LLI Design recently completed a total redesign and refurbishment of a 7-story townhouse in Highgate, a leafy and desirable part of London. The project won an award in the Interior Design, London category of the United Kingdom Property Awards.
The owners wanted to create a new environment; they liked the idea of having a contemporary house and agreed that the house lent itself to this, however they were concerned that contemporary design could be cold and impersonal. The brief was to create a contemporary family home, not in a stark clinical sense, but rather, colorful and practical. The key to the overall success of the design was to re-think the dynamics of all the spaces and change the existing layouts to provide a design and flow which responded to their brief. The family had a large collection of vintage travel posters that they wished to display prominently around the house.
The house is very vertical, comprising of 7 floors, with each room being effectively on a half landing; with a central core staircase connecting them. Overall the rooms seemed disconnected from each other without flow or relationship between them. The staircase and hallways were poorly lit and had a gloomy feel.
The design revolved around redefining the General Arrangements. The studio brought light into the staircase, by adding extra skylights on the top floor and also adding a floor-to-ceiling window on the third floor half landing.
It would have been logistically complex to replace the existing staircase, so the studio stripped back the existing structure, re-clad it in a greyed oak and re-designed spindles, banister rail and newel posts, to be in keeping with the new warm contemporary aesthetic.
The Ground floor configuration was maintained, however the office was redesigned to double as a guest room and as a study. All home office paraphernalia, such as printers and filing was contained within a bespoke joinery cupboard. The otherwise redundant understair space was redesigned to accommodate a bespoke joinery shoe storage unit.
The existing kitchen was located on the second floor which was impractical as the heart of the home. The kitchen was relocated to the first floor at rear of the property which had existing access to the terrace and garden by way of 2 pairs of french doors in a masonry wall. The designers removed the wall and the french doors and increased the opening to 4 metres. Full height sliding doors set in varnished hardwood frames were installed to create a light and airy kitchen with a great views and direct access to the terrace and garden.
The second floor where the kitchen was originally located was reconfigured with a larger landing at the top of the stairs, a very generous sized utility room, a gym and a family TV room.
The utility room featured bespoke joinery units to accommodate an airing cupboard, washing machine and dryer; which were installed at waist height with washing baskets under so there was no need to bend down to change over the washing. The high level utility room joinery units where white matt lacquer and the low level units were midnight blue with a white composite worktop. These clean lines were set against a feature wall of Cole & Son Fornasetti "Clouds" wallpaper.
The TV Room featured a bespoke illuminated TV wall cabinet with numerous cupboards and alcoves for displaying items and accessories.
On the third floor, the studio created a welcoming, calming, formal living room. They removed the existing french windows and juliette balcony over the terrace below and replaced them with floor to ceiling casement windows set in varnished hardwood frames.
On the fourth floor, bedrooms 2 and 3 and accompanying ensuite bathrooms were redesigned as spaces personal to the family's children. In bedroom 2, the studio designed a fun mid-height bed unit with storage shelves to be used as steps up to the bed and a den underneath with sliding doors.
Bedroom was 3 designed to provide a "cool" space - with a secret space to chat / hang out with friends.
The existing master suite on the fifth floor comprised an over sized bedroom, a small ensuite bathroom and a small dressing room. The designers reconfigured this to become a smaller but better proportioned bedroom, a luxurious bathroom suite and designed an extended bespoke dressing room.
On the sixth floor, bedroom 4 was redesigned to create an exciting environment with a bespoke bed which incorporated illuminated display alcoves.