Explore this architect-designed Victorian home packed with clever ideas

This home is a masterclass in using space while retaining a calm and collected feel
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  • When architect Tom Rutt of TR Studio was contacted about modernising this Chelsea Victorian terrace, he knew the space had great promise. The now perfectly designed West London pad had a brief to follow, and it would take some work to get it there.

    ‘The owners had been living in New York for eight years and also had a small lake house on Shelter Island in the Hamptons,’ says Tom. ‘Since the family loved the thick forest and sandy beaches in the Hamptons, we were tasked with bringing that calm essence back to London.’ 

    The house

    Exterior of five storey Victorian terrace house

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    The brief was to modernise the house and extend the lower and upper ground levels. This was with the aim to create a more open and functional kitchen/dining space with a better connection to the garden.

    The five-storey terrace had great ‘bones’ and generous space. That said, it had been altered over the years resulting in a hybrid of disjointed spaces. With a few, strategic structural changes, Tom knew that the space could be transformed. 

    The project

    Kitchen with marble splashback, linear light and wooden bowl on island

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    ‘Every element was a joy to work on,’ says Tom. ‘In particular, we loved seeing the new kitchen extension ideas come to life. Only a couple of walls were removed but it’s become a really light and airy space and is the new heart of the home.’

    ‘The double height space in the main stairwell with its curved wall creates a moody and atmospheric space. This is helped by the textured clay walls and lighting, Interior designers Riley Brooks Studio and contractor Q Projects were invaluable in the project’s success.’

    Family room with grey L-shaped sofa and wall lights

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    ‘Due to the levels of the existing floors in the main house and side return, it was challenging to provide staircase ideas that helped the flow of the house. The staircase also had to be compliant with building regulations and also looked like it had been there from the outset,’ says Tom about the challenges he and the rest of the team at TR Studio faced with this project.

    ‘We took out the existing staircase structure,’ recalls Tom. ‘And we carefully designed the half landings so they were more comfortable.’

    The living room

    Living room with painting on clay plaster walls, cream sofa and window seat

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    ‘Ultimately it’s all about the living spaces spread across the two lower floors,’ says Tom. ‘This is the heart of the house where the kitchen takes centre stage and you feel connected to the garden.’

    A tonal palette of chalky earthy hues works well with the living room ideas. ‘It was about creating a refuge,’ says Tom.’ Balancing being in an urban environment with the need for calm, and a softness that is often lacking in London interiors.’

    A specialist clay wall covering has been applied to bring a relaxed holiday feel to the property. ‘Textured clay walls in all key rooms alongside the main stairwell help connect the spaces vertically,’ notes Tom.

    The snug

    Snug room with clay plaster walls and open modern fireplace

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    ‘We used many different textures and some finely crafted details in this house,’ says Tom. ‘Not in an old-fashioned stuffy Chelsea way but in a very clean, modern way. with a calming tonality as opposed to strong pattern.’

    A stunning mesh sculpture complements the simplicity of the new living room fireplace ideas which include built-in cabinetry below. A subtle Japanese-style rice paper lantern works well against the textured wall.

    That sense of tranquillity in the Hamptons was brought in through earthy, warm, and light colours. 

    The kitchen

    Modern kitchen with marble and wood island with bar stools and in built sink

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    ‘We used cross-sawn oak veneer on most of the joinery, with touches of satin brass and fluted timber joinery pieces,’ says Tom.

    Crafted from cross sawn oak veneer, Mont Blanc marble and touches of satin brass, the bespoke kitchen ideas evoke understated luxury.  Mont Blanc honed marble teamed with simple handless cabinetry creates a sleek and stylish kitchen. 

    The kitchen-diner

    Kitchen diner with wooden built in furniture, grey daybed and open shelving

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    Pared back floating shelves are cut into an inset niche in the wall. These also complement the warm oak of the bespoke bench seat and dining table.

    At the core of our process is natural light, proportion and flow. But also the interiors should have texture, contrast and depth so there are different dimensions or layers to a space,’ says Tom.

    The bar area

    Wooden built-in bar area with wine fridge and sink underneath staircase

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    This bespoke cocktail bar on the lower ground floor is perfect for entertaining guests. Plus it utilises space perfectly by being cleverly nestled into an alcove under the stairwell.

    The bedroom

    Bedroom with white headboard and white fabric behind bed

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    Playing around with clever bedroom ideas, Tom gave the sleep space a cocoon-like feel. This was achieved by hanging a linen curtain along an angled pole to create a canopy effect.

    The bathroom

    Bathroom with white bath, brass fittings and marble sink

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    Natural stone adds warmth and depth in both the kitchen and this main en suite. Echoing the design details of lower floors, cross sawn oak timber cabinetry, brass fittings and volakas marble create relaxed but undeniably chic bathroom ideas

    The dressing area

    Hallway with wooden wardrobes and glass Crittall door

    Image credit: TR Studio/Kalina Krawczyk

    Even the dressing area of this perfectly designed West London pad is inspiring. A walk through dressing area with elegant slatted wood wardrobes leads to the master en suite. The Crittall-style glazed door has been crafted from a variety of textured panels.

    Additional words by Karen Wilson

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