Two Architects Revive Their London Flat With Minimal Furnishings and a Fresh Dose of White

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By Paige Alexus / Published by Dwell
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When two architects with a passion for photography and minimalism put their ideas together to enliven their outdated flat in North London, the result is a calm, light-filled space that takes cues from Nordic and Italian design.

As an Italian architect living in North London, Silvia discovered a two-bedroom space with tons of potential in Stoke Newington where she would live with her Irish boyfriend—who is also an architect, musician, and rugby-enthusiast. After moving in about a year and half ago, they began to think about how they could make the space feel brighter, cleaner, and more open. In order to breath light into the flat while sticking to a budget, they painted the whole space white, made some small fixes in the bathroom, lined the windows with simple white blinds, and outfitted the space with a black-and-white palette. She chose furniture and lighting from a variety of sources including affordable Ikea furniture, iconic Italian and Scandinavian designs, and art they’ve collected from their travels. She also interspersed pieces that she made herself, including pillow cushions she sewed and photographs she took with her boyfriend.

While trying to introduce some charm and playfulness into the space, Silvia discovered a set of reminder stickers from Hu2 that she stuck to the inside of the front door. She also mounted four of Muuto’s Dots, which were designed by Lars Tornøe and are both useful and decorative.

While trying to introduce some charm and playfulness into the space, Silvia discovered a set of reminder stickers from Hu2 that she stuck to the inside of the front door. She also mounted four of Muuto’s Dots, which were designed by Lars Tornøe and are both useful and decorative.

For the small yet open living space, Silvia brought in a sofa bed from Made.com, which can be easily pulled out for overnight guests. To the right of the sofa is the FLOS Toio Modern Floor Lamp by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, while the artwork above the sofa is by Laura Jordan.  

For the small yet open living space, Silvia brought in a sofa bed from Made.com, which can be easily pulled out for overnight guests. To the right of the sofa is the FLOS Toio Modern Floor Lamp by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, while the artwork above the sofa is by Laura Jordan.  

The dining area—which sits in the same open space as the living room and takes in tons of natural light—is marked by a hanging pendant lamp designed by Louis Poulsen. Silvia purchased the extendable dining table from BoConcept and surrounded it with Vitra’s Panton Chairs by Verner Panton. The piece of art leaning against the wall is by Mr. Brainwash, and was acquired when Silvia and her boyfriend visited one of his exhibits together for the first time.

The dining area—which sits in the same open space as the living room and takes in tons of natural light—is marked by a hanging pendant lamp designed by Louis Poulsen. Silvia purchased the extendable dining table from BoConcept and surrounded it with Vitra’s Panton Chairs by Verner Panton. The piece of art leaning against the wall is by Mr. Brainwash, and was acquired when Silvia and her boyfriend visited one of his exhibits together for the first time.

Shown here is a midcentury Scandinavian lounge chair that Silvia just discovered at a vintage market in London. It’s supported with elm wood and has been newly upholstered with a 100-percent Wool Camira fabric. It sits next to an Ikea TV stand and a set of three photographs that Silvia and her boyfriend made themselves. They chose photographs they took of three places they love—Barcelona, London, and Ireland—and printed them onto metal.

Shown here is a midcentury Scandinavian lounge chair that Silvia just discovered at a vintage market in London. It’s supported with elm wood and has been newly upholstered with a 100-percent Wool Camira fabric. It sits next to an Ikea TV stand and a set of three photographs that Silvia and her boyfriend made themselves. They chose photographs they took of three places they love—Barcelona, London, and Ireland—and printed them onto metal.

To create more storage and to make the bedroom feel larger, they placed an Ikea wardrobe with mirrored doors next to the bed. The clothing rack on the other side of the compact room is from HAY.

To create more storage and to make the bedroom feel larger, they placed an Ikea wardrobe with mirrored doors next to the bed. The clothing rack on the other side of the compact room is from HAY.

Silvia spends a lot of her free time sewing and crafting, which she does in her makeshift studio space—shown here with a desk from Ikea. This photo also shows one of the cushions she made herself, which is sewn with the same fabric as the shower curtain in the bathroom.

Silvia spends a lot of her free time sewing and crafting, which she does in her makeshift studio space—shown here with a desk from Ikea. This photo also shows one of the cushions she made herself, which is sewn with the same fabric as the shower curtain in the bathroom.

Though their wish was to redo the whole bathroom, they decided to stick to a budget and preserve the original black-and-white tiles, which are common in London flats. They ended up keeping it simple and accentuating the color palette with a black-and-white shower curtain and new white storage elements.

Though their wish was to redo the whole bathroom, they decided to stick to a budget and preserve the original black-and-white tiles, which are common in London flats. They ended up keeping it simple and accentuating the color palette with a black-and-white shower curtain and new white storage elements.

In the past, Silvia spent time working for Claudio Silvestrin Architects, as well as for Piero Lissoni in Milan—both of which have been personally influential to this day. Today, she acts as an Art Director at a creative and branding agency—but also spends time developing her interior design blog, Silvy Loves Beautiful Things

If you updated your small space on your own and would like to share it with us, send us your story to community@dwell.com.