Inside the home of celebrity facialist Teresa Tarmey
Behind the powder blue, neoclassical façade of Teresa Tarmey’s Kensington home, the fashion world’s favourite facialist has created a home that’s every bit as glamorous as her client list.
‘Moving day was interesting,’ she laughs. ‘I arrived at 7am to meet the landlady with the keys and at the same time there was an HSS hire van pulling up with the biggest ladders you have ever seen, along with a gang of decorators. We literally came in like Supermarket Sweep to get everything finished as quickly as possible.’
The grand five-storey property serves a dual purpose. The lower two floors are dedicated to a salon space in which Tarmey’s clients can unwind in two hyper-modern treatment rooms, while the upper levels are used mainly as her living area.
Tarmey, 40, is far too polite to go into detail about the state of the house when she moved in April (the previous occupants were a family of four who decided to relocate to Australia, renting their London pad to Tarmey while on their adventures), but she was determined to bring her own aesthetic to the space, which retains original features such as Victorian tiles in the hallway and restored parquet flooring.
Take the walls in the open-plan salon — painted in swirling shades of midnight blue and blush pink — which were a labour of love. ‘I didn’t want block paint and Carole Langton [the interior designer, and mother of socialite India Langton] put me off using wallpaper. I would have been hit with thousands and thousands of pounds if I had.’
Instead, Tarmey enlisted the services of a Newcastle-based artisan she discovered on Pinterest, who ‘spray-painted, smudged and rollered on the colours’ to create an effect that is truly original. ‘It’s really like a work of art,’ Tarmey says. On closer inspection it becomes apparent that wallpaper has also been used sparingly throughout the home (a monochrome Fornasetti design in the downstairs loo and contrasting hothouse floral paper from House of Hackney along the staircase).
The moody colours in the salon neatly offset Tarmey’s growing collection of antique brass (‘from Circus Antiques in Kensal Rise, they do brilliant art deco and mid-century modern style things’), Perspex shelving and tables, and a pair of French- style chandeliers.
‘I’m obsessed with lights. I wouldn’t say I collect them but I am always drawn to them. They become so important to me, to the point where I’m telling the electrician exactly how many bulbs to put in or asking the girls [who work with Tarmey] to constantly adjust them according to the time of day.’
Tarmey’s own light is in the ascendant. Having been born and brought up in Sheffield, she moved to London almost 10 years ago to open up her first treatment room, based in the (not-so-upscale) Shepherd’s Bush Fitness First (‘really, really tiny’). A small-but-steady client base soon won her the freedom to open her own beauty rooms, first based out of her home in Belsize Park and then later in Westbourne Grove, and work with brands such as Chanel and Heliocare.
Although Tarmey’s current client roster is strictly confidential, there’s a signed black and white photograph of Kate Moss, fag in hand and topless, reading simply ‘Teresa, you’re the best!!’ She has also been linked in the press to the likes of Sara MacDonald (wife of Noel Gallagher — ‘one of my favourite clients, a walking ambassador’), Naomie Harris and Poppy Delevingne.
The latter even flew her out to the Maldives for the opening of the swanky Finolhu resort, and for a week-long beach party that she co-hosted with sister Cara and aunt Melinda Stevens (the editor of British Condé Nast Traveller). ‘It was the best time of my life, I can honestly say that, and credit to them that everyone got on so well.’
She was so enchanted by the Maldives that she has taken up residence at a hotel there, though her more immediate focus is the launch of her own line of ‘At Home’ kits in November. Having suffered from chronic acne, she has always ‘wanted to create a kit people can use a home, just really simple easy steps that make a difference. I think that clients are now getting very educated through the likes of bloggers and social media, but I do think that there’s a lot of wrong information out there,’ she says.
It’s a passion project that has taken her around the world in search of the perfect ingredients for her infusions through to a bespoke TT roller which will come with each kit. All the travelling makes time spent at home now all the more precious — which is why her next big personal project will be the living areas that dominate the upper floors of the property. ‘The most important room for me in a home is the bedroom, but it’s the one I’ve left to the end.’