A peek inside High Road House
Owner, Nick Jones, brings Emma Brophy behind the hoardings
Curious to a fault I was thrilled (to put it mildly) when Soho House owner Nick Jones invited me to go behind the hoardings and see how High Road House is progressing.
On track to open in July 2006, the charming Nick Jones is unmistakably cheerful about the prospect of spending more time in Chiswick. “I love Chiswick more each time I come here.”
He went on to explain how his affair with Chiswick began “Ant and Dec told me that they wanted a private members club here in Chiswick and brought me to the Cellar Bar to see what I thought. I liked it but told them that we needed the entire building!”
Keen to get community relations off to a good start, Nick explained how he had to convince the former owners of Foubert’s to sell to him. “They were obviously a lot of people interested in buying the hotel, but Luciano was never going to sell to just anyone so we had to convince him that we were the best people."
"It’s great that Foubert’s is still here just around the corner, it would have been terrible if they didn’t remain part of Chiswick life.”
Indeed Foubert’s ice cream will still be sold from the pavement outside the new brasserie.
The building, whilst still very much work in progress, now shows little sign of its former incarnation. A large brasserie / bar area on the ground floor will seat eighty inside with additional room for thirty alfresco diners. Serving everything from classic European bistro dishes to a cup of coffee, the brasserie will be open from 07.00 every morning to both non-members and members.
To the right of the brasserie is a Cowshed retail outlet selling the Soho House brand toiletries and herbs, again open to all.
It was private members part of the club which was the real surprise. Far from simply providing card carrying kudos, Nick Jones has astutely approached the facilities at the Chiswick club from both business and family perspectives.
The basement area, open to members and their children, is in sections - the play pen (with a pool table and table football) a bed area for chilling out, a service bar and a screening area complete with a state-of-the-art flat screen (there are plans to hold classic screening for parents and children on Monday afternoons).
Upstairs, the second floor is also dedicated to members (and children over the age of twelve). Consisting of the club’s dining room, meeting areas and bar, the palette of black and peacock colours creates a softer feel with leafy hand blocked wallpapers designed by the eighty year old local artistic legend Marthe Armitage and being wi-fi enabled, provides a perfect place for both business and pleasure. The club will be open to members from 07.00 until 02.00.
The other floors house fourteen bedrooms which are small but perfectly formed. The rooms have been designed as upscale attic rooms with mini Belfast sinks that recall old-fashioned washstands and Shaker wall pegs used for hanging clothing, mirrors and storage. Hotel guests will become temporary club members during their stay and therefore have use of member's facilities.
The entire building’s design was created by Ilse Crawford, Creative Director of Soho House Group, responsible for Babington House, Electric House, Soho House New York and Cowshed Clarendon Cross. Already familiar with Chiswick resident Marthe Armitage’s designs, Ilse of studioilse saw High Road House as a great opportunity to use them within the project, given Chiswick’s arts and crafts heritage. She said “As a studio, we tell stories about places and people rather than produce a ‘studio look’.”
With such stylish interiors, evident benefits and members' social events planned for High Road House, I was left in no doubt that being a member here was a lot more than simply having the right card.
Applications for founder members are currently being considered prior to the 24th July opening.
Applications from new members must be supported by two existing members (of clubs within the Soho House Group).