Design Project: This Modern East London Home Is Bursting With Genius Ideas Worth Stealing

You'll want to copy every idea in this architect-designed home, from the broken-plan layout and open sight-lines to the climbing wall and fireman's pole in the kids' bedroom, and clever space-saving ideas in the stairs and play room...


What do you get when an architect couple decide to build a home together? A strikingly innovative home with note-worthy space-saving ideas, effortless flow, oodles of daylight and inspiration at every turn. We’re not surprised that this modern house took home the Don’t Move Improve award, amongst others.

Designed by Ran Ankory and Maya Carni of Scenario Architecture, the property was an opportunity for them to realise their creative visions. This house is their canvas. Located in E5 in Clapton, East London, the couple bought this Victorian terraced house for the opportunity to extend and adapt a larger space for their growing family. They added a glazed rear extension, removed walls and introduced a broken-plan layout with split-levels whereby rooms have a degree of separation, while still being visible to each other.

Their main challenge was connecting the main floor physically and visually with the lower ground. They designed an open-plan spatial sequence, encompassing the lounge, dining area and kitchen, and introduced a glass balustrade that creates an uninterrupted visual connection between the two levels.

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The Victorian terraced house’s existing internal layout included a pair of reception rooms at the front of the house, with no real connection to the basement level. The architects removed walls and introduced a sloping glazed roof that abuts the boundary wall of the adjacent property to create a seamless transition between the ground-floor living areas and a kitchen and dining room below.

The new layout incorporates a split-level double reception, with a short set of steps connecting the upper area to a more casual area for relaxing in front of a fireplace.

The roof light and rear glazing connect the indoors with the garden beyond, while interior glazing links the lounge with a “floating” library at mezzanine level – which can be seen from the living areas below. Another set of steps lead down to the kitchen and dining room, both visible through the glass balustrade.

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A long and shallow modern fireplace hugs the wall and frames the top step. It makes a show-stopping feature, and adds cosiness too.

From the parquet-floored living area, a staircase with treads made from the same material descends to the open kitchen and dining space. The glass roof above the stairs enables daylight to filter down to the basement kitchen and dining area.

See Also: Before & After: How Architects Breathed New Life Into A Dated Victorian Property


This style of broken-plan living is all about the clever use of a space. Distinct zones are created by the use of different floor finishes – like the poured concrete flooring in the kitchen area – as well as other separations such as the split-levels and partitions (for example the glass balustrade). These subtle divides retain the spacious feel that open-plan living provides, but also give a sense of separation, meaning people can have their own space away from each other.

Kitchen storage sits mostly below countertops so that walls are left relatively free, helping to make this space retain a feeling of spaciousness.

A new bay window in the kitchen  created the perfect pocket for a cosy window seat with built-in storage.

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Full-height folding glass door add to the natural lighting and provide a direct connection with the garden.

The kitchen now opens to a newly landscaped gravel garden, achieved after some of the above photos were taken.

See Also: 50 Stylish Garden Patio Ideas

Wall lights above the dining table are a clever way of illuminating this space at night, as a pendant light would not have been possible with the sky light above, and a floor lamp would have interrupted the flow of movement needed to walk around the table.


Conscious effort was made to use every available space the house had to offer. This included using spaces under the stairs, in the eaves, in hallways and limited height areas. Storage pockets were cleverly added under the stairs, and continue along the wall.

See Also: Stunning Statement Staircase Ideas

This recessed area has a low ceiling height due to the lowering of the reception area above, but it works perfectly as a playroom or homework area for the kids, who can play here while Mum or Dad are busy in the kitchen.

See Also: Wonderfully Fun Kids Play Room Ideas

The best thing about this space? The architects custom-built a pull-out table and bench for drawing or doing homework, which perfectly slots back into the wall between the drawers. Genius.

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A library space was integrated into a room alongside the stairs that lead up to the bedroom levels. It projects out over the basement and can be seen through the floor-to-ceiling glass window from the living areas below.


The fun didn’t stop there. The architects incorporated lots more great ideas in the kids’ room too. They combined the bedroom with the eaves space above it to create one extra tall space with a mezzanine level that can be accessed via a climbing wall, thus making a secret hangout spot for the kids. Tall poles keep things safe and prevent them from falling, while a cool fireman’s pole offers a fun way down.

What more could growing boys ask for?

See Also: Fun Ideas for Cool Kids’ BedroomsSharing Kids Room Ideas and Boys’ bedroom ideas

Photography: Matt Clayton

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