Design Project: A Historic Notting Hill Townhouse With A Modern Roof Garden

This historic Notting Hill townhouse hides something rather special on its roof; a rooftop garden that you can sit in and look through, with grasses and ferns that somehow remove the feeling of being at height (despite being on the 5th floor), and with wild, meadow-like grasses create a serene sense of isolation.

PROPERTY

A historic townhouse in the heart of Notting Hill was lovingly and carefully preserved by London architecture firm Boundary Space, together with Federica Palacios Design. The house hadn’t been touched since the ’40s and was in a decrepit state. The owner, an entrepreneur and art collector, asked Boundary Space to ‘make it something surprising and something special’, so the architects decided to create an antithesis to the house below.

For the house below, the architects painfully restored and revived all of the townhouse’s historical details, so for the roof terrace they wanted to create a study space with a sense of being otherworldly. They created a secret staircase ‘up into the sky’, with a decked lounge area on end and a wild meadow on the other.

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ENTRANCE

On entering the house, a living and dining area is to the left, flowing through into a long kitchen space, while the original staircase leads up to the more formal living areas and bedrooms upstairs. The cornicing in the hallway is original, and the builders carefully removed it, restored it and then put it back in the same exact spot after the rest of the renovation work had finished.

Boundary Space took care to not eradicate the past. Even the steps on the staircase still dip in the middle, there’s still the hand of history in it. Throughout the house you still have some patina that remains.

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KITCHEN

The long galley-style kitchen leads to a dine-in breakfast nook at the end, with cosy corner bench seating.

Mirrored cabinets bounce light around to keep the long kitchen feeling bright, and the antiqued foxed detailing are in keeping with the house’s modern-traditional look.

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DINING ROOM

The kitchen opens into the dining room which sits at the front of the house.

Upholstered benched at either end of the dining table soften the look of this dark, masculine space.

The dining room pendant adds pizazz and draws attention to the ceiling height and original cornicing.

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LIVING ROOM

Upstairs there’s a more formal living area, with statement artworks and antique collectibles.

All walls were removed to create a double-sized living space.

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SNUG

There’s a separate snug with a TV, keeping it out of the main living area. A generously deep corner sofa invites you to dive in and put your feet up.

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BEDROOMS

The house has retained the traditional townhouse feel, with bedrooms up at the top.

Built-in storage maximises the limited floor space in the smaller guest bedrooms. Fabrics feel timeless and traditional.

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At the top of the house the staircase splits and leads up to a generous master suite.

MASTER SUITE

The master suite covers the whole of the top floor – and more…

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… this floor is home to a separate, secret staircase that leads up to a ‘study in the sky’,

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The modernity of this space provides a light, bright and refreshing contrast to the rest of the townhouse’s more traditional aesthetic.

But the real piece de resistance is the roofgarden and study, accessed via a separate, modern staircase in the master suite, making it completely private.

When the architects first visited the original site, having been through all of the floors they reached the roof through a small hatch. With views that extended from Wembley stadium to the shard, with Mary Poppins-esque chimney pots each side and the tops of trees in the communal garden behind, Boundary Space knew this was a special place that had to be made the most of.

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The architects wanted to create an antithesis to the house below. Below they had to honour the historical details, whereas here they were able cut loose a little.

They created a private study where the owner could escape to and fully concentrate in, raised above the hubbub of both the street and the rest of the house.

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Boundary Space worked with landscape designers FRLA to create a garden that you sat in and looked through, with grasses and ferns that somehow remove the feeling of being at height despite being on the 5th floor.

The wild, meadow-like grasses create a serene sense of isolation.

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The structure itself is fairly unique with the roof being supported entirely by glass; this gives it a sense of it floating whilst allowing you to be bombarded with light even on the dullest day.

For the summer months there are semi transparent blinds which come down, diffusing the light into an ethereal glow on which the shadows of the planting and grasses play out.

Watch the full renovation video here

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