The View from the Top
Almas Shamsee of Maisha Design shows us around her Shad Thames apartment
When an interior designer invites you inside their home, you know that you are in for a visual treat. Almas Shamsee has lived in Shad Thames with her family for ten years, and two and a half years ago bought their current triplex overlooking Tower Bridge and the Thames.
“I absolutely loved it the first time I saw it,” says Almas. “The view out over the bridge and the City takes your breath away, and you feel so close to the river.”
The apartment needed a lot of work, and Almas had to reconfigure aspects of it to make the most of the space available, which included replacing the two staircases, a project that involved rewiring the apartment. The apartment is built on a curve, so many of the spaces are oval, giving each room a very unique feel. It is built over three floors, with the bonus of a crow’s nest that Almas has turned into a gym, which has a 360-degree view of the river.
The kitchen and dining area is where you first get your glimpse of this stunning view, and Almas’ elegant design complement the vista without detracting from it. The kitchen was themed around a large piece of Calacatta Oro marble, which has been used for the tops of the kitchen units and the island, where the family can cook whilst enjoying the view. Above the island, a glass nest from Faber is perfectly formulated to work alongside the view and marble top without being too imposing. An extraction unit comes down when you cook, and when not in use it can be used as an independent chandelier light.
The lacquer cupboards were chosen to fit with the marble tops, and were made bespoke by the building company that Almas works with. Maisha Designs offers the same made-to-measure service for all of their clients, ensuring that they get the exact product they want. Whether it’s kitchen cabinets, wardrobes or storage spaces, everything is made bespoke offering the client full control over the design, materials and configuration.
The Michael Northcroft table was based on an existing design with an added oval glass table top to complement the shape of the space. A bench was made by Maisha Design to echo the curves of the table, room and windows.
On the same floor as the kitchen and dining area are the guest bedroom and Almas’ son’s room. The guest bedroom has a soft colour scheme, with a few pops of bright colours to lift the space. The bespoke wardrobes in here were design by Almas and made to measure by her building company. The design on the wardrobe is echoed on the wardrobes in the master bedroom. The internals of the wardrobes have been made to the exact specifications of Almas, which is something that she offers to all of her clients.
Almas has a six-year-old son, and he loves having his own personal space in his bedroom. The wallpaper is the Distant Shores design from Harlequin, which is playful and stylish – perfect for a little Londoner’s bedroom.
The master bedroom is on the lower floor, and with the floor to ceiling windows you to feel very close to the water. The scheme is here is slightly moody, shot through with vibrant orange inspired by the colours in the marble counter in the ensuite bathroom, which opens up into the bedroom. Sheer roman blinds have been used so that you can make the most of the beautiful view without being overlooked.
The top floor is one large open plan living space, with two distinct areas; one for relaxing and one for entertaining. The relaxation area has a gel fire, which lends a real cosiness to the space. The focal point of the main living are is an unusual and striking chandelier, hand-blown from recycled glass by Kitengela Glass in Almas’s native Kenya. The blue scheme of the chandelier dictated the colour scheme for the space, which is complemented with a painting by Ben Lowe and the dark wood flooring from Kahrs.
The overwhelming feeling in this beautiful apartment is one of space and light. Everything about the design has been chosen as a perfect foil for the stunning view – it is clear that this is the home of a very talented interior designer.