A room with a shockingly radical solution to finding its focal point: bricking up a window and building a new fireplace

Emma Burns transformed the sitting room of this London townhouse into an elegant bedroom — but not without making a major sacrifice.

To create this stunning bedroom, Emma Burns, one of the principal design directors at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler, took the unusual step of blocking off a south-facing window in the sitting room of her 19th-century townhouse and replacing it with a fireplace. ‘Although it was sad to lose the light, I felt it was important to create a focal point,’ she explains. ‘Architecture is critical to grounding a room.’ 

The deep hues of the colour scheme were inspired by the crocodile leather strap of Emma’s watch. ‘It’s my daughter’s room and, when I asked her what colours she liked, she drew a blank before pointing at the brown strap of my watch.’ 

The walls, woodwork, curtains, bed head and valance are all in the same colour: a delicious dusty-chocolate colour. Paint was sourced from Papers and Paints’ collection of 1950s colours, 5-063, and the fabric is Nicky Haslam’s Chocolate Glazed Linen

The roller blinds in Wildflower from Chelsea Textiles add a touch of prettiness; Emma first spotted the pattern on a dress worn by Keira Knightley in the film Pirates of the Caribbean.

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In the small space between the windows stands a handsome semainier (a tall, narrow chest of drawers), on which Emma has placed a 1960s Murano glass lamp with a pin-prick shade from Robert Kime

The bedside lamps are Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s classic Queen Anne design with flattened oval shades and the white bedspread — sourced in Delhi — provides a crisp counterpoint to the browns.

Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler — 020–7493 2231; www.sibylcolefax.com 

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