Behind the design of 76 Dean Street
To celebrate the Lick x Soho House collaboration and our range of 8 Soho House paints inspired by Houses around the world, we’re taking a closer look at the history behind these iconic locations. In this article, we take a trip to Georgian London to one of Westminster's oldest townhouses, 76 Dean Street.
The history behind 76 Dean Street
The Georgian era
Built in 1732 by Thomas Richmond, you just know that 76 Dean Street has some stories to tell. Dating back to the Georgian era, the building is a prime example of what many consider to be a high point of English architecture. Yet, just like the city, it calls home, 76 Dean Street has gone through several stages of reincarnation. One century it was home to Earls and Honoraries - each adding their mark along the way - the next, it was a leather-cutting factory and a school for poor children.
The post-war period
After the turn of the 20th century, as Soho became the bubbling hub of London’s art and theatre scenes, followed the so-called “decades of debauchery”. These were heady years filled with the spirit of the roaring twenties and post-war joie de vivre. In 1928, aristocrat and man-about-town David Tennant founded the Gargoyle Club on the top floors of the House, where theatre and silver screen legends like Fred Astaire would rub shoulders with likes of poet Dylan Thomas.
The decades of debauchery continued through to the 1950s, when the House became a favourite watering hole of acclaimed artists such as Lucian Freud and Francis Bacon. In the seventies and eighties, it had a life as a Comedy Store and live music venue. 76 Dean Street’s greatest reinvention, however, was in 2009, when it underwent a complete restoration following an almost devastating fire. And in 2015, after a painstaking refurbishment, Soho House 76 Dean Street opened.
The design behind 76 Dean Street
In the design process, the Soho House team endeavoured to bring their iconic style to 76 Dean Street, whilst still paying homage to the building’s rich historical journey, from its most glamorous to its most industrial.
From the restored Georgian fireplace, vintage marble cladding and centuries-old wooden floorboards to the main staircase’s 18th-century mural that took more than 12 months to be restored, as much as possible has been done to preserve the building's heritage and period detailing.
Take the naval-themed murals painted by John Devoto, most likely commissioned by the original owner’s son, the eighth Earl of Abercorn, which took over a year to restore. Beyond them, works by emerging artists and mid-century furnishings are juxtaposed against the building’s unique period detailing.
In short, it’s a meeting of two worlds that draws on past influences and current design to create a space that feels inviting and lived-in, yet distinguished.
The Club Bar is a place to congregate, converse, and inhale the convivial air. Decorated in a traditional style, its patrons are encouraged to embrace the spirit of the 1920s. Featuring wooden wall panelling and dado rails painted in Teal 03 76 Dean Street, the palette is a complementary colour scheme paired with rich jewel tones of brilliant reds through to garnet pinks and warm, polished woods.