It is possible to have a serene, sophisticated home with four children aged eight and under; it’s all in the planning... and the cupboards!
A Victorian terrace in southwest London. On the ground floor is a living room and kitchen-diner. Spread over the first, second and attic floors are four bedrooms (two en suite), a guest bedroom-cum-office, a bathroom, shower room and study.
The design of this home was all about creating flow. The once traditional London terrace has undergone a radical transformation to become a light-drenched calm space. It had an awkward layout with a small galley kitchen and a double reception room where the children became “trapped”.
The owners cleverly created a great feeling of space by knocking through partition walls to make a series of open living areas connected via discreet glass panels and parquet floors that flow effortlessly together. These then allow the eye to travel uninterrupted from the front of the house to the back and out into the garden.
In addition, plenty of light wells and customised storage, concealed or disguised, leave each space looking sleek and streamlined. The unit under the TV is made with three very large drawers to house all the children’s toys and games and the cupboard [at the other end of the room] contains all their shoes, coats and sports kit.
kitchen and dining area
It proved to be an extensive rebuild: not just rewiring, replastering and repainting the old terrace, but installing the latest mod cons, including underfloor heating and a wireless AV system, removing the hallway wall to open up the ground-floor space, adding a loft bedroom complete with en suite, creating the kitchen side return and putting a utility room into the basement.
Keeping the original Victorian touches, such as the ceiling roses and cornicing, was important too, ‘so as not to be too slick’, but the key was to create a calm, plain space and then add layers of texture to make each room feel different. The sliding doors open up the house to the garden, blurring the distinction between inside and out.
The owner’s minimalist style keeps the bedroom sleek and serene.
master en suite
A false wall was built to hide the plumbing and there’s a cupboard behind the mirror. The new wall also allowed for an alcove to be created above the bath.
This space also doubles as a spare room, so the divan turns into a double bed.
This was an awkward space, so it was difficult to fit in normal-sized bunk beds. The owners had them made slightly smaller with cupboards either side, allowing more room for train tracks and tea parties.
Photography / Paul Massey