imagine adding mirrors to my ceiling at home, but I always use mirrors to increase the feeling of space in a room. Just like curtains, I always suggest making mirrors as high as possible to help raise the perceived height of the ceiling.Mirrors truly double the size of a space.When you look at yourself in the mirror, look beyond your reflection and you will see your rooms from new angles otherwise impossible to see.
5. Play with neutral paints – then add color through the material
“Gleneagles Townhouse is a listed building and The Spence has many valuable features which are strongly protected. I never really liked the color of the full height granite columns, especially since they clashed so much with the heavy dark red paint of the existing ceiling. When we introduced a dusty pink color to the room and lightened the ceiling color, the tones complemented each other perfectly and the columns looked beautiful, no doubt like when they were built.
“Choosing paint colors for your home is never easy. I tend to stick to neutrals in rooms with plenty of natural light and let the sun do its job to create different shades of warmth in my home. different times of the day/year.You can then introduce multiple tones of color through textiles and art to give layers and depth to your home.
Whether you are looking to organize the right place for your best indoor plants or how to balance bedroom color ideas through textiles and painting, this hotel is the inspiration you’ve been waiting for.
Gleneagles Townhouse (opens in a new tab), 39 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AD. You can find out more and book online.