Karen Hahnel’s St Leonards apartment is a stunning example of how to successfully employ proportion and scale. She has cleverly combined design classics with online finds to create an enviably stylish seaside home.

The striking drawing room features wonderfully large windows which span the full length from floor to ceiling

The striking drawing room features wonderfully large windows which span the full length from floor to ceiling

Boris the wild boar head is mounted on the wall above a French army folding table

Boris the wild boar head is mounted on the wall above a French army folding table

The sitting room has a wonderfully restrained palette of white and ecru, a perfect backdrop for Karen’s gorgeous cockerpoo, Mabel

The sitting room has a wonderfully restrained palette of white and ecru, a perfect backdrop for Karen’s gorgeous cockerpoo, Mabel

Karen has framed a postcard of a work by a Egon Schiele in an ornate frame on the mantelpiece

Karen has framed a postcard of a work by a Egon Schiele in an ornate frame on the mantelpiece

In the drawing room – it’s far too grand to be called anything else – on one end of the mantelpiece is a design classic, the Tizio desk lamp by Artemede

A collection of coral, feathers and candles is gathered together in a tray on top of a buttoned pouffe by George Smith

A collection of coral, feathers and candles is gathered together in a tray on top of a buttoned pouffe by George Smith

The wire angel is by French artist Marie Cristophe, bought on a trip to Paris. “She does a lot of work for the big fashion houses,” says Karen. “I saw the angel in a gallery and knew I had to have her in my home.”

The wire angel is by French artist Marie Cristophe, bought on a trip to Paris. “She does a lot of work for the big fashion houses,” says Karen. “I saw the angel in a gallery and knew I had to have her in my home.”

The beautiful bird cage on the sideboard in the drawing room was from Lille

The beautiful bird cage on the sideboard in the drawing room was from Lille

The free-standing kitchen is very cleverly arranged along one side of the long wide hall which spans the front to the back of the apartment

The free-standing kitchen is very cleverly arranged along one side of the long wide hall which spans the front to the back of the apartment

There’s even space for a stylish chrome washing machine and dishwasher in a little alcove by the bathroom

There’s even space for a stylish chrome washing machine and dishwasher in a little alcove by the bathroom

In keeping with the grand, rich feeling of the whole apartment, Karen’s cooking utensils and cutlery are kept in a collection of pressed glass jugs and vases

In keeping with the grand, rich feeling of the whole apartment, Karen’s cooking utensils and cutlery are kept in a collection of pressed glass jugs and vases

The long hallway is lined on one side with round mirrors of assorted sizes

The long hallway is lined on one side with round mirrors of assorted sizes

Karen’s flare for scale is evident in the master bedroom where an Old Master painting has been blown up to a magnificent size. The armchair was found on the online antiques site The Hoarde

Karen’s flare for scale is evident in the master bedroom where an Old Master painting has been blown up to a magnificent size. The armchair was found on the online antiques site The Hoarde

Walls and ceilings are all finished in Fired Earth’s Mercury, which wonderfully enhances the sense of flow between the rooms, bringing it all together and making the flat seem bigger at the same time

Walls and ceilings are all finished in Fired Earth’s Mercury, which wonderfully enhances the sense of flow between the rooms, bringing it all together and making the flat seem bigger at the same time

The master bed’s grey linen padded headboard is by Paola Navone

The master bed’s grey linen padded headboard is by Paola Navone

The huge armoire was a find from French Loft in Arundel

The huge armoire was a find from French Loft in Arundel

A beautiful twig-like metal floor lamp with a beaded shade acts as a bedside light

A beautiful twig-like metal floor lamp with a beaded shade acts as a bedside light

Featuring a deep contemporary oval bath with a central hand shower, star design floor tiles on the characteristic bold scale, plus a basin atop a black painted unit, the bathroom, while relatively small, packs just as much dramatic punch as the rest of the flat.

Featuring a deep contemporary oval bath with a central hand shower, star design floor tiles on the characteristic bold scale, plus a basin atop a black painted unit, the bathroom, while relatively small, packs just as much dramatic punch as the rest of the flat.

The wallpaper in the spare bedroom at the back of the flat features old books stacked in bookshelves. This room is richly accessorised with treasures from Karen’s trips to France, such as a gold mirror with a leaf surround

The wallpaper in the spare bedroom at the back of the flat features old books stacked in bookshelves. This room is richly accessorised with treasures from Karen’s trips to France, such as a gold mirror with a leaf surround

This juxtaposition of elite brands and clever finds is found all over the flat

The juxtaposition of elite brands and clever finds is found all over the flat

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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