James and Jo found a Victorian terraced townhouse with the perfect location. It was in Maida Vale, just a short way from where their two daughters went to school, on a picturesque, quiet and leafy street.
While the location ticked their boxes, the house itself left a lot to be desired. Prior renovations had lowered the ceiling heights to fit in spotlights, making the already cramped, cellular layout feel even more claustrophobic.
After a year trying to make the best of their new house, it became clear that – despite having a few renovations under their belt – the work required to turn it into their ideal family home was far beyond what they could achieve by themselves.
The brief which James and Jo presented to us was what so many families in London desire: more space and more light. However, Maida Vale’s strict Conservation Area constraints limited how much we would be able to extend the property.
But there’s much more to space than just floor area. Opening up smaller rooms into large, open plan spaces and removing unnecessary doorways creates the feeling of a larger house with an effortless, natural flow to its layout.
Bespoke joinery would squeeze every last millimetre out of nooks and crannies and unused voids, while a brighter colour palette through the interior design would further increase the sensation of openness by allowing light to fill the rooms.
The lower ground floor enjoyed the most dramatic transformation. A slight extension provides more square footage, but more importantly, allowed us to install a roof light and generous glazed doors that open onto the garden to flood the space with natural light.
This new open plan kitchen, living and dining space is separated from the playroom with sliding pocket doors which are invisible when open, creating an uninterrupted space all the way from the front of the house to the garden.
On the first floor, we stripped out the odd spiral configuration of rooms for a far more sensible layout which allows the dressing room and master bathroom to be accessed without having to walk through the master bedroom first.
The master bathroom is a highlight of the interior design, with soft pink polished plaster walls with brass accents on the taps, shower head, mirrors and cupboards. Carrara gold marble is put to astounding effect on the feature wall behind the bath and the single block which forms the double sink.
Two bedrooms for the children make up the second floor, one of which was previously an oppressively dark study with red walls and black ash shelves, now a bright and airy room with fitted wardrobes and white walls much more fitting for a girl to grow up in.
Up in the roof, a small dormer extension and five roof lights allowed us to turn the previously unused attic space into a bedroom with an en-suite – perfect for guests to enjoy privacy in a room as bright and comfortable as any other.