When award winning interior designer Richard Dewhurst moved into Atlas House in Old Portsmouth, he was always destined to leave his mark. By Kate Thompson
“It is an interesting house and one of those where more features reveal themselves the longer you stay here,” Richard explained.
While careful work outside revealed an early Georgian facade with 16th century origins, the treasures inside include the original staircase with 18th century panelling.
An exposed wattle and daub wall discovered in the 1980s has been expertly dated to 1545, meaning someone would have been living in this house when the Armada attacked Portsmouth, and may even have witnessed the sinking of the Mary Rose.
When Richard is working with clients his aim is to create convivial spaces that people can live in comfortably — and his own home fully reflects that aesthetic.
“When we moved in, everything was painted white. White walls, white woodwork, beige carpets.
“I immediately ripped up all the carpet to reveal the original floorboards, which I had re-stained to retain the patina and leave the years of history intact. I’ve refurbished both bathrooms and the kitchen, and fully redecorated throughout,” he said.
Working with the history of the building, Richard has skillfully incorporated modern design that makes the most of the light, space, and location.
“We’ve got three roof terraces here, including the ‘crows nest’ as we call it, where you have the most incredible skyscapes and sunsets,” he revealed.
It was the transformation of the exterior that really excited local people. “I decided we needed to strip off the paint at the front. When we did, it revealed this amazing brickwork that has lifted the property. People kept coming up to us in the street saying, ‘Wow, we didn’t realise this building was here, what have you done to it?” he recalled.
“There is something to be said about living by the sea.- you immediately feel you can relax. It really is a tonic!”
Now Richard is moving on to pastures new, and Atlas House is on the market with Fry and Kent.