3. You helped design the Ambassador's residence. As it is owned by the Crown, are there any restrictions concerning what you can and can't do?
I designed parts of it, particularly the extension in the basement. I know a lot about William Morris. I studied him and the arts and crafts movement at the turn of the century and the carpet, wall coverings and furniture in the basement are all close to that style.
The residence was built in 1854 and it has been renovated from time to time over the ensuing years. The renovation we undertook was a huge operation. We kept only the structures and repaired the rest much to the original style. When renovating, we found newspapers in the gap between the sash window and the brickwork which had been put there for insulation. Those newspapers were from exactly 100 years prior to our renovation - it was quite a discovery!
It's owned by the Crown Estate and is also a grade II listed building so there are many restrictions - even down to the exact colour of the paint on the exterior walls! For any changes we have to submit applications to both Kensington and Chelsea Council and the Crown Estate. When they say yes, we start making proper drawings.
4. Can you tell us a little about the architectural style of the Embassy building?
The architectural style is Italian Renaissance Revival, which you can see by the little arches in the exterior and the granite pillars. The building was made using Norwegian White Marble, Limestone and Portland Stone.