Kelly Behun Reimagines London Department Store into Dreamy Contemporary Apartment

01.09.24 | By
Kelly Behun Reimagines London Department Store into Dreamy Contemporary Apartment

The Whiteley, once the home of London’s first department store, has undergone a remarkable transformation into a 1.1-million-square-foot residential and hospitality destination. Just recently, The Whiteley unveiled its first completed residence, a stunning three-bedroom apartment, curated by renowned New York City-based designer, Kelly Behun.

Behun’s design philosophy beautifully blends old-world charm with contemporary vibrancy, drawing inspiration from both the building’s rich history and its surroundings. The color palette, featuring rich golds, verdant greens, dusky roses, and lavenders, takes cues from Hyde Park’s proximity, creating a warm, modern environment.

interior shot of partial modern living room with pink upholstered chair behind coffee tables with a large piece of modern art hanging on wall behind

The Whiteley’s transformation is led by development managers Finchatton, in collaboration with investment partners MARK and C C Land. This unveiling marks a milestone in the £1 billion regeneration project, set to be completed in 2024.

modern living room with curved windows, featuring a curved white sofa and two pink upholstered chairs

The apartment’s design philosophy emphasizes tactile and inviting atmospheres, with natural fabrics and organic shapes, creating a harmonious living space. Notable pieces include an offset sunburst pattern rug by fashion designer Mary Katrantzou for The Rug Company, and hand-sculpted torchiere style sconces by artist Chris Wolston, that enhance the tall ceiling heights.

open modern living space with pastel upholstered chairs in living room and seating area with view into kitchen in distance

Marcus Meijer, Founder and CEO of MARK, expressed the significance of The Whiteley, stating, “The Whiteley is iconic. The sheer size, grandeur, and history of the building is what makes it unique, and we had to ensure we appointed a designer who celebrated that.” Behun, featured in the AD 100 list of top interior designers, was a natural choice to bring the loft-style open plan apartment to life.

view over unique dining table looking into open modern living space with pastel upholstered chairs in living room and seating area

The 3,193-square-foot residence boasts high ceilings exceeding 14 feet and heritage windows that flood the space with natural light. Design details, like the fluted millwork columns and herringbone floors, pay homage to the building’s original architecture, preserving its history while imbuing a fresh, contemporary feel.

modern dining room with oval wood table and patterned wood chairs surrounding with large abstracted landscape painting hanging on wall behind

Behun’s commitment to craftsmanship and individuality is evident throughout the apartment. Bespoke and handmade furniture pieces, such as a custom walnut dining table by Belgian artist Benoit Viaene, add a distinctive touch. The guest bedroom features a wallpaper designed by Behun for Calico Wallpaper, creating a dreamy forest landscape.

view of moody gray hallway in modern apartment with curated design pieces

“As a diehard New Yorker, if I think about the one other city in the world where I could see myself living, it’s always London,” says Kelly Behun. “The volume of the space, the abundance of natural light, and the fact that this apartment sits behind the original façade – there’s no other building I’d want to debut in London for.”

angled view into modern office behind glass wall with modern desk, dark painted blue/green walls and large painting on wall

interior view into foyer of modern apartment with dark gray walls and glass wall of windows as a divider

angled view of modern bedroom with gray/purple abstract wallpaper

Each of the three spacious bedrooms has its own enviable design style.

angled view of modern bedroom with graphic patterns on bedding and painting above bed

modern bedroom with pastel color scheme featuring pale lavender bedding

angled interior view of modern bedroom on side with lounge chair and low white console with two purple pink paintings above

dark and moody bathroom with patterned wallpaper and dark grainy sink

partial exterior view of white historical building in London

The Whiteley exterior

designer Kelly Behun standing in front of wood wall with purple pants and a black blouse

Designer Kelly Behun

The first residents of The Whiteley are expected to move in starting the first quarter of 2024, with the rest of the project aiming for completion later in the year. The Kelly Behun-designed apartment is currently on the market for £12.5 million, inviting discerning buyers to experience the perfect blend of history, luxury, and contemporary living.

Photography by Paul Raeside.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.