A library reborn: How a former call centre became an elegant but relaxed room

Albion Nord has transformed the imposing library at Benham Park in Berkshire into a liveable space.

It’s hard to imagine now, but the library of this exquisite neo-Classical house in Berkshire was, until recently, a call centre, complete with plasterboard ceiling and fluorescent lighting.

Its new incarnation is thanks to interior-design practice Albion Nord, commissioned by Bluedoor Advisors.

Two of Albion Nord’s founders, Ottalie Stride and Anthony Kooperman, worked with architects Atelier Gooch to re-organise the layout of the 30,000sq ft house, which included the reinstatement of a division between the library and the dining room that had been removed in the Edwardian era.

The lofty ceilings and four full-height windows flood the space with light and allowed the pair to be bold with colour choices, such as painting walls in a deep olive green called Hornblende by Paint & Paper Library. A wall of dark-oak bookshelves was designed by Albion Nord and made by R. W. Armstrong.

The rust velvet sofa was also an in-house design, which combines Chippendale-inspired scroll arms with a contemporary-style single seat cushion. A pair of chandeliers in an oak-leaf design by Richard Taylor is another bespoke design.

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Adding depth and interest are antique and vintage pieces, including a chair sourced from Lee Wright and a mid-century brass floor lamp from Brownrigg.

‘Working on grand architectural rooms, it’s easy to fall into the trap of pastiche,’ says Miss Stride, ‘but we wanted the room to be a more liveable everyday space. Using natural materials such as linen curtains and sisal flooring helps to achieve that.’

For more information, contact Albion Nord