Style Magazine (The Sunday Times), 1997
By Lucas Holweg
O’Connell herself is every bit as glam as her fictional heroines – blond hair, red lipstick, John Richmond outfit and Vivienne Westwood earrings…”
O’Connell writes in the second-floor bedroom – which she describes as “the gathering point” of the house. Here, the open spaces and wooden floors are contrasted with a collection of furniture that is quirkily ecclesiastical in feel. “It’s a kind of gothic modernism,” says O’Connell…..
At one end of the room is a huge 19th century French bed (9ft wide by 7ft long) with an ornate wooden headboard. Draped with a deep crimson bedspread it looked as if it were designed for a large and self indulgent bishop…similarly there is a larger than life gilt candlestick, which originally graced a French alter (“I think it must be my Catholic background that attracted me to it.”) says O’Connell…
The ground floor picks up on the churchy theme of the bedroom with a pair of throne-like eighteenth century chairs upholstered in vivid red fabric. There are inventive modern touches, too, such as a mobile side table, designed by O’Connell, using a hospital washstand found at Brick Lane market, or the “skylight” in the floor, made of glass shelves salvaged from a hospital dispensary, which funnels light into the basement studio.
Dinners sound particularly bizarre. On such occasions, a stuffed chimpanzee is moved from the shelf where he lives to the dinner table.
“We sit him opposite one of our guests and watch their reaction,” says O’Connell. I for one, can’t wait for an invitation.
Lucas Holweg, The Sunday Times Magazine