The project involved the refurbishment of a Victorian house in the St John’s Wood Conservation Area to suit the needs of a young family. We sensitively extended into the rear garden to create a light-filled playroom at ground level with a moody bar and cinema room in the basement. This involved reorganising the existing plan of the three-storey home to achieve open-plan living. We collaborated with interior designers, Turner Pollock, to add a colourful and modern flair across the home.
Repositioning the staircase to one side of the house was key to unlocking a contemporary, open-planned layout across the ground floor. An oak staircase with an elegant steel balustrade now nestles between the study and kitchen. Creating a natural divide between work and home life without interrupting the flow of the space.
"The clients wanted a more contemporary and open-planned interior. We realised early on that the position of the existing staircase, meant we could not achieve a successful open-plan,” says partner Richard Solomon. “Changing the position of the existing staircase allowed us to create an entrance to an open-plan ground floor.”
The oak treads of the staircase blend seamlessly with the floorboards of the living area, heightening the sense of continuity between spaces. The removal of internal walls means natural light floods the combined lounge, kitchen and dining room from all aspects.
Crittall-style glazing can be drawn across to separate the play area from the main room while maintaining a watchful eye over the children. A flight of stairs flanked by planters steps down from the playroom into a garden that has been re-landscaped to create three distinct zones. A secluded patio is used by the family for outdoor dining, while a lawn extends towards the front of the house and car parking is kept to the rear.
Upstairs a master suite and two children’s bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms have been more traditionally decorated with richly patterned wallpapers, wainscotting and woodwork. A bespoke bunk bed with integrated storage ensures two children can comfortably cohabit. Two further bedrooms in the naturally lit basement gives the opportunity for the family to grow into the space and host guests.
What was the brief?
We were approached by the new owners of a jaded Victorian home in North West London. The couple, who have three small children, wanted a brighter, open-planned living space that would suit the needs of their family now and in the future.
What were the key challenges?
The existing staircase rose through the centre of the house, scuppering plans to create a free-flowing living space. Fundamental to the design was rerouting the stairs to the side of the property.
What were the solutions?
Working within the St. John’s Wood Conservation Area, we needed to preserve the character of the detached Victorian house while giving the family the modern living spaces they desired. Tucked to the rear of the property and slightly sunken below the floor of the main living space, the extension is sympathetic to the aesthetic and proportions of the original home. We also carefully replaced and matched glazing throughout the house to maintain the appearance of period-appropriate sash windows, while improving insulation.
One of the clients occasionally works from home and so the space also needed to facilitate a balance between home and work life. The extension provides valuable space for the children to play slightly separately to the open-planned space, while a study with a door is isolated at the front of the house.