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Thread: Russel Tovey's Shoreditch Loft

  1. #1
    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Default Russel Tovey's Shoreditch Loft

    CELEBRITY HOMES


    Inside Russell Tovey’s Character-Rich London Loft


    The actor and art insider's Shoreditch warehouse conversion merges gallery cool with warm woods and tactile textiles
    By Kate Jacobs

    Photography by Helen Cathcart


    July 12, 2019





    A neon sign hangs over the doorway of Russell Tovey’s warehouse apartment. Made by British artist Tracey Emin, it proclaims "More Passion." For many of us, it would be a call to action, but it’s hard to imagine Tovey living any more passionately than he does now. He brings commitment and energy to most every strand of his life, whether that’s as an art-world podcaster, an apartment remodeler, a gym bunny, or a dog dad to his French bulldog, Rocky. Above all, he’s an actor who first made his name in The History Boys and is currently starring in the BBC’s compelling near-future drama Years and Years. In 2020, he’ll be returning to Broadway in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?“I’m very character-driven; I think I’ve always loved pretending to be other people,” Tovey explains.


    Tovey sits with his sidekick Rocky at the Holborn dining table by e15, which he has mixed with two vintage oak stools from the Peanut Vendor and midcentury chairs that he has collected from a variety of places over the years and had upholstered in a in a selection of Kvadrat fabrics in different colors. In the background is a wooden bench by iconic French designer Charlotte Perriand. Behind him hangs a painting by Matt Connors, next to a sculpture by Rebecca Warren.

    Five years ago, Tovey was living in London’s Soho when he chanced upon an apartment for sale over in Shoreditch. “I loved the area; it’s vibrant but chilled, and when I walked in I could just see myself living here.” This loftlike space is, by London standards, vast—one huge main room with a kitchen; two bedrooms and bathrooms; dressing room and laundry all leading off it. The warehouse block was originally built in the 1880s and once stored the textiles collections of the British Museum. Tovey was instantly drawn to the sense of space, the light, and, as an avid art collector, the enormous walls.
    Yet once he and his art were installed, friends said it was too cold and clinical—just a gallery space with a couch. “I said, ‘But that’s great, right?’ and they told me ‘Not really, Russell, no!’” he recalls. But Tovey has a highly developed visual sense, and knew he could go it alone, without the help of an interior designer. From childhood, he has closed his eyes and wandered around his dream home, planning every detail. Even now, when he’s away, he’ll project himself back here and contemplate tweaks and updates. This gift, combined with the advice of style-savvy friends and the all-important ingredients of time and patience, meant that he was happy to let the place simply evolve. Which is exactly what has happened over the five years since he came here.


    The bedroom looks onto a tranquil courtyard at the rear of the building. The bed is another piece by Tovey’s favorite furniture designer Matthew Hilton. Above it hangs a Zeppelin light by Marcel Wanders. Tovey had the midcentury chair reupholstered in a Raf Simons for Kvadrat fabric, while the vintage light is from Shoreditch store Atomic Antiques. The work above the table and chair is by New York painter Loie Hollowell.

    Today the main room has been perfectly zoned to flow between living and dining areas with an elegant reading space in between. Midcentury furniture in warm wood sits alongside pieces by his favorite designer, Matthew Hilton (“whenever a piece catches my eye, it turns out to be by him”). In this sizable space, Tovey’s art collection has flourished, and now overflows into a storage facility. Over time Tovey has come to focus largely on emerging artists and works on paper, as well as work by female artists. In his role as a patron and benefactor, he’s hosted Frieze Art Fair patrons’ tours here, and interviewed many art world players for the no-bull Talk Art podcast he cohosts with his gallerist friend Robert Diament.


    Tovey’s home has been completed with tactile textiles and curios. “I’d desperately love to be a minimalist, but I’m just not,” he says with mock resignation. The apartment features many quirky pieces picked up from artisans, flea markets, and thrift stores alike. “People think of fine art as being the pinnacle, but a piece of handmade pottery can give me as much pleasure. I think it works here because the furniture, art, and objects sit in unison, like little family groups, having conversations with one another.” This mix has given heart to what could have been a sterile home. Now, whether Russell’s spending time here with friends or just hanging out with Rocky and delving into his art books, “everyone always feels comfortable and anchored here,” he says, “never lost in space.”


    This area is for reading and writing, but because of the daybed—an eBay find—Tovey jokingly refers to it as “the therapy zone.” The Tony Lewis artwork nods to the exposed brick walls in this apartment. The low wooden table is from East London design store Béton Brut, and on it sits a scorched wooden bowl by British artists Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley. To the left of the brick artwork are pieces by Stanley Whitney, above, and Wyatt Kahn, below; [blue woman] artwork by Cheyenne Julien.


    Tovey loves to entertain friends here, whether that’s gathering to share food and a TV show or hosting patron events during the Frieze art fair. The old Turkish rug in front of the dining table is from top London design store, SCP. From left to right, the works hanging on the wall are by Tony Lewis, Cheyenne Julien, Will Boone (two), Jonas Wood, Carmen Herrera, and Matt Connors.


