Property development is a complicated and multifaceted task; from finding a property and creating a layout that maximises its space to designing each and every detail that culminates in an interior that suits your lifestyle.
Property development and design firm, Wilben, offers a holistic service to those who wish to renovate and update their prime London property. Whether the property is a family home, a buy-to-let or a buy-to-sell, Wilben has a track record of transforming properties that go on to outperform the market.
Founded in 2009 by twin brothers William and Benjamin Samuels, Wilben’s mission is to create bespoke interiors in London’s finest addresses. Wilben have completed a number of unique and interesting projects across Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Mayfair; ranging from the remodelling of an 8,000 square foot Belgravia townhouse to personally designing bespoke furniture for a Chelsea apartment.
Having completed many successful projects for their clients, William and Benjamin turned their attention to designing homes for themselves. The two finished properties have entirely different layouts and looks, which were shaped by the brothers’ individual lifestyles and aesthetic preferences.
William notes that their homes reflect their inherent design differences, “While the layout of my property is very orderly – which stems from being quite a neat person by nature – Benjamin’s is more free-flowing. It’s ying-and-yang, but I think that’s why we complement each other so well as interior design partners.”
Both wishing to be located nearby the area in which they work, William and Benjamin found two very different styles of property in Chelsea. For Benjamin, a mews-style house in South Kensington was the perfect location to build a home for his young family. William on the other hand, was looking for a more traditional property for himself and his partner – eventually deciding on a pretty cottage-style townhouse in west Chelsea.
Despite William and Benjamin sharing a strong preference for understated design, with a nuanced, elegant feel – their individual homes each has a unique character.
Benjamin created a split-level home that is connected by a single staircase that fitted his preference for lateral living, where each floor houses just one room. Bespoke and custom elements, such as the cupboards and fireplaces that fuse with the wall, were employed to create a sleek, spacious and uncluttered home. Additions such as the wine room add personality, and the beautiful sunroom, located on the top floor of the house, features a full length skylight and has an overall clean and modern look whilst remaining cosy and sociable.
William, by his own admission, is an advocate of more, “traditional interior styling” taking inspiration from, “a more elegant period of English design”.
Features such as dado rails, marble flooring and oak bookcases helped to create the look in Williams townhouse. Choosing a well balanced colour scheme made for an overall sleek and contemporary feel, whilst touches such as the various textured wallpapers, as well as the fabric covered doors on the fitted wardrobes, nod to the interiors of the past.
Wilben is known for their preference for bespoke pieces, which goes beyond interior architecture and into the realm of product design, as it is not unusual for the brothers to create the perfect coffee table or a beautiful chandelier that is unique to the individual client and property. The bespoke element of their designs is something that makes Wilben stand out as a super-prime developer.
Bespoke pieces are abundant in both homes – William’s cinema room benefits greatly from the perfectly proportioned sofas that provide a generous seat whilst not overtaking the space, to the low and slim, marble topped sideboard – which brings functional storage space, in a custom size and shape, whilst remaining an elegant addition to the room.
The living room has a tactile, warm atmosphere that is created using varying tones and textures of the same shade throughout – another stunning bespoke piece is found here in the backlit bookcases which perfectly fill the alcoves on either side of the beautiful contemporary fireplace.
Both William and Benjamin have chosen to have a dramatic, upholstered headboard that is far taller than most conventional designs. However, as expected, their choices diverge when it comes to the details – William designed his headboard to feature the button-backed detail that is common to the Chesterfield sofa, whereas Benjamin has an irregular grid pattern running across his headboard that seems closer to a Mondrian painting than a traditional upholstery finish.
In place of an ottoman, William has created a compact, curved sofa that has the ideal proportions for the space, whereas the end of Benjamin’s bed has a low bench that is studded with a row of square seat cushions which echo the geometry of the rest of the room, such as the headboard.
Wilben’s interior designs, including those in their own home, are unafraid to move away from the all-white interiors that are ubiquitous in property development. Benjamin’s home is a wonderful example of their skill in including darker, richer tones into an interior scheme; shades of deep brown are scattered throughout the house in vary levels of intensity.
Benjamin’s lounge has a deeply cosy atmosphere thanks to the dark, sumptuous walls, whereas the wine cellar has a brighter, cooler look thanks to the off-white tones and the abundance of sheet glass, accented with deep brown accessories and finishing touches.
William has a more harmonious colour scheme throughout the house, which sees the wall and floor covering as a well as most of the soft furnishings and large pieces of furniture made in very similar tones – shadow and textures the focus here.
The upholstery and accessories as well as the wallpaper and the beautiful marble surfaces found in William’s bathroom create a continuous colour palette, which is heightened by bountiful mirrored surfaces and high-shine metallic details throughout.
William and Benjamin’s houses are testament to their ability to bring their individual styles together to create interiors that are truly desirable. With a great number of forthcoming projects, and a growing market for Wilben’s style of ‘off-the-shelf’ interiors, you can expect to see a lot more of their beautiful developments appearing throughout central London.
The company philosophy is to create the most desirable homes, within London’s most desirable addresses. Understanding that location is the key element to excellent investment, Wilben has pledged to only operate within Central London to ensure that they achieve each property’s full potential and value.
The Wilben team bring their property development expertise to each and every stage, from site acquisition and architectural advice, to adding the finishing touches to an interior scheme. Wilben’s holistic approach to property development means that beyond assisting with the practical side of the project – that they manage through their established relationships with their trusted contractors and specialists – the brothers also create a personal and direct relationship with each client. With the dual role of project creative and project manager, Wilben becomes the point-of-contact for the entire development.