Inside the Cosy Zetter Townhouse, located just across the cobbles from the Zetter hotel in Clerkenwell, the rich and eclectic collection of furnishings and furniture make it look as though it is the home of an eccentric Victorian ancestor… Job done!
Interior Design: Russell Sage
The Zetter Townhouse is located just across the cobbles of St John’s Square from the original Zetter hotel in Clerkenwell, London. The 13-bedroom Georgian townhouse features sumptuous interiors by Russell Sage, whose previous work includes the design of The Goring Hotel and numerous Gordon Ramsay restaurants.
Owners Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan went to Sage with their vision of what the Zetter Townhouse should encapsulate – ‘A Zetter, 200 years ago’. They wanted a completely different look from The Zetter hotel across the road, but one that nevertheless shared its relaxed feel as well as its sense of quirky humour.
Each of The Zetter Townhouse’s two suites and 11 guest rooms is unique, featuring a variety of bold shades of heritage colours and eclectic antique furniture pieces. Sage continued the quintessentially English use of textile that The Zetter is known for, but this time used Gainsborough fabrics reworked exclusively for The Zetter Townhouse in contemporary shades.
One guest room uses a colour palette of, well, almost everything! Turquoise-blue walls, a red feature fireplace with yellow fireguard, antique upholstered seating in grey and purple, and cerise and gold. Old-fashioned sideboards, trinkets and lighting tie the eccentric decor together.
Another guest room has a soft, but understated English feel to it, with walls of mushroom grey and a varnished antique bed. A model ship and Victorian paintings of elephants grace the wall. Decadent bathrooms with walls of golden mosaic and black marble baths complete the sumptuous offer.
Sage’s exuberance is equally evident in the public areas. Stuffed full of oddities and curios, an informal sitting room is equally suited to afternoon tea and cakes as it is to a night of uproarious revelry. Featuring an open fire, the space would make a good set for a film centred around opium-smoking Victorian toffs – think Miss Havisham meets Jack the Ripper. Over a glass or 10 of absinth.
Polished oak, deep red wallpaper, velvet couches, sumptuous cushions and tasselled lampshades all add to the well-heeled charm. Plus – but probably not for animal lovers or the faint-hearted – some impressive examples of taxidermy can be seen on display throughout the public areas, while an apothecary-style counter takes the place of a modern bar in the cocktail lounge.
A trip to the basement games room will soon bring guests back to the 21st century though. Here a 3D television, Wii console and a full-size table tennis table can be found.
The Zetter Townhouse is less like the sister of The Zetter hotel, and more like the eccentric old aunt whose unwritten house rule is ‘if there’s a surface, put something on it.’