Nicky Haslam, London’s most timeless interior designer, is auctioning the contents of his early 18thC country retreat, The Hunting Lodge, once the home of John Fowler another timeless decorator. The gabled rose-pink brick folly in a glade of oaks in Hampshire has been Haslam’s home for more than forty years. The interior is bursting with small scale grand furniture, books galore and paintings/drawings/photographs of and by well known people. The entirety is to be auctioned by Bonhams in New Bond Street on 20th November;Haslam’s eye and taste are famously unique, this is a rare collection of antique furniture and objets trouvé that rambles over gothic, romantic, humorous and personal possessions.
In the early days (1970’s) The Hunting Lodge was the talk of the town,there was never a dull moment as Haslam generously entertained his friends from the fashion-music-art worlds and theatrical folk, aristocracy and politicians, though latterly his hospitality has become more intimate. He is fun, witty, clever, candid, cosy and considerate, he’s also a fearless cook and a great friend to most of London and almost half the world.
Although he has chosen all these eclectic treasures from around Britain and Europe with love, he is not remotely sentimental about selling up and moving on. Haslam has always had a vision of how he wants things to be; he has a magic wand that brings it all apparently effortlessly to life.This includes the Hunting Lodge garden which he expertly regenerated. He finds enormous pleasure in the surrounding countryside,in seasons and nature, and the continuum of life.
This reporter met Haslam,a long-time friend,at Soho Townhouse in Dean Street. He is dressed in drill gear (for those not so young at heart drill is a genre of Chicago rap music which Haslam enjoys),in grey camo pants and a snow white hoodie and baseball cap,and he relates how he has overslept having failed to be woken by the window cleaner. Not so surprising, as the previous day he had flown in from New York where he had been remembering his friend John Richardson the art historian,and discussing the concept for his new book. On touching down in London he performed his growing repertoire of 1930’s 40’ 50’s songs for his monthly cabaret at The Pheasantry in the Kings Road. After a lunch of fish and mushy peas, Haslam is heading to a rehearsal with his three-piece band and on to a meeting with the National Trust who are currently still his landlords.To say he is indefatigable is an understatement.
The sale is precipitated by the end of his lease and the approach of his 80th birthday but Haslam is not slowing down; his clients today are often the adult children of previous clients, and he is currently designing a suite in Claridges Hotel, and on 10th December an exhibition of his elegant interior watercolours opens at the Tristan Hoare Gallery in Fitzroy Square. Timeless? Hardly a moment to spare.