The actor called on her own experience of home and family in Primrose Hill as a starting point for the penthouse kitchen she's designed in a sleek new development in London’s Docklands.
Sadie Frost’s own home couldn’t be further from the modern penthouse apartment in which she currently stands. Where Frost’s home is Victorian cosy, this one is new modern; where Frost’s is in the heart of the celebrity enclave of Primrose Hill, this one is in the up-and-coming Docklands area of East London.
But Frost has a strong connection to the sleek-lined penthouse at this Thames-side new development called Streamlight: she designed the kitchen, her first design consultancy and one she takes seriously.
“I wanted this kitchen to reflect something of me,” Frost explains, gazing out the window at the 360 degree views of Canary Wharf, Greenwich, Olympic Park and Royal Docks, that unfold in each direction. “We cook a lot in my house and I live with my sister and my four kids. We don’t have a huge kitchen, but it’s important to have that family feeling.”
Which is why, she says, she’s opted for an open plan kitchen. This one features all the latest gadgets, including a built-in steamer, coffee machine, wine fridge, plumbed in hot and cold filtered water and an extractor fan that rises out of the work top when in use, but is hidden away at all other times – an impressive piece of kit.
“I’ve got a small kitchen with loads of different appliances so I wanted to have as many of them inbuilt as possible.”
Frost is one of those actors who has a genuinely good eye for design. She’s on the board of CoolBrands, an annual initiative to identify and celebrate the UK’s top brands, and through her company FrostFrench she designs clothes, accessories and homewares.
The Primrose Hill set
Frost is also inextricably linked to Primrose Hill – she was a fixture of the so-called Primrose Hill Set in the 1990s, along with ex-husband Jude Law and model Kate Moss – the once Bohemian neighbourhood of North West London that’s now home to celebrity chefs, film stars and comedians. Frost grew up here and continues to live in the area – for the past ten years in a semi-detached Victorian home in Primrose Hill with her sister and four children, three from her six year marriage to Law.
“Neighbourhood is really important. I’ve always lived in North London,” Frost explains. Her parents, the artist David Vaughan and her mother, the actress Mary Davidson, moved to Primrose Hill from Manchester when Frost was young. “I grew up there, went to primary school and have seen the area change so much. It used to be a lot of ethnic minorities, a lot of Irish, a lot of council houses, but it’s been dolled up now,” she admits.
All in the family
Frost says she enjoys being close to the green space of Primrose Hill itself and nearby Regents Canal, but in reality, it’s her connections that keeps her there.
“I sometimes think I’d like to move to East London, but actually I think I’m in Primrose Hill until I go to a retirement home.
“It’s weird for me, because I can walk down the road and bump into someone I went to nursery school with and there are so many triggers and things about my past life in one square mile,” she says. “Like the bridge in Primrose Hill that’s always painted, my father painted that in the 70s – he was one of the first people to do it.”
Frost, who bought her first home at 17 – a one-bedroom flat in West Hampstead – says she knows she’s been lucky on the home ownership front and appreciates it’s a lot more difficult for young people to get on the property ladder these days – especially if they’re not involved in a lucrative career like acting, as she was.
“My family on my mum’s side grew up in council houses,” she says. “My mum had me when she was 16 and she never bought her own place she never had that opportunity, but she brought me up to be someone who worked really hard.
“I started working at markets when I was 11, then I started acting and doing lots of commercials in the 80s and I was very lucky and I earned a lot of money for somebody that age and didn’t spend it on taxis and clothes. Instead I invested it in a flat, which was the best thing I ever did. I got on the property ladder very young.
"But I’m aware that it’s tough to get into the property market now. And what’s so great about this property is that there are also shared ownership options to help people. My sister’s just bought a home like this and my other sister’s looking to buy one. It’s great to give people the opportunity to do it. I think developers who do this do have a responsibility of doing the right thing.”
One bedroom apartments at Streamlight start at £310,000; two bedroom apartments start at £425,000 and three bedroom apartments start at £520,000. All for sale through Hamptons International.
I started working at markets when I was 11, then I started acting and doing lots of commercials in the 80s and I was very lucky and I earned a lot of money for somebody that age and didn’t spend it on taxis and clothes. Instead I invested it in a flat, which was the best thing I ever did.