Ruth Daniel, Sophie Mills and Kirsty McMorron combine design skills with property expertise to offer a complete service with an international angle
Absolute Abode really understands its target market. The company comprises a former City banker, an ex lawyer and a former advertising executive, who joined forces to provide a one-stop interiors shop for similarly cash-rich, time-poor professionals. The trio not only act as the linchpin connecting client, architect and constructor to provide a full interior-design service, they also offer a property search service and handle the moving-in process, if required.
One of the three founders, Ruth Daniel, has a background in the high-flying world of finance and property law and handles the home-finding side of the business. Sophie Mills, an architectural design graduate from the Inchbald School of Design, was previously a corporate lawyer and diplomat with the Foreign Office and has lived in a number of different countries. Kirsty McMorron, who studied with Mills at Inchbald, has worked internationally with the Ogilvy advertising agency and relocated to London from her native Australia in 2001. The trio’s first-hand international experience proves invaluable when helping their clients, who are often looking to relocate for business or to create a second home abroad.
‘There are subtle—and perhaps not so subtle—differences when dealing with a client who is, one, very busy and, two, moving to a different country,’ says McMorron.
‘Absolute Abode is about seeing the process from that slightly different perspective yet handling it with the benefit of insider information on London and the UK. We act as the trusted adviser to a person or family that is out of their comfort zone—we can see whether they are a Columbia Road Market-type of person or more suited to Belgravia. And we understand the smaller idiosyncrasies. For example, I know that Australians find Victorian features in a home very novel— almost as if they are ancient artefacts to be treasured!’
The team, who work ‘virtually’ from their own homes but get together at Mills’ large (and meticulously designed) home office in Wapping every Monday, have applied their design ethos to a number of projects. One such venture was the design of an apartment in Marylebone for an Italian family, who were keen to carry on the Mediterranean way of handling business— maintaining a close relationship with suppliers and contractors—but who could not always be there to oversee the project. Another project was the creation of a Kensington home for a New York financier who was relocating to London for two years. ‘This job had the typically psychological element that we balance carefully with the technical side,’ says Mills. ‘This was the first time our client had been given the time and space to think about her living environment. She was keen to be involved in the process and wanted something that reflected the city’s style but in an authentic way that only Londoners would know about. She is having loads of fun working through our list of inspirational places to visit, such as Liberty and Brick Lane.’
The trio are just finishing a six-bedroom house in the Cotswolds and will then move on to an Edwardian family home in Wimbledon ‘that hasn’t been touched for 40 years’ and a terraced house in Dulwich. Daniel, Mills and McMorron are sticklers for detail, ensuring that nothing is overlooked when helping their busy international clientele move home. In fact, their services even include ensuring there is milk and, of course, champagne in the fridge ready for when their clients move in.
This article was first published in idfx Magazine.