Penthouse Apartment by Susan Quirke

Susan QuirkeSusan Quirke is the Creative Director of Quirke McNamara Consultancy (QMC) and has won numerous awards throughout her career, including Bathroom Designer (2010) and Young Bathroom Designer of the year (2005).

Quirke was also a finalist in Lighting Design for Residential & Kitchen (2005) and short-listed for Young Kitchen Designer at the Industry Awards in 2006.

For this penthouse project, QMC installed a floating illuminated bed and a pool table for a professional client who wanted a sleek modern luxurious feel overall. 

Susan Quirke talks us through this project, as well as revealling her ultimate design pet peeve and offering her professional advice on how to update your existing space:

How would you describe this project?

I was commissioned by a single business man to design this penthouse space in the new St George Development - Dickens Yard in Ealing. He wanted a relaxing modern feel with a wow factor bedroom and a pool table to indulge his hobby. The overall look is bachelor pad urban penthouse style but softened with shimmering wallpapers and finishes.

The space itself has four bedrooms and wrap around windows so it's full of light and has stunning views. As an open plan space the client was confused about how everything would flow together and I set everything out on plan for him to see beforehand. I also chose all the finishes and fittings from the specifications ans as all walls were painted stark white I wanted to soften the space and give it more of a sense of luxury using crystal effect wallpapers and ading some interest with paint such as dramatic purples and rich chocolate browns.

What is your design pet peeve?

Treating interiors like fashion. It's fine to do this with clothes but I hate articles about what's in this year and what we should all be following in interiors as you spend a lot of money doing up your home and it should be to suit you and not dictated by fashions; a kitchen or bathroom is going to last a lot longer than a new dress.

Gimmicky interiors look dated very quickly and the clients should get something that lasts. That's not to say it can't be exciting, as boring interiors with no character annoy me even more!

What is your current paint obsession?

I don't have a specific paint colour as each scheme warrants different colours dependant on the space itself and the clients tastes. I've worked on completely white interiors and multi-coloured ones. I do like a vibrant accent wall in rich purples or wine colours, and I suppose I'm probably known for those colours. 

What's your biggest design stress?

Contractors - it's always a stress trying to make sure the contractor doesn't cut corners and understands completely the details of a project, as it's essential the project is carried out to the desifn drawings. Contractors often like to try and veer off course and that's why I end up spending a lot of time on site, hands-on, making sure everything looks as it should.

In your opinion, what is the easiest way to update an exisiting room?

Paint colours, mirrors and lighting. Changing old light fittings for new spot lights has a shocking transformation on a room - it totally brings something gloomy back to life! If not, then new paint colours and loads of mirrors and a large focal dramatic piece of art can totally change the feel of a room.

What do you think? Comment below to add to the conversation!