WEST KENSINGTON, LONDON
Project: Private Apartment
Location: West Kensington, London
Floor Area: 700 sq ft
We have recently completed works to a delightful mansion flat in West London. Originally constructed in 1890, the flat had been rented for many years during which it suffered at the hands of un-sympathetic owners who ignored the heritage of this marvellous bastion of Victorian architecture. Rooms had been segmented, original decorative details removed and the historic fabric forgotten. The challenge was to work with the existing architecture to create a floor plan that worked for modern living, without losing the apartment's historic integrity.
Our response was to sympathetically re-introduce those details, such as the painted hardwood picture rails, that had been lost, and, in turn, re-introduce a sense of place and history to the apartment. Modern twists on traditional detailing are used throughout. Half-height two-tone walls are used in the entrance wall and kitchen, reminiscent of the dado rails that would once have adorned the apartment, a bespoke blackened metal fire surround designed to Victorian proportions commands the main living room, whilst modern, cast-iron radiators have been re-introduced through-out.
Materials were sourced to respect the history of the apartment. This included the re-instatement and sensitive re-furbishment of the original 1800s internal doors which were stripped from years of lead paint and re-conditioned, proudly displaying the marks and patina of their history.
The flow of the apartment needed subtle adjustment in order to become relevant to modern living. As was fashionable at the time of construction, the kitchen was separated from the main living room. Although expected in the 1890s, modern living more often than not sees the need to combine both living and kitchen spaces, to increase the amount of time spent socialising. The removal of a non-historic wall and introduction of a free-standing kitchen island, creates a 'social pin-wheel' where guests can comfortably sit whilst meals are prepared. A simple tool, but one that has allowed the same space to be used in an entirely different way.