It took five years to accomplish, but Philip Vergeylen completed an extraordinary commission to create an opulent interior for the 25,000-square-foot Georgian-style mansion hidden from view in the St. John’s Wood area of London. Vergeylen successfully provided the owners with the lavish design they desired. His ability to tastefully add “contemporary twists” to classic environments has been responsible for his renown as an interior designer. Though he saw the immense residence when it was newly constructed, he was thrilled to consider that he would be the designer who would bring its many rooms to life. His decision to allow each of those rooms its own “inner life” while remaining a part of the whole estate proved to be wise. The estate’s rooms are now distinct spaces within a sumptuous whole. Vergeylen’s success has inspired even more curiosity about the man himself.
1. Vergeylen lives part-time in a Victorian flat in London
Of course, it’s not just any flat—though it once was “dismal”, according to Stacey Bewkes. Vergeylen and his partner Paolo Moschino gutted the 5-bedroom flat extensively. Together, they renovated the flat so that it would have fewer rooms but more elegant living space. Now, the flat is an elegant and inviting apartment with a sitting room, a dining room, a master bedroom suite and a guest bedroom suite. Vergeylen and Moschino live there while working in London during the weekdays and spend weekends in West Sussex at their country home.
2. Vergeylen admits that he will “buy, buy, and buy” art all the time
He and Moschino tend to come home to their London apartment and just drop their newly purchased artwork on the floor. Some pieces have ended up on the floor for a year or two. Eventually, the couple came up with new ideas for displaying art which had been propped up against the walls. They designed display stands which match the hallway moldings around the floor and put them in the same places where the art had previously been left on their floors. They managed “to elevate” the works and make them appear “more important” than before, though they really didn’t think much about the process. Vergeylen says that they really don’t buy art for its value, they just buy what they like.
3. A painting of presumably Rudolf Nureyev hangs on the wall in Vergeylen’s bedroom
Vergeylen admits that the painting “is not a very good quality one” because everything at the Nureyev art sale went for “millions and millions”. But, Vergeylen feels that this painting is “nice”, and he wants to have it next to him always. The painting depicts the handsome male, stripped to the groin, and standing in masculine posture. It’s a powerful piece with hints of deep red in the foreground. Though the bedroom is currently white and suits Vergeylen’s taste, it may soon be painted red to satisfy Moschino’s preferences.
4. Vergeylen calls his city apartment “a night house”—its décor is primarily dark
He and Moschino spend their evenings there, so they created living spaces which have black surfaces and dark walls and objects. In contrast, he explains that their country home is primarily light colors because they spend daytimes there, moving freely in the home and outside to its gardens. He never sees daylight in the city, only returning to the London apartment to entertain or sleep.
5. Vergeylen and Moschino brought a large terra cotta statue in the back of their car from Italy to London
Vergeylen was thrilled that it survived the trip. The couple’s dog also rode in the back seat along with the statue. It now has a place of prominence on a sideboard in their black paneled dining room.
6. Vergeylen and Moschino’s country home has curtains marketed as military uniform lining fabric
Vergeylen likes the versatility of the fabric because ‘it seems to work with most any color’. He told House & Garden that the fabric’s unique sheet isn’t from a glaze, but from beating the fabric- a process called “beetling”.
7. Vergeylen and Moschino have two black and white French bulldogs
The bulldogs are named Louis and Rocco. They enjoy eating kiwis for breakfast and a smidge of Parmigiano Reggiano for dinner. The two dogs follow their owners everywhere, and their owners believe that there is no part of the house which should be animal free. That’s one reason why their floors are wood and stone, and they use washable loose covers on their sofas.
8. Vergeylen studied Commercial Management Engineering in Brussels
He began a career in marketing within the financial services sector after his studies. He was Senior Marketing Executive of Amex for 17 years and Head of the Global Market Council. He lived in New York, Washington, D.C., Amsterdam, and Frankfurt before he finally settled in London. Vergeylen was born and raised in Belgium. His parents offered him three choices of profession. He could be a doctor, a banker, or a lawyer. When he was in his first year of study at university, he discovered that his grandmother’s library had 10 years (literally hundreds) of the French design magazine ‘Connaisance des Arts’. He read every issue from “cover to cover”. When he met the Italian-born Moschino in London, he began to help with some of Moschino’s interior design work and eventually emerged as the leader of the Design Studio at Nicholas Haslam Ltd., which Moschino purchased from Haslam in 1995. Vergeylen views design as his “second career”.
9. While Moschino is listed as one LuxDeco’s Top 50 Interior Designers of 2019, Vergeylen is included as part of their two-man team
The two were honored for expanding the Nicholas Hasam Ltd. empire due to their showroom extension. The partners were acknowledged for their 30-person team working in chalets in Gstaad and Courcheval, their five projects in the Dominican Republic, three United States properties, several U.K. properties, and a yacht.
10. Vergeylen adopted a koala
He posted the Certificate of Adoption on Instagram. The certificate certifies that Vergeylen adopted Crescent Head Jimmy at the Koala Hospital Port Macquarie in New south Wales, Australia as part of the Koala Preservation Society of Australia. His partner Moschino adopted little koala Hockey Luna, too. The adorable koala photographs on the certificates show exactly what the adoptees look like.