James Bond breaks hearts and enemy plots in equal measure but those who allow the world’s favourite secret agent into their homes certainly pay the highest price.
It’s not just their lives which are at risk, for 007 is no respecter of interiors. When he comes calling on villains, from Blofeld and Dr No to Goldfinger, their spectacular hideaways usually end up severely trashed or, worse, blown sky-high.
Over the years his reckless approach to decor has become one of his trademarks. It’s rare for a car chase or action sequence to leave property and buildings intact.
But Bond’s own home has been shrouded in secrecy. It’s only been seen fleetingly in 1958 in Dr No and in 1973 in Live And Let Die, while creator Ian Fleming refers to it in his novels only as a flat in a tree-lined square in Chelsea.
As the Bond franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary, with new movie Skyfall out this month, Martin Waller, founder and chairman of interiors specialists Andrew Martin, has followed the clues in the books and films and speculates on how 007 would kit out his home. He also reveals that spy style is one of the hottest trends for homes.
“Bond is the ultimate hero with his traditional, masculine appeal and his home will reflect that,” says Waller.
“While he spends most of his time seeking his enemies across the globe and frequenting glamorous restaurants, clubs and casinos, my interpretation of his flat is an essentially personal retreat.
“He’s most famously driven an Aston Martin, which gives a big clue to his taste – he favours classic good looks in design, beautifully grained wood and leather upholstery.
“It’s a home essentially decorated purely to satisfy himself – there’s no compromise to female taste – and an escape from the more contemporary, sleek interiors favoured by his enemies. His own flat was probably originally inspired by the wood-panelled, club-style gentlemen’s rooms furnished with antiques which were in vogue when he was created.”
A more masculine approach to decor is totally in tune with our current tastes, he points out, and is partly due to men’s increasing desire to play a part in the design of their homes and their new-found confidence in their style.
“They’re no longer content to sit back and let their partners rule on home taste. Inspired by watching programmes such as Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs, they want to create their own vision,” he says.
“It’s helping to fuel huge popularity for both industrial chic pared-back decor, with bare brick walls and concrete floors, vintage iron and wood furniture, or the more heritage look with panelled walls and well-upholstered furniture, producing a den-like feel. Alternatively, it can be a sophisticated blend of the two.”
Ingredients are natural materials, interesting textures and rooms which aren’t fussy but display boys’ toys in collections such as vintage sports memorabilia.
Waller says: “The result is a home which is high on personality, low on maintenance and is like a second skin, where as soon as you enter you unconsciously relax, and have no need to make an effort. There’s a warm, comfortable and sensual feel which appeals to both sexes.”
So be guided by Bond and choose a style to suit a macho superhero or, if you’re a bad boy, choose decor which might appeal to one of his deadly enemies. Your mission is to create a stunning home.
SECRET AGENT’S SANCTUARY
These spaces need to be able to take a lot of punishment if they’re used for downtime, entertaining and seducing.
“It’s all about rolling back the tyranny of taste and creating a kick-your-shoes off space where comfort is key and detail, apart from favourite possessions, is minimal,” says Waller.
“These days it doesn’t matter if your home doesn’t have all the essential ingredients like wood panelling because just as those film sets rely on special effects, those are also available in decoration nowadays.
“We have wallpapers replicating steel, leather or wood panelling in our range, and with the addition of a statement piece of furniture and essential gadgets from a hidden flat screen to a state-of-the-art coffee machine, you can conjure a room with man appeal at minimal cost.”
Andrew Martin wallpapers start from around £50.
BOND BUYS: Patriotism rules for Her Majesty’s secret agent so what better than furniture sporting the Union Jack. Relax after those action-packed labours on a a leather Rebel full Union Jack sofa, from £4,195 (available to order), or capture retro Sixties style with a Hirshorn Spitfire chair, from £2,750, or Spitfire Pod chair, £3,845, all from Andrew Martin.
Secret documents could be safely stashed in the company’s tan leather Howard Crown parchment chest, with a crown design picked out in studs, £2,495, or peruse them seated at a Union Jack-emblazoned Cunningham desk, £1,695.
Bring back memories of an old enemy with a Jeeves bowler hat pendant light, £155, Graham & Green, reminiscent of the steel-rimmed bowler worn by Oddjob, Goldfinger’s bodyguard whom Bond eventually electrocuted.
Concealment is second nature to 007 – hide cocktails and drinks within a VIP Black trunk bar/coffee table, £695, Alexander & Pearl. It might not be a gadget supplied by Q, but an instant shot of coffee from a Francis Francis coffee machine, £152.99, Lakeland, could have a mean effect on hangovers and its design resembles the dashboard of a premier marque sports car.
Finally, create your own hall of fame by decorating a wall with James Bond First Class stamp prints, £33 each, Hirst & Hirst, depicting six of the Bond film stars, including Daniel Craig.
THE VILLAIN’S LAIR
Bond’s enemies are always seen enjoying palatial comfort, created presumably by suitably evil architects and interior designers, in a futuristic style.
“These are spaces where effect is all, the style is much more hard-edge, and the interior’s really a backdrop for the action,” says Waller. “Avoid bling, an enemy of good taste, and opt for a sleek, monochrome interior which never dates. You can always add playful, tongue-in-cheek touches which give a nod to the genre, from posters to memorabilia.”
If you can keep your messy bad-boy mates in check when they visit, a space kitted out with top-of-the-range design and streamlined, modern pieces is guaranteed to send your interiors street cred rocketing and will definitely impress the girls.
BOND BUYS: Add drama to any room with a deep black Wingback chair, £4,525, Tom Dixon, and reflect guns and gambling in furniture and accessories.
Replicate a dice with a black and white Lucky side chest, £1,245, Andrew Martin (available to order). What could be more appropriate for The Man With The Golden Gun than a gun table lamp, with a gold revolver base, £89, Cult Furniture, or the My Gun metallic gold porcelain revolver ornament by Seletti, £35, Pitfield, London.
Take a call from your henchman on a slim ePure black telephone, from £70, Heal’s, and shake but don’t stir a cocktail in an Alessi stainless steel cocktail shaker, £205, Alessi.
Banish fussy, feminine doorstops. Tom Dixon’s new doorstop replicates a man’s classic shoe with a cast iron brogue, in solid aluminium or with a copper plated finish, £95. Complete the scene with a James Bond Octopussy framed print, £150, John Lewis.
Alessi: www.alessi.co.uk. Alexander & Pearl: 0208 508 0411/www.alexanderandpearl.co.uk. Andrew Martin: 0207 225 5100/www.andrewmartin.co.uk. Cult Furniture: 0208 185 6960/www.cultfurniture.com. Graham & Green: 0845 130 6622/www.grahamandgreen.co.uk. Heal’s: 020 7636 1666/www.heals.co.uk. Hirst & Hirst: 01572 723 800/www.hirstandhirst.co.uk. John Lewis: 0845 6049 049/www.johnlewis.com. Lakeland: 015394 88 100/ www.lakeland.co.uk. Pitfield: 0207 490 6852/www.pitfieldlondon.com. Tom Dixon: 0207 400 0500/www.tomdixon.net