Get the look: Gabrielle Du Plooy on her interior design secrets - Upsmag - Magazine News

Get the look: Gabrielle Du Plooy on her interior design secrets

It’s all about being bold and going with what you love (Picture: KT Watson /

Guests have only to look at the artworks in this expert’s house to find a topic of conversation.

When Gabrielle Du Plooy moved into her late-Victorian property in the heart of Hampstead 12 years ago it had all the features to make a great house. Yet it didn’t feel like home.

Being Grade II-listed, the house is full of period details, including the original cornicing and parquet flooring, but as an art dealer and owner of Zebra One Gallery in Hampstead, NW3, Gabrielle felt that until she had filled it with her favorite pieces , inherited and collected both at home and on her travels, it wouldn’t be quite right.

‘I always say a house is not a home without artworks on the walls,’ she says. ‘My art fills me with joy. Every piece I have tells a story. Some artists I’ve worked with from day one and watched them grow.’

The 1880 house is on the doorstep of leafy Hampstead Heath and has had the roof opened up to create a studio for Gabrielle’s father, who is an artist. The green spaces a few minutes away, with ancient meadow and woodlands, are where Constable spent his final years painting.

The area’s upmarket bohemian vibe and village-like feel mean it still attracts a vibrant art scene, albeit priced for, and inhabited by, those who have found huge fame and fortune before visiting that great gallery in the sky – unlike Constable.

Gabrielle is pictured in her lounge, which was gutted and opened up soon after she bought the house in 2010 to create an open-plan layout, encompassing a sitting and dining area.

The original features have been retained and serve as a backdrop to an ever-changing mix of contemporary and post-war modern art on the walls.

‘This room is eclectic,’ she says. ‘It’s filled with wonderful pieces that have been inherited and collected from family members and from our travels.

‘I am a lover of antiques markets and fairs. I do so love to have a nose around when on my travels. My father is South African and collects sculpture. And there are Persian rugs from Iran. We kept the original parquet floors and most of the original features. This room, like the rest of our house, is a mixture of the old and the new, the foraged and found.’

Gabrielle’s taste is an eclectic mix of old and new (Picture: KT Watson)

The standout artwork in the lounge is of zebras, for Zebra One Gallery, and is one of Gabrielle’s all-time favorite pieces. It was created by Dom Pattinson who she first started working with in 2013.

‘Most of the works I have and keep as part of my collection hold a special significance to me,’ she adds.

The room deliberately riffs the old and the new, partly as conversation-starters but also to avoid the interiors becoming too stark. Farrow & Ball Slipper Satin paint serves as a warm, off-white background to bring out the colors and bold lines of contemporary works.

‘The room is eclectic and interesting but it feels warm and inviting,’ Gabrielle. ‘I’ve carefully curated it so the pieces work together as a whole and don’t feel too overwhelming. But they encompass different cultures, stories and periods. And guests are never short of conversation and inspiration in here, as there is so much to talk about. Or you can just lose yourself in a single piece.’

When it comes to choosing art for a home, Gabrielle says these works will set the tone for everything else. Go bold and choose what you like, not what may impress others, she says.

‘If you are working on a fresh space, it’s fantastic if you can use art as the starting point for your décor plans. Then the art leads the color palette and scheme and sets the mood of the room. If you are dressing the home based on the coloring and style and you are trying to be conscious of everything in the room, the size, colors and tone working in the color scheme is where you would start.

‘Not everything in a design scheme has to be abstract and just colours. Be brave and go for what you love.’

Visit Zebra One Gallery here.

Rimini Blu Elephant

Blue and beautiful (Picture: The Conran Shop)

‘Some of the ornaments on the original marble top are from my grandmother – delicate, African pieces, made from ebony, the hardest wood, and carved to depict animals like elephants and wildebeest mostly from Kenya and the Maasai Mara.’

alternative: Buy this Rimini Blu Elephant for £149 from The Conran Shop.

Farrow & Ball Slipper Satin Paint

Sometimes simple is best (Picture: Homebase)

Farrow & Ball Slipper Satin paint ‘is a lovely warm, off-white, inspired by ballet slipper silk. It’s great for period properties and for the art in my room to sing from.’

Buy it for £56 for 2.5l from Homebase.

Lockett Walnut Solid Wood Sideboard

Update your house with a classic (Picture: Ruth Whittaker)

‘The side table is a walnut antique sideboard from an antiques market.’

alternative: Buy this Lockett Walnut Solid Wood Sideboard for £2,059.99 from Wayfair.

Antique-style globe

How very worldly (Picture: Dunelm)

Gabrielle’s 1920s terrestrial world globe on a cast-iron base, bought from an antiques market, ‘was probably used in a library or classroom in the Twenties’.

alternative: Buy this antique-style globe for £16 from Dunelm.

Dom Pattinson prints

Stand out from the crowd (Picture: Zebra One Gallery / Dom Pattinson)

‘Dom Pattinson is the artist whose work is shown here. We have worked together for about ten years and his work always has a double meaning.

‘The piece behind me is called STAND OUT, STAND PROUD – it doesn’t matter if you’re different, just be yourself.’

Buy hand-coloured Dom Pattinson prints from Zebra One Gallery for £2,500.

Poole Pottery Celestial Turtle

We’re turtle-y in love (Picture: John Lewis)

Gabrielle brought back an antique turtle ornament after she ‘fell in love with South Asia’.

She adds: ‘I get so much inspiration for shows and interior design from my travels.’

alternative: Buy this Poole Pottery Celestial Turtle ornament for £60 from John Lewis.

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