Reinvigorating a Symphony of Salvage in Chelsea


In 2002, Retrouvius and Nick Helm architects collaborated on the transformation of an 18th-century Chelsea residence. The result was a beautifully crafted U-shaped design featuring a serene courtyard—a testament to timeless elegance.

Twenty-one years later, we’ve returned to reinvigorate the space, whilst preserving its enduring character.



The original design showcased a lustrous blend of reconditioned salvaged materials—including wide oak boards that were originally modernist church pews and teak sourced from Queen Charlotte Hospital.

Cast concrete and glimmering zellige tiles added a contemporary touch, marking our first collaborative venture into the mythical realms of Emery et Cie. Agnes Emery’s handmade tiles, paints and metalwork have since become a cornerstone of the Retrouvius aesthetic.



Our clients were captivated not only by the aesthetics but also by the compelling stories woven into the salvaged materials. We chose to hone clean lines from each material, unveiling their innate quality; from the rich teak timbers to the black Norwegian ‘Otta Phyllite’ stone, reclaimed from a Whitehall commercial building. Its mineral composition bestows a liquid-like form —a reminiscent feature at Oslo’s bustling main train station.



Our latest intervention centred on the kitchen—a transformation mirroring the evolution of a household with grown-up children. Transitioning the space from a bustling hub for kids to a sophisticated space for partners and friends to gather and create memories.

Designs by Timorous Beasties’ have reinvigorated the ambience, featuring entwined iguanas amidst lush foliage and the evocative Japanese Tree pattern. In the kitchen, another cherished Timorous Beasties design, weathered by years of use, was lovingly restored, recapturing its initial allure.



This revisit wasn’t just a renovation; it encapsulated the narrative of a home evolving gracefully, where design seamlessly intertwines with the stories of its inhabitants.


Why We Love These Stripey Turkish Flatweaves

The stripes of our hand-loomed Turkish rugs strike a timeless chord between wholesome roots and contemporary style. Made mostly from naturally pigmented wool, they reflect the beautiful colours of the sheep in…
Read More