An airy color palette drives this budget-conscious remodel in London.
In London’s Kensal Green, a run-down Victorian home was smartly modernized, while carefully preserving original architectural elements. The owners, a couple with small children, sought to bring openness into the cramped space, and create a bright and functional home for their family. London-based practice Russian for Fish worked intimately with the owners to bring their vision to life, all while adhering to a strict project budget of under $150,000. Being designers themselves, the couple had a strong aesthetic viewpoint, and the team took great care to make color and materials choices that would complement their furniture and art pieces. The final result is a bright and modern dwelling which enables the family to live comfortably in just over 1,000 square feet.
Throughout the home, the original strip-wood floorboards were preserved and painted a soft, muted gray. The cool tones of the kitchen are punctuated by a bright yellow children's table by the bay window.
Adhering to a budget, it was crucial to use off-the-shelf materials wherever possible. In the kitchen, economical IKEA cabinet frames were dressed up with custom fronts. These doors and drawers were painted with a warmer and darker gray than the floor, adding depth to the space. Both the floors and cabinet surfaces were coated with a subtle sheen to reflect light and create a bright, open feel.
Many of the home’s Victorian features were carefully preserved, including the original stairs and banister. The original floorboards were sanded, painted, and patched with pine filler boards where necessary.
The design team completely changed the layout of the first floor, moving the kitchen to the front of the home and the living room to the rear. The open floor plan allows them to cook in the kitchen while the children play in the living room. All walls and ceilings were painted basic Dulux Brilliant White and a custom-supplied skylight adds illumination to the previously dark and closed-off space.
Redesigning the cramped bathroom was one of the project’s biggest challenges. The original space had small and dated bath fittings, as well as intrusive plumbing pipework. The entire bathroom was taken down to the studs and pipes were redirected. The chimney was removed from the adjacent bedroom, increasing the available interior space. The tile floor in the bathroom is the only new flooring in the entire house.
The ground floor of the home is both the clients' and architects’ favorite part of the home. The opened living room fulfills the owners’ wish for a private and quiet sanctuary connected to the rear garden yet removed from the noise of the front street. A key design feature was the widened rear opening, with floor to ceiling aluminum-framed Comar glass doors.
The large patio leads to a newly landscaped back garden. An expansive glass wall promotes seamless indoor-outdoor living. Inexpensive brick pavers were chosen for the rear patio; they offer textural contrast with the steel of the door, brick of the rear facade, and pale gray wood of the interior floors.