An ex-local authority one-bedroom ground floor flat in a large 1930s brick-built block in North London.
The owner, an arts professional who travels a lot for work, approached award-winning Architecture firm, Russian For Fish to create a hardwearing modern home that she could enjoy herself yet was also suitable for hosting on Air B&B when she is away.
As an arts professional, the owner had a clear idea of the aesthetic she wanted – clean and pared-back, but full of rustic texture – so, seeing her own sense of style reflected in the Russian For Fish Instagram feed, she approached the practice with her brief: design, configure, decorate and furnish a flat with the character of a personal home; and is robust and hard-wearing enough to sustain multiple occupants over the course of a year.
Although structural changes were minimal, to combat the flat’s constricted feel, Russian For Fish created a sense of space and flow by opening up the kitchen and living room, and reconfiguring the kitchen to make more intelligent use of the space available.
The use of IKEA carcasses and cabinet doors minimises expenditure, but hacked with selected handles and pulls in black gives the scheme a striking individual look.
What was a rickety timber door between the kitchen and the outside has been replaced by a striking Crittall-style door supplied by Perla, and framed in an effective but unconventional white. This floods the kitchen with natural light, and offers a sweeping view over the flat’s fenced yard to the greenery of the communal gardens.
Although the owner was keen that the interior decor be restrained enough to appeal to a broad audience of potential renters, she was also determined it should incorporate playful elements and touches of character. Russian For Fish therefore balanced neutral monochromes with warm textures, offbeat patterns and block colours that brought personality and creativity into the design.
Durability was a key consideration. From the marble-block lamps to the hairpin steel legs of the dining table, materials and furniture were chosen to be robust and long- lasting, so the flat maintains its beauty while being ‘Airbnb-proof’.
The blue and pink in the kitchen tiles is echoed in the soft furnishings in the living room.
Replacing the bathtub with a walk-in shower turned the once-cramped bathroom into a generous space.
Simple and elegant natural materials are used throughout – including a timber floor in white-stained oak and the unfinished white plaster on the walls, which introduces a gently mottled, tactile effect.
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