Inside Egyptian-Lebanese Jewellery Designer Sabine Getty's Colourful Mayfair Apartment

BY Rebecca Anne Proctor / Sep 29 2019 / 15:49 PM

The London apartment of Sabine and Joseph Getty, the former residence of Sir Paul Getty, is an explosion of culture and colour

Inside Egyptian-Lebanese Jewellery Designer Sabine Getty's Colourful Mayfair Apartment
Photography by John Rowley, Styling by Chloe Waller, Make-up by Hannah Brooke
Sabine with the ‘Plaza’ vanity by Michael Graves - an amazing Memphis original sourced from Milan.Sabine wears: Dress, Dhs8,554, The Vampire’s Wife at Net-a-Porter.Earrings, Dhs1,445, Balenciaga

Even on London’s darker days, stepping inside Sabine Getty’s Mayfair apartment offers bursts of colour akin to rays of sunshine. The Egyptian-Lebanese jewellery designer, 34, wears slim-fit jeans that hug her slender figure perfectly topped off with her short bob of blonde-almost-white hair and a simple white blouse - in stark contrast to the waves of yellow, orange and red hues that light up the four-bedroom home that she shares with her husband, Joseph Getty, a financier, the great-grandson of oil tycoon John Paul Getty. “How I dress is so radically different from the way I design my house,” she laughs. “I feel more empowered, more feminine, sexy and more myself when I am wearing simple attire: jeans, a white shirt and a black jacket.”

A passion for design and fashion runs in Sabine’s blood. Her mother, interior designer Karine Ratl, luckily held on to much of her Memphis Milano furniture - found today throughout Sabine’s London home. The Memphis Group, an Italian design and architecture movement founded by Ettore Sottsass in 1980, was synonymous with brightly coloured geometric objects. Its spirit lights up the Getty’s home with edgy glamorous and happy bright hues.

Accoutrements curated from around the world

Sabine was born in Switzerland and grew up between Switzerland, Lebanon and the south of France. “When you grow up in very different worlds you can appreciate different styles of beauty,” she says. “I love a bit of everything: the Boho, minimalism, the Memphis era, the Mid-Century and the moderns.” In 2012 she graduated from the Gemological Institute of America and soon after launched her eponymous line catering to a host of A-list clients, including Rihanna, Celine Dion and Kaia Gerber. At once playful, glamorous and edgy, her designs reflect the same vibrant spirit that can be found in her home.

“If you look at my jewellery it is also very Memphis and has a lot of these colourful and fun shapes just like my house,” she says. “There are so many different time periods and influences like my jewellery, including the Italian Renaissance, Art Deco and Medieval period.” The couple even have a Renaissance painting at home, providing a sense of history to its otherwise late 20th-century references. “My home, like my jewellery, has a mix of many different styles and time periods, but interpreted in my way,” she adds.

An interior view of Sabine Getty’s colourful London apartment

Sabine and Joseph moved into the home after the birth of their first child Gene Honor. “The house had great foundations to begin with - these amazing wooden doors and a parquet floor,” says Sabine. “It didn’t really need much; it just needed us to make it our own.” Both Sabine and Joseph love colour. “We come from such different various cultures: He’s Irish, Italian and American and I am Lebanese, Egyptian and Swiss-born. If you mix all of that up there are so many inspirations and so many things that we are drawn to.”

The couple love all things Moroccan. After a trip to Marrakech they returned with several specially crafted items. They decorated over time, collecting a few items here and there and combining them with already existing family heirlooms, like the Memphis collection of furniture. “What I like about the Memphis [style] is that it reminds me of a movie set,” says Sabine. “It has something about it that is quite theatrical and humorous. The pieces make me feel like I am in a movie; they are so Hollywood Regency style.”

The buffet table by Paul Evans is home to the couple’s ever-evolving art collection

Sabine’s collection of Memphis objects include those she grew up with and others she bought later. “I started spreading them around the house to make it a happy place,” she smiles. “The [Memphis pieces] lift the whole house up - they have so much spirit.” Items include her childhood desk, a Memphis ‘Palace’ chair, designed by George Sowden in 1983; Memphis ‘Kristall’ and ‘Flamingo’ side tables designed by Michele De Lucchi in 1981 and 1984 that once flanked her bed; a ‘Tahiti’ duck lamp, designed by Ettore Sottsass in 1981 covered in children’s stickers.

Sabine and Joseph are not afraid of clashing colours, but orange is the reigning hue. “We have a huge black velvet sofa and there are touches of yellow everywhere because I love yellow - it is my favourite colour, but you don’t want to overdo it. That would be a crime.” There’s a touch of red in the lamps with an orange base and then that same orange will be carried into the next room and found in a sofa or design object.

Sabine with her daughter Gene. She wears: Jacket, Dhs15,208; trousers, Dhs3,765, both Gabriela Hearst

“When you have a lot of colour it really blends in and becomes really pleasing to the eye,” she explains. There’s what Sabine calls the “Burger Sofa” due to its bold colours. She had it made and when it was finished Joseph said, “You made a burger! It is ketchup and the hamburger!” she laughs, remembering. The couple also had fun with the carpets inspired by different drawings and paintings that the couple loves. Curtains are by John Stefanidis and they can be found throughout the home.  “You can break your head over finding the right curtains and I always went back to his [Stefanidis] designs rich in colour and numerous prints,” she says.

Yes, Sabine’s home is in many ways a design masterpiece but it is ultimately about creating a place of personalised comfort. “A home is meant to be for everyone - it is not just an aesthetic object for play,” says Sabine. “I think it is very inspiring for children to grow up in a place with lots of colour.” She looks at her two-year-old daughter, Gene. Another child is soon on its way. “I grew up with colour and I want Gene to have the same experience. I am teaching her the name of each colour so that she knows the difference between fuscia and pink.” Colour aside, for Sabine it’s also about the energy of the objects. “All the objects have their own history - you can feel it.”

From the Fall 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar Interiors