Budget Breakdown: An Architect’s £224K Remodel Makes a Splash With Pastel Tile

Inspired by a David Hockney painting, Grant Straghan colors his London home in soothing tones of seafoam and rose.
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When architect Grant Straghan of Dedraft set out to remodel the 1930s London home he shares with his wife, Catherine, and their daughters, Betsy and Tilde, he sought to refine the layout while introducing texture, geometric forms, and a muted material palette with bursts of color.

"We were looking to increase square footage on almost every level of our three-story home, but were intent on maintaining the ground floor’s deep, low-slung proportions," Grant says. "It was about creating open, naturally lit, well-articulated spaces that enable flexible living."

Architect Grant Straghan remodeled his 1930s family home in London with a rear extension clad in blue-green cement tile.

The remodel—which took almost five months and began just a week before London’s first Covid-19 lockdown—yielded the family’s dream home, but at first the process felt more like a nightmare. "The timing couldn’t have been worse," Grant says. "There were delays, shortages, and restricted purchasing."




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General Building Works


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Rental During Construction






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Grand Total: £223,962

Lime plaster walls lend rich texture to all of the rooms of the home, including the casual dining space, which is outfitted with built-in shelving. 

The Douglas fir beams he’d ordered took (what felt like) an eternity to arrive, and the plaster he’d intended to use as a wall-and-ceiling finish was in scarce supply. "Because there was a shortage of gypsum plaster, we used lime plaster almost exclusively throughout the house," Grant says.

Douglas fir flooring, furnishings, and ceiling beams provide texture and warmth in the kitchen/dining area, which is outfitted with bright-white cabinetry and Caesarstone counters. The pendants suspended above the island are by Schneid Studio, and the vintage Louis Poulsen pendant hangs above the dining table.

Terra-cotta kitchen tile meets Douglas fir flooring at the dining area. A skylight facilitates the flow of natural light into the spaces.

Though the lime plaster was not his first choice, it may have been the best option. The material’s soft texture absorbs sunlight, giving the interiors a subtle yet captivating glow.

The table in the kitchen/dining area is made from leftover Douglas fir boards, and the built-in bench is made from Douglas fir plywood. Ribbed white ceramic wall tile provides contrasting texture.

The long-delayed Douglas fir beams, which Grant used for the ceiling of the kitchen/dining room, worked out in the end as well. "They sent what they had, and some were more gnarly than what we’d wanted," Grant says. "But this added more warmth in the kitchen, which is sunlit through five glazed openings."

Grant outfitted the living room with lime plaster walls, Douglas fir flooring, and a large window that supplies plenty of natural light.

A Douglas fir staircase references the work of Alvar Aalto and makes a sculptural statement.

Located in a rear extension, the kitchen/dining area was a top priority for the remodel. "The composition for this space was key," Grant says. "Our aim was to develop a coherent expression that features strong concrete elements, defined and deep-inset openings, and a simple yet bold palette of materials with distinct textural variation." 

Grant converted the home’s attic level into a primary suite that features lime plaster walls and deep-blue drapes.

The primary suite has a soothing, pared-back aesthetic.

Clad in blue-green encaustic cement tiles, the extension has a sculptural quality when viewed from the rear yard. Grant partially framed the large glass doors with smooth bands of concrete, which tie in to the poured-in-place concrete bench—a place to sit on the terrace and enjoy morning coffee. "The bold, blue-green tiles have faded slightly with sun exposure, giving a soft, dusty aesthetic that changes with the seasons," Grant says. "The color and texture contrast with the London stock brick that clads the rest of the house."

The daughters’ bathroom showcases pink tile (in two shades) and concrete flooring.

The pink tile in the kids’ bathroom was inspired by a David Hockney painting.

A winding stairway crafted from Douglas fir plywood leads from the ground floor to the middle level, with two bedrooms and a study, and the attic, which Grant converted to a primary suite. An oculus at the top of the staircase allows sunlight to wash over the wooden railing and treads. "The balustrade folds to produce a naturally warm and ‘cocooning’ entry into the main bedroom," Grant explains.

A pair of oak-framed glass doors tie the kitchen/dining area to the home’s rear garden.

Inspired by David Hockney’s painting A Bigger Splash (1967), Grant outfitted Betsy and Tilde’s bathroom with dark- and light-pink wall tile. "The girls chose pink, but the tones reference the Hockney painting," the architect says. "The square theme continues throughout."

In the evening, the cement tile takes on a darker, chalky tone that lends a moody note.

Grant also looked to the works of architects Alvar Aalto and Peter Aldington while planning his home. "I was inspired by the domestic warmth of Aalto’s design for his home and studio, and Aldington’s Turn End, which eschews complex or visually jarring details" he says. "The chalky, lime plaster–finished walls and ceiling catch and soak up natural light, giving texture and depth. This house juxtaposes a muted backdrop with geometric forms, using color, tactility, and a play on proportions to underpin the composed whole."

Floor Plan of CG Residence by Dedraft

More Budget Breakdown stories:

An Architecture Student Turns an Old School Bus Into His Home for $7K

A Historian Couple Revamp Their Storybook Victorian for $174K

A $614K Renovation Carves Up an L.A. Bungalow Like a Slice of Swiss Cheese

Project Credits:

Architecture: Dedraft / @dedraftlondon

Construction: BWP Ltd.

Photography: Nick Dearden

Structural Design: SD Structures 

Exterior Tile Cladding: Mosaic Factory 

Windows & Doors: ARTBud 

Fibre Concrete Cladding: Oko Skin and Fibre C via Purafacades 

Rooflights: Sterling Build 

Roof Window: The Rooflight Company 

Roofing: Liquid Applied Solutions 

Oak Setts: All Green Group 

Concrete Paving: Schellevis via London Stone 

Lime Plaster: Lime Green 

Kitchen: Halcyon Interiors 

Kitchen Worktop: My Kitchen Worktop 

Ironmongery: Olivari via Williams Ironmongery 

Douglas Fir Flooring: French Forest Floors 

Ash Industrial Parquet Flooring: Horning 

Terracotta Floor Tiles: Norfolk Pamments 

Cast Iron Floor Tiles: Retrouvius 

Internal Tiles: Ceramica Cumella, Porter Bathrooms, Claybrooks

Sanitaryware: CP Hart 

Radiators: Cast Iron Radiators 

Steel Shower Screen: John Horton Metalwork 

Tiles: Claybrook 

Shower Screen Glass: SGG Mastersoft via Hourglass

Lighting: Hand + Eye Studio, vintage PH 4/3 Louis Poulsen, Charlotte Perriand, Wastberg, Artek A201, and Tradition, Marset, Twenty Twenty One, Schneid Studio, Menu, AstroSGG Mastersoft via Hourglass 


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