The American decorator Michael S. Smith describes the typical entrance hall of an English country house as a favourite room. 'I like the severity, the lack of ornament, the mood it creates,' he writes. 'An entrance hall should create a sense of arrival.' The hall in this London flat is just such a space. Furnished in baronial style with an early Victorian, leather covered sofa, two exquisite early 19th century pieces - a neo-classical style ecommode and an ebony and brass inlay bookcase - a Persian carpet, and with a tromp l'oeil stonework, the space is dominated by a dramatic painting, Samson's Youth, by Leon Bonnat. Predictably luxurious the hall may be, but Michael wittily juxtaposes classic with contemporary, by hanging a Pierre Soulages painting over the stairs at the far end. Two doors lead off the entrance hall into the main enfilade of rooms, from which floor to ceiling windows look down on to a leafy London square.