Before & After: A Cluttered London Maisonette Gets Loads of Storage—and a Cat Climbing Wall
View Photos

Before & After: A Cluttered London Maisonette Gets Loads of Storage—and a Cat Climbing Wall

Add to
Like
Share
By Melissa Dalton
Atelier Baulier rearranges a cramped, Victorian flat, adding fun finishes and built-in cabinetry, including a cat-friendly bookcase.

In 2015, Marisa, Richard, and their two cats Marvin and Minsky moved into this 775-square-foot Victorian maisonette in London. The apartment occupies the upper two floors of a typical terraced house built in 1880 and offered very little functional storage. When it became apparent that the kitchen was too cramped—and that the cat furniture was taking up too much space in the living room—the couple decided to intervene. 

"The freestanding furniture they owned didn’t really suit the flat, nor was it making the most of it," says Aurore Baulier, who runs the London–based architecture and interior design studio Atelier Baulier. She helped the couple with a remodel that prioritized more chic and effective storage strategies.

Before: Kitchen

The existing storage in the kitchen was maxed out, and freestanding pieces didn’t utilize the space well.

The existing storage in the kitchen was maxed out, and freestanding pieces didn’t utilize the space well.

Get the Renovations Newsletter

Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design.

See a sample

The couple needed more counter space to work.

The couple needed more counter space to work.

The kitchen had a single run of jarring, brown Wenge wood-type veneered cabinets and a cream Corian worktop. The existing stovetop and oven were reused in the remodel.

The kitchen had a single run of jarring, brown Wenge wood-type veneered cabinets and a cream Corian worktop. The existing stovetop and oven were reused in the remodel.

Since the couple desired a designated dining area that wasn’t crammed into the kitchen, Baulier’s solution was to remove a dividing wall. The freed floorspace provided room for a dining set and a multitasking kitchen peninsula. The peninsula hosts the sink and dishwasher, effectively separating the dish drop zone from the cooking area. There is also a breakfast bar and storage on the opposite side of the peninsula. 

After: Kitchen

On the kitchen peninsula, the sink is tucked behind an upstand, which hides dirty dishes from view from the living room.

On the kitchen peninsula, the sink is tucked behind an upstand, which hides dirty dishes from view from the living room.

"The worktops are made by a British company called Resilica," says Baulier. "They use glass waste (old windscreens, windows, and bottles) to create beautiful and incredibly durable countertops. Unlike terrazzo, it doesn't stain, as it is mainly glass bound with a solvent-free resin."

"The worktops are made by a British company called Resilica," says Baulier. "They use glass waste (old windscreens, windows, and bottles) to create beautiful and incredibly durable countertops. Unlike terrazzo, it doesn't stain, as it is mainly glass bound with a solvent-free resin."

On the opposite side of the room, there’s a stove niche, integrated refrigerator, and built-in storage that wraps the doorway. 

On the opposite side of the room, there’s a stove niche, integrated refrigerator, and built-in storage that wraps the doorway. 

Many of the appliances are tucked inside the cabinetry, which was painted Pale Powder from Farrow & Ball: "Its minty tint works really well with the worktops," says Baulier. Hiding the appliances prevents the small space from feeling chopped up by their lines. 

Baulier controlled the contrast by weaving in wood accents in specific spots. "To bring a bit of warmth to the mix, I detailed some of the cabinetry in a rotary cut European pine plywood, which has been oiled with a white pigment," says Baulier. "All those materials have been selected for their durability, aesthetics, and sustainability credentials." 

Baulier's favorite detail is the meeting point between the mitered door of the refrigerator, the side panel, and the counter. "A very satisfying alignment!" she says.

Baulier's favorite detail is the meeting point between the mitered door of the refrigerator, the side panel, and the counter. "A very satisfying alignment!" she says.

Before: Threshold

A view from the living room into the kitchen, with the doorway that used to separate them.

A view from the living room into the kitchen, with the doorway that used to separate them.

A view of the doorway from the kitchen. The entire kitchen/living room is 280 square feet.

A view of the doorway from the kitchen. The entire kitchen/living room is 280 square feet.

After: Dining Area

Opening up the doorway made space for a designated dining area, which has a vintage Ercol table and chairs. Ferm Living Socket Pendants hang in the kitchen and over the table.

Opening up the doorway made space for a designated dining area, which has a vintage Ercol table and chairs. Ferm Living Socket Pendants hang in the kitchen and over the table.

Custom pine cabinets hang over the dining space. 

Custom pine cabinets hang over the dining space. 

Engineered oak floor boards from Chauncey Timber were laid over the existing floors in a chevron pattern. The meeting line denotes where the wall between the two rooms was removed. 

Engineered oak floor boards from Chauncey Timber were laid over the existing floors in a chevron pattern. The meeting line denotes where the wall between the two rooms was removed. 

"None of the walls are square in this old house," says Baulier, which necessitated employing some tricks to disguise the fact. For instance, where the doorway between the kitchen and living room was removed, the designer specified the new flooring be laid in a chevron pattern.

Before: Living Room

Freestanding cat furniture cluttered the small space.

Freestanding cat furniture cluttered the small space.

"The clients wanted to make sure the flat catered to their two cats, who spend most of the day at home alone," says Baulier. "Cat ladders and games can be a bit unsightly, so integrating this to the built-in furniture in a subtle manner was a good way of decluttering the space." To address this, Baulier designed a built-in storage unit that doubles as a play structure for the cats.

After: Living Room

The unit is 3.5 meters long and 2.4 meters tall, and is a chic focal point in the room. 

The unit is 3.5 meters long and 2.4 meters tall, and is a chic focal point in the room. 

The bookcase is composed of white-painted birch ply with rotary cut pine plywood backdrops that sync with the kitchen details. Triangular steps on either end form tall cat ladders for Marvin and Minsky to climb, while a bank of closed storage runs along the bottom.

Marvin demonstrates the cat ladder. The pendant is the Roly Roscoe light in textured black by Offdn.

Marvin demonstrates the cat ladder. The pendant is the Roly Roscoe light in textured black by Offdn.

A door was replaced with an internal window that sheds light on the stairwell and a cat flap, so that the cats can move between rooms even if the kitchen door is closed.

A door was replaced with an internal window that sheds light on the stairwell and a cat flap, so that the cats can move between rooms even if the kitchen door is closed.


After: Bedroom

In the small bedroom, just 107 square feet, Baulier designed wall-hanging storage cupboards that can double as bedside tables thanks to cut-out niches.

In the small bedroom, just 107 square feet, Baulier designed wall-hanging storage cupboards that can double as bedside tables thanks to cut-out niches.

Baulier’s tricks for working with old walls also came in handy with regards to the built-in bedroom storage. "In the bedroom, all the walls being pretty old and wonky, I decided to lift the wardrobes off the floors and abutted them to the chimney breast only," she says. "This did help with the existing architecture not being square, but also gave a light and elegant air to those wardrobes, so they don’t feel overpowering in this small bedroom."

"Each wardrobe has got a rail, shelves, a couple of drawers, and a hook on the outside facing the wall for an extra hanging point," says Baulier. The pendant is the Roly Casper by Offdn in brushed aluminum. 

"Each wardrobe has got a rail, shelves, a couple of drawers, and a hook on the outside facing the wall for an extra hanging point," says Baulier. The pendant is the Roly Casper by Offdn in brushed aluminum.