Fraher Architects gives a London building dated to 1870 a clean makeover.

Getting permission to renovate a historically listed townhouse in London can be trying. Fraher Architects spent months meeting with planning officials before they were given the okay to do “something more than a pastiche of the existing building,” architect Elizabeth Webster says. But the waiting paid off: the formerly dark and disjointed 19th-century residence now lights up the neighborhood at night, thanks to a unique “lantern” window that delineates the new construction.

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A tall and narrow window separates the new brickwork from the historic building, making its lines and profile clearly understandable.

“The building was essentially rebuilt from the inside out,” Webster says. Workers gutted the 1,916-square-foot residence down to its brick shell, expanding it downward and outward to reach 3,208 square feet.

The formerly dark basement kitchen now feels much lighter, thanks to the addition of white oak floor boards, bright plaster walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in garden views.

Fraher’s in-house joinery company designed the kitchen cabinets. The majority of the furniture — including the dining table and chairs — is Ligne Roset.

The architects replaced the original, carpeted stairway with one built from black walnut. “[The goal] was to mirror a large tree that had to be felled in the garden before the project started,” Webster explains. “The staircase rises up through the building, with the branches being the landings that reach out to the different rooms.” Tom Dixon lights hang at the center of the stairs.

The base of the stairwell includes a hidden compartment to conveniently store shoes.

Fraher and Co designed the shelving to lighten in tone as one ascends through the house. It moves from black walnut to lighter oak to wood that's painted white.

Light wooden storage cabinets line the walls of the upper bedrooms.

At night, the house’s unique windows glow brightly, much like a lantern.

  • Fraher Architects