When this 1830s stucco-fronted London home in need of renovation came onto the market, the owners were undeterred by the restrictions that come with changing a Grade II-listed building, and set about to carefully update this beautiful historic home.
The owners' approach to the restoration process has been one of "letting the architecture breathe". The late Regency proportions of the four-storey house ensured it already exuded grandeur from top to toe. It is full of those quintessentially English traits that many of us desire in a home: high ceilings, large windows and the most beautiful cornicing. Here, the understated elegance of the entrance hall allows an antique mirror to take centre stage.
Similar mirror, Dean Antiques
Realising they would spend the majority of their time socialising and eating with friends, the owners moved the kitchen from the basement to the ground floor,and have never regretted the move; "We spend eighty per cent of our time here," they say. It is now the perfect open-plan space, current while managing to retain its timeless charm. A chic chandelier adds a touch of glamour and helps the room feel more like a living space, and American Black walnut creates a dramatic feel.
A former study adjoining the kitchen at the front of the ground floor was transformed into a relaxed living room, in which the furnishing was kept deliberately simple in order to let the architecture shine through. "We wanted a design that suited our lifestyles but also that sat comfortably with the house. The previous owners lived in an upstairs-downstairs way, but we wanted to create a hands-on, family space within the ground-floor hub of the house."
Another former study at the opposite end of the new the kitchen-dining area has been transformed into a breakfast room overlooking the garden. American Black walnut has been used to visually link this room with the adjoining kitchen, while the bespoke storage with mirrored panels help to make the compact room feel larger.
Similar bespoke storage unit, Mowlem & Co
A low-hung bespoke chandelier provides a focal point in the dining room while also creating intimate evening lighting. Situated in the basement, "We open up this room on high days and holidays," say the owners. "We made it neutral so we could dress it up, add in colour and have some fun."
Similar dining table and chairs, Helen Green Design
A restrained palette of pale colours together with a wide range of materials including marble, wood and mirror is used throughout the house. "I think it's essential to start with neutrals and then layer, bringing in pattern. Accessorising makes such an impact; even just adding some books changes the space completely." The rich taupe-painted walls provide a stylish backdrop for elegant furniture, while full-length windows flood the room with light.
To the back of the first-floor sitting room lies a simply-laid out study which is used both as a place to work from home and somewhere to entertain guests before dinner. It is just one of several bright, comfortable spaces around the house that retain original features such as stone fireplaces which the owners have complimented with more modern items such as the contemporary artwork.
Hard surface materials are teamed with soft but rich and sumptuous accessories and soft furnishings, such as the deep-pile silk carpet in the main bedroom and floor-length curtains. Fabric is not reserved just for dressing the windows and upholstering furniture; a honey-coloured silk covers the wardrobe doors in the bedroom, making the space feel comfortably cosy while also helping to absorb sound and dull noise from the nearby busy road. "It's all very luxurious and spoiling, it's how a bedroom should be."
The choice of materials is luxurious throughout the house, but each is used with real thought. Mirrored glass and white Thasos marble create an energising space, while the framed antique prints add a note of glamour to the white bathroom. "It's the perfect place to start the day," says the owner.
Similar flooring, The Limestone Gallery
Pale limestone has been used to line the floor of the small garden helping to make it feel more open and spacious, while a water feature adds interest to this sophisticated space. "It feels like a Mediterranean courtyard."
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