Your house may be in an envy-inducing location, have great curb-appeal and immaculately designed interiors. But for its final touches, why not add a lovely and inviting scent?
More than ever, luxury home owners and sellers are asking perfumers to create bespoke room fragrances.
The cult perfume brand Le Labo’s top-selling product, after its Santal 33 perfume, is its Santal 26 glass candle, spotted burning in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album video. The brand also was tasked with creating a bespoke scent for Ian Schrager’s latest Miami Edition hotel, now available to buy in the hotel gift shop.
Interior designers are taking note: “My ultimate vision is for clients to know they have stepped into an Elicyon home, by the smell or range of smells that greet them,” said Charu Gandhi, founder and director of Elicyon, the luxury design studio based in Chelsea, London. Its projects include an apartment in one of London’s most expensive addresses, One Hyde Park, and homes in Los Angeles, New York and Dubai. Gandhi believes that olfactory memory is a strong aspect of how spaces are experienced and enjoyed.
“Scenting one’s home is a long-standing tradition, going back several thousand years,” she said. What’s newer, though is using creative approaches to find the perfect scent and transform an environment.
Exotic Smells Are Back
Customers are moving on from wanting fragrance that smells fresh and clean and opting for more sultry scents. Patchouli is starting to have a comeback, not the old 1960s incense, but a sophisticated exotic note, according to London-based Alexandra Soveral, who’s been creating bespoke perfume for the last 20 years.
Clients also want more daring and vibrant notes such as basil, cardamon, fennel and coriander seeds. “I’m very happy the fig trend is now over,” she added, “I found it nauseating as it was all synthetic and of course I could not recreate in a natural form.”
An Evolved ‘Art Form’
“More recently and until some years ago, home scent was associated with potpourri and synthetic smells,” Ms. Gandhi said. “Home fragrance is now as evolved an art form as perfume.”
Ms. Soveral says she’s had increasingly more requests for home perfume, including from property developers. Her bespoke scent service starts with a consultation that takes around two hours, during which time she chats to clients about the things they like and dislike and asks them to smell various things. “I start building a perfume story and more often than not, manage to get a rough sample made for the client to take home at the end of the consultation,” she said. “Once the bespoke formula’s been created, eau de parfum, candles and guest soaps are next.”
Matching the Scents to the Surroundings
Soveral’s objective, she says, is to make a property come alive and forge an identity of its own that is inviting, comforting and promotes a feeling of safety.
“I often bring the surrounding nature indoors in the way of fabric sprays that double up as deodorizers, diffusers, ambient candles, room sprays and the all-important organic toiletries,” she said.
In one project, the Buxmead apartments in London’s smart Bishops Avenue, she had the cinema area smell of old leather with a hint of tobacco; the bar and lounge had a sophisticated sultry note of vetiver; while the spa areas were all about fresh soapy and alpine notes.
By contrast she worked on an exclusive yoga retreat and created scents to complement the surrounding nature but that could not actually be found in it. “I wanted to bring another element into play that promoted a sense of physical and mental wellbeing,” she explained.
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To get started, Ms. Soveral recommends sticking to what she would call “crowd pleasers,” that are inoffensive to guests and soft on the nose: citrus and herbs: geranium, basil, lime, lemon, mandarin, eucalyptus and lavender. Be careful not to over do it, however.
“Many hotels and retail spaces are now over-scented,” she said. “I find this an imposition, when you do not have any choice but to breathe in whatever they are diffusing.”
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