Most people assimilate theatre being beneath a roof, dressing up as a special treat and fairytales as something of a childhood past time. But David Carter is not most people. These are, in fact, the things that he lives and breathes every day. Rarely seen without his bowler hat, ruffled shirt or cane switch he is immediately striking and unforgettable. One could say he is an interior designer but that would be like saying a Chateau Lafite Rothschild is simply a nice bottle of red wine. Moreover David employs his untameable imagination in his grand designs to stoke the fires of our dulled and jaded minds. He embraces the old and the new, the playful and the stern within his interior creations, enveloping the recipient in a sumptuous world where anything is possible. He is a dream weaver of sorts.
His home resides on the unpresuming Mile End Road. It intermittently doubles up as the boutique hotel, 40 Winks. Not shying away from any style, each room is well focused and sharply different from the next: in one a Marie Antoinette-inspired boudoir; the next a lush and darkly decadent opium den cum lounge; whilst the top floor bedrooms remain clean, light and breezy. At first glance, it seems thrown together, but blink and you notice that every object has a purpose and exact position: books with cheeky titles left out in carefully arranged stacks; horse whips suggestively balanced on the lights above the bed; statues wearing hats and Venetian masks like they’re about to hit the town.
David has been designing for international clientele for nearly 20 years. He has been short listed for the highly acclaimed Andrew Martin International Interior Designer of the year Award both in 2001 and 2007, considered by The Times to be the Oscars of its genre. Yet he remains very reticent and modest about his achievements. His friend and close-hand Severina Grozeva says working with him is “like a journey through an agitated ocean: challenging, exciting and rewarding…each time you get some place new.” Rather poetically she goes on to say that she thinks that “he imagines a world that we all hope exists: beautiful, a little mad and filled with curiosities. He just has the courage to flaunt it, while the rest of us keep it to ourselves and maybe our daydreams.”
Listing his favourite London activities as “eating macaroons at Laduree (Harrods), dinner at the Wolseley, Sunday mornings at Columbia Road, rummaging in Spitalfields on Thursdays, and best of all, hosting Bedtime Stories at 40 Winks”, I realize that these are also some of my favourite things to do but the difference is that I probably get around to doing them once a year, if that. The key to David’s authenticity is total immersion within the fantastical. Together with Severina he envisages and forms these wonderful events at 40 Winks that give us a momentary glimpse into his modern fairytale. I have already brought you ‘Tart’ and ‘Bedtime Stories’ in previous London Insight tales…I can only anticipate with baited breath what lies around the corner in the unpredictable world of Mr. David Carter.