The son of a property developer, Peter Mikic visited his first building site at the age of four. This experience clearly left its mark, because he seems unfazed by even the most daunting project — including that of restructuring his home.
Today, his rangy, five-storey Victorian house in London’s Notting Hill is an elegant synthesis of period perfection and modern luxury, but when he first encountered it, seven years ago, it had seen better days. ‘It had been turned into a hotel and every ceiling had been lowered, every room divided,’ he says. ‘I loved the prospect of removing everything. It only slowly dawned on me how much work needed doing.’
A recent addition to House & Garden’s list of the top 100 interior designers, Mikic came to his métier relatively late. After studying fashion in his native Australia, he moved to London in the 1990s and launched cool-but-classic menswear label Stonewood & Bryce, whose admirers came to include Prince William and David Beckham.
The switch to interiors occurred by chance, when, in 2006, he was asked by property developers Christian and Nick Candy to design the uniforms for their first superyacht. So impressed were they with the results, they moved him on to cushions — and a new career. Mikic, however, feels he had always had a latent passion for interiors: ‘I went on holiday to Mexico years ago, and every picture I took was of a wall detail or floor treatment.’
Reinventing his own home has led to collaborations with outstanding artisans. ‘I had specific ideas in mind, and when I couldn’t find the things I wanted, I looked for people who could make them.’ Using the internet and trial and error, he discovered a wealth of talented makers scattered across the county. ‘They taught me what could and could not be done,’ he says.
They also inspired Mikic to develop a dazzling range of bespoke furniture and lighting for his expanding practice, which now extends well beyond private yachts (his first solo project was Elisabeth Murdoch’s craft, the Elisabeth F) to homes in London and around the world. His sought-after look — described by Architectural Digest as ‘avant-garde glamour’ — mingles the boldly modern with star names from the past (favourites include Jean Royère and Giò Ponti) to provide a harmonious counterpoint of colour, texture and layering. ‘I’m not interested in creating a style where you immediately focus on one particular thing,’ he says. ‘The aim is to notice different things at different times.’
David Hockney, Matelot Kevin Druez 2, 2009, inkjet printed computer drawing on paper, edition of 30, 60” x 41”, © David Hockney. © Paula Rego
01: ‘The inspiration for this rug is the tiling of the Duomo in Milan. I love the geometric pattern — it really helps to lift the room. I get my rugs made in Nepal, where they are hand-knotted in the traditional manner, using Tibetan wool, Chinese silk hemp and linen, and I’ve used them in a number of recent projects, such as The Glebe in Chelsea, because I feel they represent the best traditional craftsmanship while being both modern and hard-wearing.’
02: ‘I’m a big fan of antique markets — particularly at Kempton Park — but I’ve recently starting buying at auction. I often bid online while I’m cooking. I bought this bronze sculpture by Italian designer Elvio Becheroni at Christie’s, because I thought it was beautiful. It reminds me of Barbara Hepworth. I didn’t know anything about the sculptor, but I was fascinated by the way the piece splits into two.’
03: ‘I love David Hockney, and this limited-edition digital print [Matelot Kevin Druez 2] is relatively recent, from 2009. Hockney composed the portrait before printing it out on computer drawing paper. The process allowed him to incorporate brushstrokes and shadings that would once only have been possible using traditional techniques.’
04: ‘I’ve always had a passion for making things. When I was in fashion, I was the one to ensure the tailoring fitted properly, and I approach furniture in the same way. The inspiration for these console tables was a Fontana Arte pendant light, and I decided to copy the arms for the legs. The tabletops are in antique Brescia marble, which I sourced from a dealer in Wiltshire who has an incredible collection — like Raiders of the Lost Ark. The table required the skills of three different specialists, but all the artisans are a joy to work with. They all have original ideas, and each one improved the design.’
05: ‘This brass art deco drinks trolley is by French modernist Jacques Adnet. I love the patina of the brass and the tactile quality of the leather. It’s functional but has a real warmth. I bought the trolley at the sale held after the death of the designer David Collins. He was a good friend and it reminds me of him.’
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