A London Penthouse, in Shades of Gray

“The idea with the sculpture is that guests would immediately know they were no longer in a regular, predictable environment,” says Toogood, who began her career as decoration editor for The World of Interiors magazine, and, since striking out on her own a decade ago, now designs furniture (such as her signature resin Roly-Poly chair, which resembles the bottom half of a cartoon elephant), art and even unisex, smocklike garments. While some British designers fight against the country’s climate by whitewashing walls and installing abundant lighting, Toogood, like Atalla, embraces its dreariness. “Painting things white means you lose a lot of the nuance that comes with the subtle light that passes through a space over the course of a day,” she says. “It flattens things and makes them boring.”

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An installation of bonsai trees over Toogood’s Roly-Poly chair and table.

Credit
Tobias Harvey

Photo

Bonsai atop floating plaster shelves.

Credit
Tobias Harvey

While she’s known for her ability to harmonize the embellishments of classic British architecture with her dusky, organic modernism (in a recent project’s bathroom, she hung Baroque gilt mirrors over an industrial trough sink), in this case, the building was brand new, unmoored from cultural touchstones: There were no Regency-era moldings to accommodate; no marble mantels to respect. Indeed, the only nod to Englishness are the floors — herringbone parquet. They contrast harmoniously with the walls, which are plaster, painted a greenish-gray hue Toogood calls Sludge, then waxed and polished to create a textured swirl that’s velvety to the touch. The furnishings are spare and the surfaces are nearly clear of decorative objets; the lines geometric and uncompromising. “I hate quirk in home…

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