Real Home

A com­bi­na­tion of smart ex­ten­sions, clever lay­out changes and deep, moody colour schemes has turned a dated Vic­to­rian house into a joy­ful fam­ily home

Real Homes - - Contents -

See how Stephanie Peltier turned a dated Vic­to­rian house into a joy­ful fam­ily home

De­spite the fact that there was lit­tle go­ing for this dated Vic­to­rian house in west Lon­don, Stephanie and her ex-hus­band knew they could turn the prop­erty into some­thing spe­cial. ‘Hon­estly, there was noth­ing right about the house, but it felt right some­how,’ Stephanie says. The house hadn’t been touched for 50 years, so the lay­out com­prised a se­ries of cramped, dark rooms and no proper gar­den ac­cess. ‘De­spite this,’ she adds, ‘there was a sense of spa­cious­ness in the high ceil­ings that could be im­proved upon.’

Stephanie be­gan talks with 3s Ar­chi­tects be­fore the sale had even com­pleted in Jan­uary 2012. They spent six months on the de­sign, dis­cussing how to re­model the en­tire house so it could work for them and daugh­ters Juli­ette and Manon.

A light-filled kitchen-diner and TV room ex­tends the house and opens onto the gar­den. The front liv­ing room re­mains, but the mid­dle room has been turned into a clever junc­ture for the WC and cloak­room cup­board, con­nected by the hall­way and a new pas­sage on the other side. This rad­i­cal shake-up was only made pos­si­ble by mov­ing the stair­case. ‘The stairs were in the mid­dle of the house and now they’re on the side,’ says Stephanie. ‘Even though I’ve lost the mid­dle room, the house feels so much big­ger be­cause re­design­ing the lay­out has cre­ated a vis­ual con­nec­tion from the front door to the gar­den.’

The third bed­room – now Manon’s room – was en­larged by re­mov­ing a sep­a­rate toi­let and bath­room. An­other bed­room is now a bath­room, while the ar­chi­tects also cre­ated a nar­row en suite in the guest bed­room. ‘It’s only 900mm wide with the shower op­po­site the loo,’ Stephanie says. ‘We’d seen one in a ho­tel and did our mea­sure­ments, so we knew we could make it work.’

On the top floor, although the loft had al­ready been con­verted, the ceil­ing sloped steeply to the eaves, leav­ing lit­tle floor space. ‘It was like a shoe box with a tiny bed­room and bath­room,’ Stephanie says. ‘We wanted to op­ti­mise the space with a dormer and make this the mas­ter bed­room.’

With a bud­get of around £350,000, the fam­ily went through a ten­der process and the build­ing con­trac­tor came on board in Sep­tem­ber 2012. ‘Matt, the owner, was friendly and hon­est and knew where to save money,’ says Stephanie. ‘For ex­am­ple, he de­signed our bed­room wardrobes with Ikea fit­tings and be­spoke doors.’

Matt also helped Stephanie plan the loft lay­out. ‘I wanted to be able to see the whole room but with sep­a­ra­tion be­tween the en suite and bed­room,’ she says. ‘My idea was a full-height wall with slid­ing doors ei­ther side. Matt’s join­ers de­signed and made this for me.’

Although the dormer could be built within per­mit­ted de­vel­op­ment, Stephanie wanted to in­stall a tri­an­gle win­dow within the gable end roof, thus chang­ing the front façade.

She sought plan­ning per­mis­sion for changes, but didn’t make a fi­nal de­ci­sion un­til the loft struc­ture had been built. ‘My in­stincts were right,’ she says. ‘Once the old walls had been re­moved, I could see the win­dow would look amaz­ing with a free­stand­ing bath be­neath it.’

The down­stairs has its fair share of strik­ing glaz­ing, too. A rooflight stretches along the kitchen gal­ley, and there’s a high band of glaz­ing around the din­ing area thanks to a stepped roof ex­ten­sion. Slid­ing doors over­come space lim­i­ta­tions in the WC and cloak­room as well as clos­ing off the kitchen-diner when needed. It’s this kind of func­tional think­ing that Stephanie re­turned to time and time again. ‘I wanted the kitchen “ex­pe­ri­ence” to be right,’ she ex­plains. ‘The de­signer asked me how I use the kitchen, which made a lot of sense. The lay­out is per­fect – I even have a break­fast area with draw­ers that store ev­ery­thing we need.’

Stephanie chose an all-white kitchen warmed with an ex­posed brick wall, choco­late brown chevron wood floor­ing and a strik­ing blue-black painted wall. Through the rest of the house, the in­ten­sity of colour con­tin­ues. Rich pur­ple en­velopes the liv­ing room, stud­ded with jewelled turquoise and mus­tard fur­ni­ture. Deep grey walls in the mas­ter bed­room have a co­coon­ing ef­fect, open­ing onto the cool tones of the en suite. ‘There are very few white walls in the house,’ Stephanie says. ‘I like dark, moody walls and bold colours.’

The pro­ject was fin­ished in eight months and the house is un­recog­nis­able from how it was be­fore. ‘Although we kept vir­tu­ally noth­ing of the orig­i­nal, we’ve cre­ated pur­pose­ful space,’ Stephanie says. ‘It’s mul­ti­func­tional and I love the strong iden­tity and at­mos­phere in each room.’

Slid­ing doors, SchuecoLeft The stepped roof on the new ex­ten­sion sep­a­rates and de­fines the kitchen-diner and TV room. An open cor­ner cre­ates a won­der­ful link to the gar­den. At the top of the house, re­mod­elling the orig­i­nal loft con­ver­sion by adding a dormer has in­creased the us­able space to in­clude a stylish mas­ter en suite.

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