A space-busting, light-amplifying London renovation
The new iteration of this Victorian family home is sophisticated and cool, not to mention spacious.
For a South African and her American husband living in London, generosity of space and connected indoor outdoor living were two areas their otherwise perfect period home lacked. But renovating isn’t that simple in England – space is at a premium, there’s heritage to deal with and strict building regulations prohibit you from simply popping out or up.
As it turns out, the latter was exactly what they planned on doing. After a request to alter their roof (to maximise on loft space) was denied, they enlisted the help of The Vawdrey House, an award-winning architecture and interior design firm with a stable of cool projects dotted across the London map.
Careful to preserve its original architectural features, the architects focused their efforts on the removal of their central staircase, the extension of the house to the rear and the loft conversion, collectively gaining an extra 120 square meters. The new interior is sophisticated and cool in its aesthetic with slick, consolidated finishes on the floors and walls and an armoury of clever space-saving, mess-concealing storage solutions.
We take a closer look at the areas of transformation.
THE GROUND FLOOR EXTENSION
Breaking through the rear of the house, the new façade has been clearly defined using grey engineering bricks, differentiating itself from the London Stock brick on the rest of the home. This section of the home now encompasses the large open plan living area and kitchen which are stepped down to eke out more head height. Ceiling-height steel glazing fills this area with natural light which is further boosted by large roof lights overhead. As a result, the original period section of the home (the entrance, office and dining area) all benefit.
To the front of the kitchen, a picture window is encased in a Corten steel frame, punctuating the view onto the garden. With streamlined cabinetry hugging the walls and a central steel-clad island, the kitchen dials down visual noise but maximises on hidden storage by way of black and oak floor to ceiling cabinets and a sliding screen of reed glass which subtly diffuses more storage behind.
THE LOFT CONVERSION
A large mansard roof was approved by council and installed to make good use of the loft but still retain the allowed pitch height. By stealing a little height from the first-floor bathroom and dressing room and adding new head height with the flat mansard roof above they’ve gained a new upper floor with two further bedrooms and a bathroom, as well as some impressive views and plenty of natural light gained by way of a new roof light in the ceiling.
The original straight staircase leading to the first floor stole valuable width from the entrance. By removing the stairs entirely and pushing them over to the side of the house, the architects have obtained wide views that greet you at the front door and sweep right across to the back garden. They’ve also created a feature out of the new triple-height, centrally lit stairwell. Paneled the entire way up and painted in a shade of charcoal with a set of pendant lights hanging from the very top, this new design is a dramatic feature and has also created room for the cleverly concealed utility room, cloakroom, laundry chute and family bathroom.
The Vawdrey House selected a host of swish finishes to create a calm but elegant backdrop to the home. Polished concrete differentiates the new extension from the old and provides a hardwearing, contemporary surface for cooking, dining and lounging. The original rooms are set apart by parquet floors and an accent wall of raw brick connecting the office and dining area. The latter brings a dose of character and irreplaceable history to the interior. Molded wall paneling adds drama while touches of marble, brass and oak bring elegance and warmth to the home. The family’s colour palette is a clean and slick combo of charcoal and white with splashes of dirty pink that brighten the scene.