    Tovey says he never feels guilty about buying books or music, and, as a consequence, he has several bookshelves, loaded with art books, around the apartment. Here a Vitsoe shelf system sits alongside a bespoke tongue-and-groove cabinet, made to Tovey’s specifications and concealing electrical and pipe work. Above the wall shelf are works by Leon Polk Smith (top) and George Condo (below). The sculpture on the floor by the bookcase is by Sebastian Stöhrer. Works on the bookshelves include a Bart Simpson figure by Joyce Pensato and ceramic cartoon figures by Magdalena Suarez Frimkess.


    In the simple wood-and-white kitchen, Tovey has enlivened the space under the breakfast bar with a wallpaper by artist Jonas Wood. Tovey jokes that if he didn’t keep his hoarding tendencies in check, the whole apartment would look like the extractor—awash with mementoes. To the left a work by Leon Polk Smith sits under an Alexander Girard bird relief for Vitra. To the right of the extractor hang two works on paper by Kara Walker.


    Tovey loves the way the exposed-brick metal framed windows nod to the buildings industrial past as a warehouse. In a corner of the living area, the modular sofa, a Matthew Hilton design for SCP, is heaped with cushions from French fashion label APC; each one is made from recycled clothes from the previous year’s collections. Below the Jean Prouvé wall light hangs a mirror by Swiss artist Nicolas Party, with a piece by Emily Furr above. A collection of succulents, displayed in vintage planters, enjoys a sunny spot on the windowsill. Works by Torey Thornton (under planters) and Oscar Murillo (over utility door).


    In Tovey’s bedroom, an elegant bath sits under a painting by Jamie Juliano Villani, next to a design-classic chair by Gerrit Rietveld that supports a strawberry-inspired vase by Los Angeles–based artist Shio Kusaka. The rug, like many in the apartment, is by Spanish designer Nani Marquina: “I love the solid quality of her designs.” Above the bath hangs a trio of lights by British lighting designer Terence Woodgate. In the background, a work by Joyce Pensato and three pieces by Alvaro Barrington.


    When he’s not acting, Tovey will often spend a contented day at home in the guest bedroom with his art books, researching an upcoming podcast. By the bed—the frame was an eBay buy—hangs a drawing by Lisa Brice. Works on the bookcase include pieces by Cheyenne Julien, Walter Price, Magdalena Suarez Frimkess and a Rebecca Warren edition.


    Tovey has had the guest bathroom papered in a playful design created by English artist Sarah Lucas, from the Whitechapel Gallery. Artwork reflected in mirror by Toyin Ojih Odutola.











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    Elite Member Waterslide's Avatar
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    Oh! I know who that guy is. The name sounded familiar and then I saw his face...

    Love the doggy.

    I love that he has book shelves with actual books on them.

    I love a lot of the art and the colors of the art. If nothing else, I love that the artwork seems to have been picked out with care, and fits the personality of this whole home, and is not just some garbage thrown up on the walls.

    Love the space and the exposed brick and the natural light and also wonder what this looks like at night.

    kind of scratching my head over the basketball breakfast nook. I'd like to be a guest in his house, but I hope there is a sink I could use with a counter.
    sputnik likes this.
    "AND WHEN YOU BECAME DENISE, I TOLD ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES, THOSE CLOWN COMICS, TO FIX THEIR HEARTS OR DIE."

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    czb
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    that french bulldog is an abomination. and i'm a dog lover.

    the rest of the loft is great, though.
    sputnik likes this.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    I really like this too.
    The one thing I really hate is the bathtub in the bedroom because I think it’s a stupid idea in the first place.
    Brookie and Kittylady like this.
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    fgg
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    if there ever was a case for ear pinning, this guy is it. this place could be cool but it is too over the top/try hard.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    I like the space and love the windows. The kitchen looks poorly lighted.
    The paintings and art pieces are interesting, but I hate the classical columns.

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    It's a lovely space, of course it is. It checks all the "I have good taste"-boxes: high ceilings, large windows, exposed brick, wooden floors, quirky lamps, naivistic artwork, deliberately mismathced chairs... I just can't shake the feeling that it's fake, like it's more for show than for use.

    The floor pillow under the shelf e.g. - what's that for. Are you supposed to kneel while reading the book on the shelf? If you sit on the pillow, you'd hit your head on the shelf.


    And what's the point of this lamp on the little shelf? The lamp takes up all of the shelf, so you can't use it as a night stand. And there's a reading lamp on the head board, so you don't need the lamp on the shelf. The only point of the lamp is to sit on the shelf, and the only point of the shelf is to hold the lamp.


    And I'll bet this bath tub is never in use. The steam would destroy the painting, and the water would destroy the rug, and there's no place to put your soap or clothes. There is of course a designer chair with the sole purpose of holding a vase.


    The only proof that this place is being used by people is the (hopefully) water smudge above the TP holder. It also proves that this wallpaper is not only ugly, but also not suitable for a bath room. I'm surprised they didn't photoshop it out.
    sputnik likes this.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    Pretty sure the cushion on the floor is a dog bed. And totally agree about the rest. A lot of it can be chalked down to the fact that these spaces are styled to death for the photos and most traces of anyone living there are removed but the tub in the bedroom is a stupid trend that’s annoying even in a hotel room setting.
    also, cleaning services. It’s easier to have impractical stuff when you don’t have to clean it.
    idunno likes this.
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    ^^ Good points. It's a dog bed of course.

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    I like the space but I'd gut that kitchen.
    if you're so incensed that you can't fly your penis in public take it up with your state, arrange a nude protest, go and be the rosa parks of cocks or something - witchcurlgirl

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