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.
Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design.
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.
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."
After: Dining Area
"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
"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 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.
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."
More Before & After:
Builder: John D
Cabinetry: Odel Jeffries