Hairdresser to the stars Paul Edmonds, who is soon to open a salon in Battersea Power Station, talks about his brutalist house in Lambeth
I must be drawn to brutalist architecture – I used to live in the Barbican. I can remember my grandmother visiting and saying it looked like a prison; she couldn’t believe I wanted to live there.
There’s definitely a brutalist look to my house in Lambeth, where I’ve lived for 13 years. My favourite part is the staircase – it has a really lovely sculptural feel to it and a nice flow.
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When I first moved in I agonised over whether to paint it or not and eventually decided to leave the whole thing raw. The task became how to soften what was essentially quite a hard look, so the furniture is all quite soft and luxurious.
I go to quite a few antique sales, and I’m always on the lookout for 40s and 50s furniture, which I’ve collected for years. I’m slightly obsessed by chairs, which is a bit sad. But I have very eclectic tastes: I even have a cuckoo clock; I’ll collect anything that has a nice shape and feel.
There’s also lots of art, which makes a lovely contrast to the hard concrete. Some of it is made by my two daughters, who are 30 and 31 now, and I’ve got some Polly Morgan pieces in there, too.
People are always surprised when they see the flat as it’s a real contrast to my Knightsbridge salon, which has more of a Georgian townhouse aesthetic. There are similarities, though – I have lots of my own furniture in there, as well as pieces of art and sculptures and pictures of my family. For me the whole business is about family and making people feel like they’re coming into someone’s home.
When I first started out in hairdressing the ethos was very much that the hairdresser was God and the client had to do what the hair-God told them; I wanted to do something different, to put the client at the heart of the experience. Going to the hairdresser can be quite a scary thing, so you want somewhere that’s pleasant, that’s going to make you feel good.
The plan is obviously working: we now have just under 50 staff and next April we’re opening up in Battersea Power Station. The developers wanted independent companies to go in and do something a bit different from the normal chains, something more upmarket. My salon there is based on a Georgian gentleman’s club, smart but comfy. I think it’s going to be really great.