In­ner calm

The Bri­tish do sim­plic­ity just as elo­quently as the Scan­di­na­vians, as this Lon­don home’s in­te­rior shows

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Style Colour - Words HAN­NAH BOOTH Pho­tog­ra­phy SI­MONE BOSSI

‘A con­tem­po­rary scheme like this could feel stark, but the un­pol­ished con­crete and the tim­ber tone that down. They will age well and be­come more in­ter­est­ing with time’

This west Lon­don home, once an or­di­nary Vic­to­rian ter­race, has been trans­formed thanks to a strong ar­chi­tec­tural vi­sion. ‘The view of the mag­nif­i­cent mag­no­lia tree in the gar­den was the start­ing point for the project,’ says ar­chi­tect Rob Ex­cell of the ar­chi­tec­tural prac­tice Mclaren Ex­cell, who added an ex­ten­sion to the rear of the prop­erty and con­verted the war­ren of poky rooms into one space. Two vast pic­ture win­dows, both set onto an­gled ex­ter­nal con­crete plinths, frame this gar­den view: one slides open to form a win­dow seat, while the other ( be­side the din­ing ta­ble) is fixed.

The ceil­ing above is an­gled to form a se­ries of wedge-like blocks, and day­light pours in through a pair of rooflights. ‘The own­ers, Su­san Usher and Abeni Akindele, wanted to avoid cre­at­ing some­thing that looked like a large, square air hangar tacked onto the prop­erty,’ says Rob. As such, the ef­fect – as seen from the gar­den – is of two pitched roofs that in­ter­lock, one lean­ing into the other.

In­side, two ma­te­ri­als dom­i­nate the space: all of the floor­ing on the ground floor is con­crete, while the walls are pan­elled in oak. These fin­ishes ex­tend to the main fea­tures of the house – both the large kitchen is­land and the bath­room van­ity area ap­pear to rise up from the poured con­crete floor. ‘We chose both ma­te­ri­als for their warmth,’ says Rob. ‘A con­tem­po­rary scheme like this could feel stark, but the un­pol­ished con­crete and the tim­ber tone that down. They will age well and be­come more in­ter­est­ing with time.’ The oak cladding is treated with white oil – a clear coat­ing that tem­pers the wood fin­ish – and fea­tures ta­pered bat­tens at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. ‘These break up the ex­panse of tim­ber,’ ex­plains Rob. Much of the cladding con­ceals stor­age, and ex­tends in an un­bro­ken line through the house to the liv­ing area at the front. As this room fea­tures tra­di­tional cor­nic­ing and high ceil­ings, the de­sign helps to blur the lines be­tween old and new. Where the pan­elling reaches the bay win­dow, it trans­forms into an el­e­gant se­ries of shut­ters, which pro­vide pri­vacy and fold back com­pletely when not in use. A sim­ple oak stair­case, mounted on a con­crete plinth, con­tin­ues the scheme to the sec­ond floor, where the same ma­te­ri­als are cel­e­brated. ‘The con­crete lends the en­tire house a so­lid­ity from the ground up,’ says Rob. mclarenex­cell.com

The large kitchen is­land and the bath­room van­ity area ap­pear to rise up from the poured con­crete floor

De­tails The house’s oak pan­elling trans­forms into screen­ing around the large bay win­dow. The din­ing ta­ble was im­ported from Bali (find sim­i­lar at Heal’s), while the chairs are by Naoto Fuka­sawa for Maruni, avail­able at Twen­tytwen­ty­one. A ‘CH25’ chair...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.