We were commissioned to transform a large run-down flat occupying the ground floor and basement of a grand house in Hampstead into a spectacular contemporary apartment.
The property was originally built for a gentleman artist in the 1870s who installed various features including the gothic panelling and stained glass in the living room, acquired from a French church.
Since its conversion into a boarding house soon after the First World War, and then flats in the 1960s, hardly any remedial work had been undertaken and the property was in a parlous state.
Our brief was to create a series of living and entertaining spaces at ground floor level, retaining the best of existing features, and a series of private bedroom quarters with a more contemporary feel at basement level.
A large opening has been formed between the two principal reception rooms which house the living room and kitchen. This permits views from the front to back and a vastly increased illusion of space and light, whilst retaining some separation.
It was necessary to underpin the foundations and level the floors due to subsidence soon after the building's construction. We took the opportunity to install piped underfloor heating beneath new wenge parquet flooring.
The walls, panelling and coffered ceiling have all been painted off-white, and provide a backdrop to our client's collection of contemporary furniture, artworks and the two 1960s chandeliers, originally from a Munich hotel.
We worked closely with Bulthaup on the kitchen design. The idea was to retain the feel of a grand reception room which happens to house a kitchen, as well as a clear view from the living room.
The was achieved by keeping everything low-level, save the fridge and larder units to either side of the fireplace. These are wall-hung and hover above the floor so as to retain a feeling of spaciousness.
The wenge parquet floor continues throughout the kitchen, and the dining table is located in the bay window. This is moved in front of the fireplace and extended for larger gatherings.
The entrance hall affords access to the principal ground floor rooms as well as the study and the new staircase to the basement.
The recess on the left hand side provides some interest in this tall and narrow space, and the original doors and pediments have been restored.
A desk and cupboards have been built beneath the study window. The restored gothic cabinet has been housed in the property since the 1870s.
A new curving staircase leads down to the basement; a semi-circular niche and leather-clad handrail provide some interest.
Back in the living room, a pleasant sitting area has been created by the stained glass bay window and gothic panelling.
The curving staircase, with wenge steps and a painted plaster balustrades leads down to the basement lobby. This space affords access to three bedrooms and one of the bathrooms.
The doorways have been raised and new painted panelled doors with wenge architraves installed, Low-level lighting enhances the drama of the space.
Due to the steeply-sloping site, the master bedroom, at the rear of the basement, is actually a storey above garden level.
New sliding aluminium doors access a sun terrace clad with slate paving, which continues onto the bedroom step.
The master bathroom has been fitted-out with jet black marble and features a Dornbracht 'Raindance' shower.
This and the following sketches show the early concept designs. The finished product is largely the same, apart from the detailing of the curved staircase and entrance hall recess.
Drawing Room south elevation..
Drawing Room west elevation.