The owners share their five-storey London home with their two young daughters. While the property has undergone a thoroughly modern renovation, all memory of its Victorian history has not been dismissed entirely.
The couple commissioned an architect to carry out what they call a restrained intervention and the interior is now a vision of light-suffused modernity.
Dark parlours have been replaced by open-plan spaces, awkward half landings ironed out to create bedrooms with adjoining bathrooms and the basement has been extended to house a kitchen and dining area, utility room, pantry and cloakroom.
A mantelpiece garland adds a cosy festive touch to the living room at Christmas.
Co-ordinate open-plan areas with a single decorating scheme and a contrasting colour that will draw the eye from one space to the other. The owners have brought their monochrome living room and study to life with a fabulous electric blue on cushions in the foreground and armchairs beyond. Their combination of sofas in grey crushed velvet and cushions with monochrome ironwork motifs complements the curtains and black lighting and woodwork. They were keen to retain the original cornicing, while widening the opening between the two rooms. While we were charmed by the original details we knew that we wanted to open up the house to make it feel more spacious and comfortable.
Build in shelving from floor to ceiling for the feel of a traditional study. In this property, which has high ceilings, the owners have also installed a library-style ladder so that the top shelves are as easy to access as the lower ones. Built-in cupboards below provide additional hidden-away storage. The armchair is a perfect perch for comfortable browsing; the table a space to work. The owners prize functional design and time spent with their family. Artworks are used sparingly, while furniture is a mix of designer and high street. The colour scheme is cohesive throughout: grape purples, dove greys and putty, punctuated with bursts of turquoise, define the uncluttered spaces.
Where you can, furnish with more than one function in mind. The owners cosy family space can easily be opened up to create a large entertaining room. They have chosen a modular sofa and ottomans to occupy this area adjacent to the kitchen and both can easily be moved to provide extra space for the girls to play, before being rearranged so the owners can sit and relax or entertain friends.
Combine exposed brick, stainless steel and wood to bring an industrial edge to a smart kitchen. The owners have used an adroit design to bring their wonderfully lean kitchen to life. White surfaces contrast with walls made of mellow London stock brick, chosen for its sympathy with the propertys age.
Turn a wall into a feature. The owners have chosen gleaming travertine for this one, which glides from the kitchen out into the garden, providing a link between inside and out. But the wall is a practical feature too and has been designed to hide a cloakroom, pantry and utility room. This smart space is housed in a new extension at the back of the house and at Christmas it is where everyone converges for lunch with all the trimmings.
Pick a shade and run with it. The owners have transformed what was originally a gloomy study into a restful, minimally furnished main bedroom. They chose a smart purple for the walls and a dark wood finish for the floor and have balanced them by keeping coving, ceiling, architraves and skirting white. A glamorous light fitting and oversized buttoned headboard introduce a touch of opulence.
Create a haven for guests with a serene charcoal grey and white decorating scheme. In this property visitors can steal away to a self-contained eyrie at the top of the five-storey house where the pitched roof has been converted to a mansard for more generous ceiling heights.
Turn a space into a dressing room with carefully selected furniture. The couples global outlook is reflected in theirs, which was inspired by the glittering, Art-Deco allure of Claridges hotel in London. Formerly the main bedroom, this repurposed space is framed by banks of glossy wardrobes, mirrored surfaces and stunning veneers that enhance the 1930s look.
Make a virtue of architectural features and design storage that makes the most of every inch. In their guest bathroom the owners have installed bespoke mirrored cabinets with push-to-open doors that utilise all the available space in the eaves. Modern fittings and built-in pipework keep the look smart and streamlined.