Before and After: An awkward London townhouse was transformed into an elegant home

The South London home emphasizes space with an open-plan area and an elegant mirrored wall

Mirrored paneling in South Kensington living room
(Image credit: Uliana Grishina)

A young family in London’s South Kensington has transformed their apartment from a dull wooden space into a stylish family home – and the result is unrecognizable. The apartment, hidden in a Grade II listed property, was restricted by its traditional awkward footprint that came as part of the historic townhouse. 

The project exemplifies overcoming the stubborn structure of a compact space – while combining timeless elegance with ultra-modern shapes. We’re stealing its modern living room ideas, and mirroring its sleek kitchen and bedrooms in our own interiors.

The apartment before renovation

South Kensington apartment before

(Image credit: Linda Smaukstele)

Prior to the project, the apartment was defined by its awkward floor plan, which included a small entrance space, an unusable bedroom, micro-kitchen, and a muted living space. The apartment was divided by a narrow corridor that adjoined the sparsely decorated rooms. 

South Kensington apartment before

(Image credit: Linda Smaukstele)

Despite the historic features adding quintessential charm to the home, it left the family and interior designer Linda Smaukstele of Balts Design with an intricate floor plan that was delicate to decorate. Linda collaborated with Moscow-based company Tochka Design throughout the renovation.

South Kensington apartment before

(Image credit: Linda Smaukstele)

With a new apartment layout in mind, the team elevated the space into a luminous modern home that draws from the mystery of a mirror to accentuate the space and ensure its interior elegance matches its esteemed postcode.

The apartment after renovation  

South Kensington apartment after renovation

(Image credit: Uliana Grishina)

We begin with what is, perhaps, the most stylish and ingenious characteristic of the renovated apartment: the mirrored wall. This feature kissed the living room with a decorative surface that creates an illusion of space through its reflective material. Plus, the mirrored paneling frames the pièce de resistance of the property, the ornate fireplace, to ensure it remains the focal point in the room. 

South Kensington apartment after renovation

(Image credit: Uliana Grishina)

The team then flipped the original floorplan to bring the kitchen to the front of the property and design a contemporary open-plan living and dining space. This relocation also saw the replacement of the dated kitchen to a sleek monochromatic haven with chic task lighting and a multi-purpose kitchen island that doubles as a discreet hob. 

South Kensington apartment after renovation

(Image credit: Uliana Grishina)

The new floor plan made room for Linda to design two larger bedrooms and an additional shower room alongside the original bathroom. This space follows the minimalistic scheme as seen in the new kitchen and continues to use mirrors to ensure the room appears more spacious. 

South Kensington apartment after renovation

(Image credit: Uliana Grishina)

These natural hues continue into the new master bedroom space that is once again blessed with a large mirror that reflects the main hallway. Linda drenched the walls in gray – the most sought-after-hue of the year – which gives the space a thoroughly modern allure and creates a subtle break between the other black and white color schemes. This cool shade has just climbed to the top of our painted wall ideas

South Kensington apartment after renovation

(Image credit: Uliana Grishina)

Now we’ve stepped through the looking glass into the world of a chic South Kensington townhouse; we’ll never look back. It’s time to bring even more mirrors into our homes.  

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is a News Writer across Future Plc's Homes titles. She has a background in national newspapers in the UK and has experience in fashion and travel journalism, which she previously practised whilst living in Paris and New York City. Her adoration for these fashion capitals means she particularly loves writing about contemporary styles and trends for Livingetc.