Icon - Arrow LeftAn icon we use to indicate a rightwards action. Icon - Arrow RightAn icon we use to indicate a leftwards action. Icon - External LinkAn icon we use to indicate a button link is external. Icon - MessageThe icon we use to represent an email action. Icon - Down ChevronUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - CloseUsed to indicate a close action. Icon - Dropdown ArrowUsed to indicate a dropdown. Icon - Location PinUsed to showcase a location on a map. Icon - Zoom OutUsed to indicate a zoom out action on a map. Icon - Zoom InUsed to indicate a zoom in action on a map. Icon - SearchUsed to indicate a search action. Icon - EmailUsed to indicate an emai action. Icon - FacebookFacebooks brand mark for use in social sharing icons. flipboard Icon - InstagramInstagrams brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - PinterestPinterests brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - TwitterTwitters brand mark for use in social sharing icons. Icon - Check MarkA check mark for checkbox buttons.
You are reading

Among the Orchids: Designer Rose Uniacke at Home in London

Search

Among the Orchids: Designer Rose Uniacke at Home in London

April 4, 2017

Famous for her glamorously minimalist interiors, London designer Rose Uniacke rescued an unloved indoor gallery at her 19th-century mansion, creating a light-filled conservatory for orchids to evoke an era when Victorian plant hunters roamed the globe in search of the exotic.

Of-the-moment garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith helped Uniacke create the greenhouse garden, featured in our new Gardenista Book. Here’s a sneak peek at the chapter, plus never-before-published images from the photo shoot:

Photography by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.

Upon entering the house, the first room you see is the glass-roofed conservatory. The original owner of the house was Scottish high-society portrait painter James Rannie Swinton, who exhibited his work in the grandly scaled room to impress prospective clients.
Above: Upon entering the house, the first room you see is the glass-roofed conservatory. The original owner of the house was Scottish high-society portrait painter James Rannie Swinton, who exhibited his work in the grandly scaled room to impress prospective clients.

By 2007, when Uniacke and her film producer husband, David Hayman, bought the house, it had been stripped of charm and divided into apartments. Uniacke, who has an eponymous shop on London’s Pimlico Road, hired Belgian minimalist architect Vincent Van Duysen to reimagine the space and restore the dwelling’s original purpose as a single-family home.

The garden conservatory is a well-loved family gathering spot, used for reading, lounging, dining, and entertaining.
Above: The garden conservatory is a well-loved family gathering spot, used for reading, lounging, dining, and entertaining.
Layers of plaster were stripped from the walls, revealing bare brick Uniacke elected to leave raw. To camouflage a door that connects the conservatory to the original owner&#8
Above: Layers of plaster were stripped from the walls, revealing bare brick Uniacke elected to leave raw. To camouflage a door that connects the conservatory to the original owner’s painting studio, she hired movie-set builders to create a trompe l’oeil version made of fiberglass and mounted on the existing door.
If you know where to look, you can see the door&#8
Above: If you know where to look, you can see the door’s subtle knob.
Uniacke chooses all the orchids and likes a mix of varieties (predominantly white).
Above: Uniacke chooses all the orchids and likes a mix of varieties (predominantly white).
A th-century Venetian hanging lantern (one of a pair) is wired for electricity and hangs from a skylight Van Duysen designed to look like a throwback to a Victorian greenhouse. Exposed copper heating pipes glow in the light on sunny days.
Above: A 19th-century Venetian hanging lantern (one of a pair) is wired for electricity and hangs from a skylight Van Duysen designed to look like a throwback to a Victorian greenhouse. Exposed copper heating pipes glow in the light on sunny days.
A massive fiddle leaf fig tree steals the show in a corner. Ficus lyrata has round, glossy leaves to contrast with the texture of the brick wall.
Above: A massive fiddle leaf fig tree steals the show in a corner. Ficus lyrata has round, glossy leaves to contrast with the texture of the brick wall.
Dubbed the Winter Garden by Uniacke, the conservatory has furnishings that came, mostly, from Uniacke&#8
Above: Dubbed the Winter Garden by Uniacke, the conservatory has furnishings that came, mostly, from Uniacke’s shop. She discovered the terra cotta floor tiles in a salvage yard in France (and supplemented the collection with handmade Italian tiles from UK-based Italian Terrace.
Uniacke&#8
Above: Uniacke’s favorite planter is a repurposed fountain that dates to the late 19th century and hails from an era when English taste was powerfully influenced by Japanese arts and crafts designs.
Oak-leaf ivy (Cissus rhombolia) is a vine that prefers low light.
Above: Oak-leaf ivy (Cissus rhombolia) is a vine that prefers low light.
A wire metal trellis system supports vines and climbers are supported in their quest to reach the ceiling.
Above: A wire metal trellis system supports vines and climbers are supported in their quest to reach the ceiling.
A white moth orchid (Phalaenopsis) has long-lasting flowers that will bloom for up to four months. To meet the orchids&#8
Above: A white moth orchid (Phalaenopsis) has long-lasting flowers that will bloom for up to four months. To meet the orchids’ humidity needs, Stuart-Smith had a misting system installed in the roof.

See more of our favorite London gardens:

Finally, get more ideas on how to successfully plant, grow, and care for orchid with our Orchid: A Field Guide.

Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various houseplants with our Houseplants: A Field Guide.

Interested in other tropical plants for your garden or indoor space? Get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various tropical plants with our Tropical Plants: A Field Guide.

Have a Question or Comment About This Post?

Join the conversation

From our network