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Saturday 1 October 2016

Grand Apartment Budapest

I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure how to position this article on Design Trawler's recent visit to Budapest. I decided to check in to the curiously named Helen & Frank apartment in an ornate mansion block overlooking the 19th Century theatre of comedy; in search of a whimsically cluttered stage-set in which to draw parallels against Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel; which took home the Oscar for best production design in this year's awards.

What I found however was far richer than any staged theatre set. The apartment is filled with the collections of Dr Frank and Helen Ternovszky; avid adventurers and collectors who moved from the Hungarian capital to LA in the golden age of Sintata, where a transatlantic Lufthansa flight was something worth photographing. Indeed, the apartment is peppered with photographs of Frank and Helen's jet setter life; playing lawn tennis at the country club, sailing with friends, trips to the great pyramids, black tie galas and skiing in glamorous resorts. It's all very Slim Aarons, and the Budapest home which they kept is a museum of their global travels and life well lived.

Now run as an AirBNB apartment, the four bedroom pile has been skillfully designed by the descendants of Uncle Frank; mixing elements of contemporary rustic like the distressed plasterwork walls in the masculine blue bedroom, with bohemian flair in the fabric walled front bedroom with canopied bed and curiosities from the Ternovszky's travels. High ceilings in the master salon showcase an eclectic mix of art woks, ornaments and sculpture that have been skillfully curated down from the many hundreds found by the family. Drawers are filled with old chequebooks from the LA branch of Charles Schwab, and I wouldn't be surprised if hidden in between the leaves of the vintage volumes of Newsweek were more airline tickets and invitation to white tie galas.


Was it strange staying in a place with such a personal like to life story of others? Not at all. Imagine being able to stay in the home of Frank and Nancy Sinatra; the objects and collections on display, the photographs and history in the walls. In many ways, Frank and Helen were the original Design Trawlers; Design Heroes. When Frank wasn' having bronze statues made of himself [my life is now incomplete until I have a bust of myself in the library], he was buying up Murano glass and Persian carpets for his Hungarian pad. Hat's off to them - and if the Ternovszky headgear collection was anything like the couples footwear collection [they amassed over 1,000 pairs of shoes between them] Design Trawler will be saluting this remarkable apartment, and couple for a long time to come!

Book the clean and eminently comfortable apartment here.

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