How French jewellery designer Anissa Kermiche transformed her London town house apartment into a chic haven that’s full of colour – and cheeky body parts
The first thing that hits me on arriving at Anissa Kermiche’s home is the smell of scented candles – lit, she tells me, to dispel any lingering cooking smells. The 33-year-old jewellery designer hosted a dinner party the night before; a party that spilled out, as they do, from her dark, candlelit alcove of a dining room into the airy living room on to which it opens.
The apartment, set on the first floor of a Georgian town house in Bayswater, is perfect for such soirées. Its unconventional layout, with a bathroom near the front door and a second bedroom off the dining room (which Anissa has converted into her office) is hardly suitable for a family, but makes the perfect pad for a woman who loves to entertain.
Anissa moved from her native Paris to London six years ago, to study jewellery design at Central Saint Martins. Originally based in east London, she moved in to this apartment three years ago out of ‘laziness’, she says. ‘I’m not too fond of the neighbourhood, but it’s so central and convenient.’ It was the first and only flat she viewed in the area. ‘I fell in love with the wooden floors and high ceilings; it reminded me of Paris.’
Not that her childhood home resembled this chic, modern apartment, with its colourful art and clever mix of vintage, designer and high-street furnishings. Her mother’s house, she says, was ‘much more oriental’. One remnant of her Algerian roots remains: a Berber rug that belonged to her grandmother. ‘When my mother gave it to me I said it was too colourful – I was much more into neutrals,’ Anissa says. ‘Then when I bought my sofa I realised there was some green in the rug that matched, so I finally brought it out.’
The rug was the basis for her lounge palette. A vintage khaki and red daybed from online marketplace Pamono sits in the bay window; there’s a sunshine-yellow sideboard from Heal’s and two coffee tables – one by Ligne Roset, the other from a pop-up in Shoreditch. The statement piece is a fake banana tree.
Anissa has a nose for a bargain as well as an eye for design, and there’s a mixture of high-street and high-end throughout the flat. Scandinavian designer dining chairs sit alongside an Oliver Bonas vase, while in the hallway a valuable François Morellet light artwork hangs opposite a mirror picked up for £40 at Sunbury Antiques Market at Kempton Park racecourse – a frequent haunt for Anissa and her friends.
She enjoys the process of interior design as much as the end result. ‘It’s taken me three years to get to this stage and I’m still working on it,’ she says. ‘At antiques markets you have to be lucky to find the right piece, so you have to go often enough. If you’ve finished furnishing, then what do you do? I’d be bored!’
The high-low mix continues in the master bedroom, which Anissa recently repainted in a dusty pink by Farrow & Ball. Two Ikea wicker chairs – recommended by an interior-designer friend – have had their cushions reupholstered in Liberty print to match the Oka bedside tables. A pink-and-green mural of naked men, commissioned from artist Luke Edward Hall, acts as a headboard. ‘I didn’t mind spending more because it’s art that has a function,’ she says. ‘I won’t necessarily want girlie pink and naked men on my headboard for ever, but it will always remind me of my young, single years.’
These Adonises are the anomaly in a house that is full of naked women. In the dining room hangs a set of body-part sketches by an artist friend, the art in the lounge is similarly nudist, and in the hallway is a crochet piece depicting a pair of breasts. Female nudity runs throughout Anissa’s work as well.
When she launched her brand in 2016, having quit engineering three years earlier, Anissa quickly became known for her risqué Body Language collection, which includes the Rubies Boobies necklace and French For Goodnight pendant, featuring a perfectly manicured hand extending its middle finger.
Alongside these gold-plated pieces are contemporary pearl and diamond jewels, and she’s a firm favourite with the street-style set. Anissa’s latest collection is inspired by women who played a key role in the French Revolution, and she has also branched out into homeware with the Love Handles vase and Jugs jug, which both feature in her home.
‘As a designer, when you look at your work it’s almost like the end of a therapy session – you look at everything and think, “Is this what I’m about? Am I a pervert?”’ she laughs. ‘But I always had a sense of rebellion and provocation. I like to put a smile on people’s faces.’