High def­i­ni­tion

Built into the side of a hill in a leafy north London con­ser­va­tion area, this RIBA award-win­ning home com­bines cut­ting-edge ar­chi­tec­ture with play­ful touches

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Front Page - Words EMMA LOVE Pho­tog­ra­phy HEN­RIK KNUDSEN

This fam­ily home in London won a RIBA prize. Its own­ers share the best things about liv­ing in an ar­chi­tec­tural mas­ter­piece

‘We wanted a home among the trees, some­where the

kids could run around,’ says Os­car-nom­i­nated film di­rec­tor Me­hdi Norowzian as he re­calls how he, his wife Elli and their three chil­dren, Elika (16), Maani (10) and Matissa (nine) came to live in north London’s Fitzroy Park, a con­ser­va­tion area lo­cated a stone’s throw from Hamp­stead Heath. The cou­ple bought a 1950s house here eight years ago and knocked it down to make way for their dream project: a 556-square-me­tre four-bed­room home with a gen­er­ous open-plan liv­ing space. The re­sult, cre­ated with ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice Stan­ton Wil­liams, is so in­no­va­tive that it scooped a pres­ti­gious RIBA London award in 2014.

The sloped an­gle of the plot was the start­ing point for the de­sign. The build­ing cuts into the hill­side and its glass-framed en­trance hall has priv­i­leged views over the tree­tops. The huge open-plan base­ment liv­ing area, which in­cludes din­ing and kitchen zones, leads di­rectly onto a man­i­cured lawn through tall glass doors. The top floor, mean­while, is can­tilevered above the gar­den, with each of the be­d­rooms ben­e­fit­ting from its own bal­cony.

A sense of play­ful­ness runs through­out the in­te­rior: push one of the min­i­mal wall pan­els that line the en­trance hall and it pops open to re­veal a cosy se­cret cinema; nudge an­other to ac­cess the fam­ily’s of­fice. ‘ We like houses to have fun el­e­ments,’ says Me­hdi. ‘Maybe we’re chaotic as a fam­ily, but we love prop­er­ties where ev­ery­thing is easy and in­te­grated.’

The nat­u­ral sur­round­ings in­flu­enced the in­te­rior of the house as much as its ar­chi­tec­ture, and Elli (who trained as an in­te­rior de­signer at Chelsea Col­lege of Art) guided the de­sign from the start. ‘ We used a lot of mid-tones in­stead of white, with plenty of tex­ture so that our home is warm and com­fort­ing.’ she says.

The cou­ple also love to en­ter­tain, es­pe­cially out­side in the sum­mer, sur­rounded by the rock­ery and a sooth­ing water fea­ture. ‘ You ask your­self why you com­mit to the process of build­ing a house and the an­swer is qual­ity of life,’ says Me­hdi. ‘As we drive up the lane to our home, we can feel the still­ness. All that you can hear is the sound of the birds – and that makes us happy.’ stan­ton­williams.com

‘WE LOVE DOUBLEHEIG­HT ROOMS AS THEY AL­LOW YOU SPACE TO BREATHE, AND OPEN ZONES ARE PER­FECT FOR EN­TER­TAIN­ING’

‘YOU ASK YOUR­SELF WHY YOU COM­MIT TO THE PROCESS OF BUILD­ING A HOUSE AND THE AN­SWER IS QUAL­ITY OF LIFE’

‘WE USED A LOT OF MID-TONES IN­STEAD OF WHITE, WITH PLENTY OF TEX­TURE SO THAT OUR HOME IS WARM AND COM­FORT­ING’

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