Key Information

  • Date: 2017
  • Client: Private
  • Location: Royal Borough Kensington and Chelsea
  • Budget: £30,000
  • Floors: Raised Ground
  • Height: 3.3m
  • Total GIA (m²): 38

Overview

Innovative modernisation of a compact Victorian apartment.

The 32sqm apartment is on the raised ground floor of a mid-terraced house that was divided into separate apartments many years ago. The apartment was tired and in need of updating; the layout did not maximise the compact plan or the generous 3.3m ceiling height. The objective was to maintain the double bedroom, bathroom and kitchen/living room layout, but to also add a sleeping mezzanine for guests, providing space for storage where possible.

The design concept defines the old and new. All the old perimeter walls and skirting are refurbished and painted a light, warm grey whilst all new walls are flush and painted white. The ceilings, decorative cornice and fine window woodwork is refurbished and painted matt white. A new light-toned engineered timber floor runs throughout unifying all the rooms.

 

The principle space is the living / dining room that faces south across Bonchurch Road, filling the space with light and creating a long view that, in the spring, is lined with beautiful blossoming cherry trees. The almost cubic volume of the living space is amplified with a large wall mirror and reflective chrome pendant light designed by Tom Dixon. 

The kitchen is designed to be a low slung floating sculpture so all appliances including the dishwasher, fridge and oven are concealed, while refuse and recycling as well as pan and utensil storage is pull-out. The appearance is of a matt anthracite volume with a monolithic Carrera marble top 5m long. The marble edge and cupboard doors have a fine tapered edge profile. The minimal polished brass pillar tap is presented as an object on the smooth marble surface. The task lighting is given by a playful neon ‘FORZA’ that brings energy to the start of every day!

There is a tall, shallow dry food storage cupboard with flush doors that is visually part of the wall. Glass and china storage is visible on a Vitsoe wall system. The original Carrera marble fireplace is retained and paired with the new kitchen surface.

 

A full height 3.3m slot doorway from the living room and the matching full height bedroom door gives a generous dimension to the tiny hall, where the timber floor folds in to a compact stair ladder leading to the guest bed mezzanine. The mezzanine is glazed and therefore acoustically separated, but enjoys both light from the main bedroom window and a glimpse view into the hall below. 

The bathroom is a simple enclosed space with white fittings and tiled walls. Above it is a large storage area for suitcases and skis, as well as the fuse board and boiler.

The main bedroom is under the mezzanine resulting in a reduced ceiling height, making it cosy for sleeping. There is a walk in wardrobe with clothes rails, drawers and shelves, again from the Vitsoe wall storage system, again utilising the 3.3m ceiling for storage at high level.

 

The project took six weeks to complete on site, with the final result being an apartment that allows the historic Victorian features to unite with the contemporary interventions. Although compact in nature, the services are efficiently placed, the additional mezzanine utilises the tall ceiling height to create more intimate sleeping spaces and the scale of the living spaces remains generous.

Consultant Team

  • Main Contractor: FCM
  • Project Manager: HCL
  • Photography: Dennis Gilbert