Find out how a new home in historic Hampstead has been inspired by the golden age of luxury ocean liners
Mansfield House is so new visitors are asked to wear blue plastic booties when they view it. And yet, if it wasn’t for the fluorescent footwear, one could be forgiven for thinking the home hailed from another, more glamorous era.
That’s because stepping inside this six bedroom home in the Hampstead Garden Suburb Trust area of North London, is like travelling back in time, specifically to the golden age of the 1930s and 40s when Glenn Miller and Vera Lynn were king and queen of the airwaves.
From the sweeping three-storey staircase in the reception hall to the fine Art Deco furnishings throughout, Mansfield House, although empty of an owner for the moment, is a home with a rich back story.
Along with all the features you’d expect from a luxurious £18.75 million home – elevator, maids’ quarters, sauna, extensive security and state-of-the-art gym – Mansfield House also offers the unexpected.
The interiors and furniture designs are all the work of renowned designer Tim Gosling who has based them on the distinctively glamorous stylings of the 1930s and 1940s and in particular the famous luxury liner, the SS Normandie – considered the world’s most luxurious liner when it sailed the transatlantic route before World War II.
SS Normandie connection
This influence is never more apparent than in the huge indoor basement pool area, which Gosling has managed to transform into a glamorous, airy and vintage inspired space.
“Luxury liners of the 1930s, 40s and 50s had no natural light, but had an enormous sense of grandeur and scale to them and that’s why I ended up looking at the Normandie,” Gosling explains. “That catapulted me into the 1940s, its materials and wonderful sense of light.”
It also fed into his design philosophy which relies on original craftsmanship, vintage style and creating completely bespoke furniture and art work, which includes a unique and impressive example of Eglomise – a form of painted, gilded glass popular in the 30s and 40s.
“Every single thing about the creation of the Normandie was about companies doing their absolute best with the best materials – for instance, its five metre-tall crystal lamps made by Lalique, which were just simply extraordinary.
“You’ve got sculpture, you’ve got the lighting, all of this was integral to the space you were trying to create.”
It’s not just the history of the Normandie that inspired Gosling, he also looked to the local area and named Mansfield House after the 1st Earl of Mansfield – a former Attorney General and Chief Justice - who bought the wooded area on which the home now sits in 1755.
On the market
Robert Kramer, of Glentree International, says the glamorous decor is a vital selling point for the home, which has been attracting solid interest from international buyers hailing from China and Russia.
“We call this a turn-key property and that suits an international buyer because it means they can buy the property and move in straightaway with a suitcase of clothes – they don’t need to do anything else,” he says.
“For the Chinese and the Russians we sell them a lifestyle as a well as a home.”
There’s no doubt Mansfield House will have a better future than its inspiration the SS Normandie, which ended up catching fire and capsizing in 1942.
From the sweeping three-storey staircase in the reception hall to the fine Art Deco furnishings throughout, Mansfield House, although empty of an owner for the moment, is a home with a rich back story