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The South London flat that's modelled on the Palace of Versailles

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Bermondsey isn't the most likely location for a treasure trove of Baroque antiques and 17th Century furnishings, but Caroline Haelterman's apartment is a rule unto itself.

The London-based jewellery designer has transformed her mezzanine flat into a mini Palace of Versailles, complete with a vaulted ceiling, enormous chandeliers and a wooden staircase fashioned out of part of a gypsy caravan.

While most of our efforts at interior design stretch to a last-minute run to Ikea, Haelterman has painstakingly worked to infuse her home with the drama and opulence of the 17th Century Baroque period.

The moment visitors step over the threshold of her apartment in Bermondsey's The Tabard Centre, they are transported to a different world where elaborate motifs and gilded edgings rule.

The mezzanine level of the flat is lined by intricately carved wooden balustrade and trompe l'oeil brickwork has been layered on the plastered walls.

The bedroom features a canopied four-poster bed, with luxurious, foliage-printed textiles, a hanging candle chandelier and an antique desk. The bathroom comes with gold brass embellishments and framed 17th Century portraits.

The pièce de résistance, however, is the living room - and in particular, its breathtaking triple-height vaulted ceiling. The apartment does come with mod cons but they are carefully disguised; the oven resides inside a marble table, the TV and stereo are hidden in an invisible cupboard and an antique walnut wardrobe is home to a computer and desk.

Take a look around, below:

ABOVE: Caroline Haelterman in her living room, featuring a dramatic triple-height vaulted ceiling

ABOVE: A lavish, foliage-motif sofa forms the centre piece of the opulent living area

ABOVE: The chandelier completes the effect of a lavish, Baroque period living space

ABOVE: A four-poster bed enhances the time travel effect in the apartment's bedroom

ABOVE: The kitchen features lots of marble and an oven hidden within a marble table

ABOVE: A series of 17th Century portraits line the bath

ABOVE: The Tabard Centre in Bermondsey, where the flat is based

Photos: Rex Features

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