Owner’s Story: The Music Room
Oliver Darley has sung with the likes of Ray Charles, Tom Jones and Joan Armatrading. He’s now flexing his singing muscles in a Studio Apex turned garden music studio ahead of his appearance at Hampstead Jazz Club.
Oliver, his partner Charlotte and their daughter live in Surrey. The couple work from home; Charlotte pens novels filled with psychological suspense about parenting, motherhood and the challenges faced by families today.
Charlotte’s debut novel, The Rival, hit the bookshelves in 2018, quickly followed by her second novel Unfollow Me that hit the bookshelves in the summer. Now Charlotte is busy working on her third book, The Perfect Father, it’s essential Oliver has a place to rehearse out of earshot of the home office.
Oliver chose an ex-display Studio Apex from our Staffordshire showsite, after spotting it online. He’d initially wanted a garden building with a pent roof but decided to go for the apex design as it complemented the distinctive style of their 1970s townhouse. The exterior shiplap painted in ‘Smoke’ echoes the mid-century weatherboarding of their home perfectly.
The Music Room was installed at the end of May 2019 and Oliver spends about three hours a day rehearsing in it. It’s a far cry from the practice room under the railway arches he used to have to commute to… so much more convenient too!
Inside, the room is styled simply but beautifully, with a tan leather chair, footstool, mid-century desk and bookcase; there’s ample room to house all Oliver’s vinyl and musical equipment.
The interior is painted in ‘Brilliant White’, with the external shade of ‘Smoke’ highlighting the window frames and the beam across the centre of the ceiling – making key features of the wooden building’s architecture.
A mixture of textures – wood, leather and sheepskin – help to soften the edges of this Scandi-chic space, adding warmth and depth to the colour palette.
The sun streams past the Japanese Maple trees, through the floor-to-ceiling windows to create a beautiful dappled light effect on the ash wood-look floor. Standing under one of the tallest trees we think we’ve ever seen, The Music Room stands quietly strong at the bottom of the long garden.
To help with the acoustics and soundproofing, Oliver invested in additional insulation for his garden room. The double glazing also helps to keep out noise from outside and allows Oliver to belt out soulful tracks to his heart’s content.
When the double doors are thrown open, the gentle strumming of the guitar strings float up the garden towards the back of the house, where outdoor seating invites guests to sit and enjoy the view, and the show!
On first meeting, Oliver’s humble demeanour conceals his huge success so far. His career began in the West End. He trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and went on to perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also appeared in the original cast of Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel’s musical, “The Woman in White” directed by the illustrious Trevor Nunn.
Oliver has been named NME Male Vocalist of the Year, signed to two major record labels, released four albums to date and sung with some of the world’s bestselling artists. His debut album as a singer was produced by Arif Mardin in 2002.
The Evening Standard described Oliver as possessing “a voice that curls your toes, vibrates in your spine and causes your mouth to drop open”.
Oliver has performed sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with “Simply Bowie”, bringing to life the music of the ground-breaking artist with his own inimitable style. This year, Oliver also brought brand new show “Simply George” to the Fringe, reinterpreting the hits of the late, great George Michael in collaboration with jazz pianist Chad Lelong.