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‘The ultimate exercise in delivering commercial value’: Designing the penthouse at Beau House

Oliver Burns shares the inside story behind the design of a magnificent penthouse in the heart of St James's

Joe Burns, co-founder of luxury architectural interior design studio Oliver Burns, talks us through the making of the magnificent three-storey “Brummell” penthouse at Dukelease’s Beau House boutique residential development on Jermyn Street.

Notable for their generous proportions, spectacular views and luxurious interiors, penthouses are the most sought after property type in super-prime London. Launched to the market this week, “The Brummell” at Beau House is St James’s most recent addition. The jewel in the crown of the Beau House development on Jermyn Street, the penthouse spans the top three floors of the building and presents 4,000 square feet of luxury living space including terraces. Part of a boutique development of just eight apartments, the penthouse is an exclusive collaboration between Dukelease and Oliver Burns. Brought in for our super-prime expertise, our brief was to create an exceptional residence that would be one of the capital’s most desirable and exclusive addresses. The ultimate exercise in delivering commercial value.

With a world-class reputation for bespoke private commissions and super-prime development projects, we knew that creating the right product required more than best-in-class finishes; it demanded our multi-sensory approach to design to make it truly exceptional. At the same time, we also wanted to draw upon the illustrious history of the area and uphold its rich legacy in the fabric of the building.

Throughout the space, we weaved cues which honour the heritage and craftsmanship associated with Jermyn Street

The core of the design takes inspiration from Jermyn Street’s fine British craftsmanship and Beau Brummell, the iconic figure and arbiter of men’s fashion, whose statue sits at the entrance to Piccadilly Arcade. Throughout the space, we weaved cues which honour the heritage and craftsmanship associated with Jermyn Street, from bronze stud detailing and pinstripe marble to subtle herringbone and chevron prints. This is layered with a spectrum of neutral colours to reflect Beau Brummell’s own penchant for understated hues.

In contrast, we designed the layout of the space to reflect the needs of contemporary living with an open plan reception room, dining area and kitchen. We incorporated architectural features throughout; full height doors with bronze inlay detailing, contemporary cornicing, recessed dark wood skirting and a bronze gilded ceiling coffer in the living space. All the joinery is bespoke in handcrafted high gloss finishes and carefully conceals technology to produce a seamless appearance. Opulent jewel chandeliers add a luxury touch, including one in the master bathroom. There are also seven different marbles across the three bathrooms, from book-matched grey Marquina to Blue De Savoie hand carved basins, all of which I hand-picked in a quarry with my senior design team, to ensure we achieved the correct colour and degree of vein.

Despite the wealth of design and craftsmanship that went into the interiors, I knew that to achieve the exceptional we needed to showcase the views. With a prestigious location, outdoor space is extremely rare. After many months working with Brimelow McSweeney Architects and the team at Dukelease, we achieved what we all thought would be impossible. A full width roof terrace that provides a 360-degree panoramic window to the world, in the heart of one of London’s most prestigious enclaves. When you stand on that roof terrace at Beau House, the toll from St James’s Church on Piccadilly and the Elizabeth Tower at the Palace of Westminster can be heard, immersing you in the wonder of the world’s most desirable capital city. A moment that brings an element of surprise and feels rather magical.

The terrace is revealed through a retractable glass roof from the sixth floor and has been designed as an extension of the interiors. Bespoke George Smith sofas and chairs provide luxury seating around a fire pit and 42-inch television. There is an outdoor kitchen with back-lit onyx and a dining table that seats eight with underfloor heating through a herringbone grille. The terrace space is complete with an intelligent lighting system and rain sensors that respond to natural light and weather conditions.

Working with international clients on a day-to-day basis, we know that their ultimate luxury is time. Therefore, the critical element required to deliver this exceptional turnkey penthouse was the dressing. With handpicked objet d’art, paintings from Picasso and Joan Miró and contemporary sculptures, the penthouse is transformed into a home. The pièce de résistance of our multi-sensory approach is a bespoke crafted scent, developed in collaboration with Jermyn Street’s royal perfumers, Floris London. The scent captures everything the penthouse stands for, the new face of an iconic address.

When we take on a new commission, our aim is always to deliver above and beyond the brief. We seek to add value both creatively and commercially. For this project, the measure of success is ultimately the value realised, but we also like to consider what we have brought to the development. We have sought to create a prestigious home that will be treasured for years to come and this goes far beyond its commercial value.


Joe Burns is co-founder of Oliver Burns

About Oliver Burns

Oliver Burns is a luxury architectural interior design studio that thoughtfully designs and builds the world’s finest homes. Working across an exclusive portfolio of international turnkey projects, our multi-disciplinary team has a world-class reputation for both bespoke private commissions and super-prime development projects. Our exceptional architectural creative and development credentials together with the highest levels of personal service, enable us to act as trusted advisors to discerning private families, developers and commercial clients.


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