Previous homes including a Victorian fire station were the inspiration behind this garden flat renovation in London
When Sean and Andrew bought their London flat, they knew they had a big renovation project ahead of them. ‘The house was built in 1892, but many of the original features were stripped out when it was split into two flats in the 1980s,’ explains Sean. ‘The kitchen was small with very little natural light and there was no space for a dining table. We wanted to return as many of the period features as possible, extend the property and swap the kitchen and bathroom around to take advantage of the outdoor space.’
‘We’ve always lived in properties with character,’ says Sean. ‘Our past homes have included a converted mill, Victorian fire station and even a hospital from the same era in Manchester. We love the whole industrial look, which is why we decided to leave the steel beams exposed, marking the old boundary of the house. Choosing large floor tiles gave us the poured concrete effect to match the beams, and we wanted to use as much glass as possible as this had worked so well in the Manchester buildings.’
The project wasn’t without its challenges, though. Issues with planning applications meant the original designs had to be changed, but the discovery of a manhole hidden by old carpet in the bedroom led to the addition of a second toilet and shower room in the flat. It was seven months before the design, planning and approvals process was finished and a further 10 long months of building before the project was complete.
Working alongside IK Construction Ltd and architect Matthew Eyles from Eyles Di Paola Architects, the couple started to plan the bold colour palette as the build took shape. ‘We were worried the room was going to look too cold, so we created Pinterest boards exploring how dark wood, yellow and orange accents could bring some warmth to the room. We also bought one of those adult colouring books and experimented with colour combinations – our nieces, nephews and friends’ children helped us with this!’ laughs Sean.
The final result is a bold marriage of colour, design and materials. Industrial features are softened by sparkling marble worktops, and the Midnight Blue island and French Grey shaker cabinetry help to accentuate the blue veins in the marble. ‘The materials we chose are reflective of the places we’ve travelled or lived,’ explains Sean. ‘We previously spent as little time as possible at the back of the house – the kitchen barely even served a functional purpose. Now, it’s the heart of our home.’
Q&A with Destiny Smith, senior designer at Harvey Jones
What was the initial brief from the client?
Sean and Andrew wanted a ‘wow factor’ kitchen with plenty of particle storage. Making sure we didn’t overdo the space with cupboards was important because we needed to maximise storage above the sink but still keep this area light. This is why we decided that a raised cupboard with shelf and lighting underneath was the best direction to follow.
What were some of the biggest challenges in fulfilling it?
The beam was a small challenge to get our heads around. We solved the issue by housing it inside a cupboard set within the island. The second challenge was planning a decent sized island with seating whilst allowing enough room to walk around. The steps right in front of the island was another factor to keep in mind.
What was the decision behind the particular colours used in this kitchen?
Sean and Andrew showed me images of the furniture that they were thinking of purchasing first. We decided to create a cool toned canvas for them to add colour to later on.
As the designer, what part of the kitchen are you most proud of?
I’m proud of how it all came together so harmoniously. The kitchen is well balanced and we hit the mark in terms of storage too. That’s a job well done in my eyes.
Bifolding doors and skylights in Anthracite Grey work alongside exposed steel beams to give an industrial edge to the space, which is softened by a worktop in light marble and the Shaker style cabinetry. The island in Midnight Blue complements the veins in the marble, while the French Grey cabinets anchor the shades, helping to make the space feel bigger.
268 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 2UQ Tel 0207 354 9933. harveyjones.com
Kitchen prices from £18,000.
Article by: Molly Forbes