“The single most important element was that the feel was consistent throughout the house, which led us to having the same limed oak furniture for all the areas,” says the owner of this refurbished Neo Georgian townhouse.
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Undertaken by McCarron & Co, the woodwork in each space has been designed, not to be a conspicuous decoration, but linger in the background to have a subtle, consistent presence.
“Not so much ‘fitted furniture’ as a seamless backdrop to daily life,” explains Andy Barette of McCarron & Co. “Oak veneer was selected as the material for the whole house,” he adds, “with a finish that retained the natural grain of the wood while the colour was softened to a paler, more contemporary hue.”
The project in a nutshell:
Who lives here? A family of four
Location: Holland Park, West London
Property style: Neo Georgian townhouse
Designer: Andy Barette of McCarron & Co
Decade property was originally built: 1970s
Budget: £100,000 approximately
The main kitchen, dining and living space is accessed through a hallway and through Crittall-style glass doors that let natural light filter through from the kitchen to illuminate the hallway. On entering the kitchen, the clean lines and linear style are apparent. This space is clearly set to the right side meaning that it isn’t a through route to another part of the home.
A secret door opens past the kitchen to reveal the utility area, which is a continuation of the kitchen aesthetic. Directly opposite the island is the informal living space and the area most used in the house.
“The natural grain of the wood runs vertically on panels and doors so as to accentuate the height.
“Meticulously aligned shadow-gaps create natural demarcations of doors, drawers and panels, while handles consist of shallow rebates for an unfussy, fittings-free finish,” says Andy.
In terms of functionality, the owners wanted a serene family house with a mix of open-plan spaces to get together, as well as private, personal nooks. Andy explains that this was where the challenge lay. He says, “This wasn’t easy to overcome, but was executed by clever zoning.
“In the kitchen, the zoning was simply achieved by paying close attention to the lighting, and an external lighting company was used to achieve the best effect. It was very important to create a scenario whereby zones could be altered by changing the mood settings of the lighting itself.”
And how do the owners budget for a refurbishment of this size? “We had very strong ideas with what we wanted from the kitchen design,” says the owner, “that is, for the appliances and worktops.
“We thus had a good idea as to how much investment was needed here.
“With regards to all the other spaces, we set initial budgets but these inevitably went out the window as we had the tendency to up spec! To get the most from the budget, it was really necessary to drill down hard on our wish list.”
We asked designer Andy Barette for a few insider details.
Any quirky details that are unique to this home?
The quirkiest detail is the fact that the same material has been used to finish the entire house, something that didn’t seem like it would work from the outset, but has done to great effect. Less of a quirky and more of a wow feature is the lower basement. You simply don’t expect to find a feature wine room in the depths of the building and this creates a very pleasing talking point.
What’s your favourite element of the new look?
It would be the kitchen. We managed to achieve something special in creating a very modern feel with crisp lines, yet there is a sense of warmth from the subtle limed oak wash. The homeowner didn’t want an overtly clinical feel, especially with a young family.
What’s your top piece of advice for anyone considering redesigning their home?
It’s really important to factor in the time that will be necessary to designate to the design process. With regards to the kitchen, it’s very easy now to create a digital scrapbook, and this is something we urge people to do. It is critical that a realistic wish list is created so that the chosen designer(s) have as much to go off as possible before the design stage.