Lower Ground Floor Refurbishment Phase 2

Kensington

A year after completing the ground floor of this two level apartment, we started on the refurbishment of the lower ground. The greatest challenge? Creating continuity in the design when the light and atmosphere of the two floors was so different.

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This apartment is part of a beautiful mansion block in Kensington, originally designed in the late 1800s and modernised in the 1980s. There is a spacious internal courtyard, which brings light and air into the lower ground floor – but the look and feel of this space is quite different to the bright, high-ceilinged upper floor with its traditional mouldings and architecture.

Since the existing layout worked well, the client decided not to do a full overhaul but instead to make better use of the rooms as they were, updating the lighting layout and paint schemes, to better reflect the family’s requirements.

We then worked closely with each member of the family to source the perfect furniture and fittings, defining each room according to their particular characters and personalities.

Designing with colour

  • Colour scheme:

    This beautiful De Gournay wallpaper became the focus of the Master Bedroom and the inspiration for the room’s colour palette.

  • Revamping:

    A well-loved trunk was re-covered with a hand stitched cloth whose design complemented the wallpaper.

  • Tobago oak parquet:

    The flooring was ordered 12 months in advance to ensure it matched the colour and finish of the batch used on the Ground Floor.

  • Redesign and build of en-suite bathroom:

    The pre-existing twin sinks made the room feel uncomfortable and cramped. Replacing these with a simple, single unit and a larger work surface give a much more spacious and airy feeling.

  • Unobstructed light:

    The large mirror and John Cullen pendant lights dramatically increase the working light, and reduce shadows in the basin niche.

  • A spa feel:

    The bath was replaced with a walk in shower, with a bench on one side and colourful sea blue tiles facing the door. Nickel plated fittings give a softer feel to the room than chrome would have done.

A modern and light masculine room

The second bedroom, for the client’s eldest son, was given an elegant but masculine feel using grey and dark tones.

The en-suite bathroom was also designed with this in mind. Tiles were sourced to simulate polished concrete, contrasting the subtle greys with the warmth of the oak veneered basin unit. The composite stone top was carefully designed to wrap around the unit, sharpening the angles and modernising the space.

To counter the lack of natural light, LED strips were installed behind the mirror and around the recess in the ceiling over the bath – as well as the downlights and the Tom Dixon pendant.

Blending new and old together

A very different mood was evoked in the third bedroom, with its brighter hues and patterns. The client and her daughter had fun sourcing the perfect bed, and fell in love with this dramatic wallpaper by Matthew Williamson.

We then worked with a mixture of new and old items to create a space full of character and personality: the old living room cabinet was given a new coat of paint and repurposed as her wardrobe; new moroccan patterned chests of drawers were bought, setting off the teal colour of the bedstead.

The en-suite bathroom was in fact left largely as it was, but the new paintwork and a few minor alterations have made it feel fresh and new again.

Continuity: It's all in the details

  • Switches & Sockets:

    Low profile brass light fittings were used throughout the flat: a contemporary take on a traditional material.

  • Door knobs:

    The geometric brass knobs from the 1980s refurbishment were retained: their colour helps soften the design and also reduces unnecessary waste.

  • Complementary metals:

    In the master bathroom, nickel fittings rather than chrome offered less of a contrast to the brass fittings used in the rest of the flat.

  • Hidden details:

    The corridor cupboards were re-painted and re-purposed to conceal the washing machine, tumble dryer, water softener and fuse board.

  • Bespoke joinery:

    The bespoke wardrobe doors were designed to complement existing joinery without imposing on the rooms.

  • Floor Nosing:

    The nosings were carefully French polished and varnished to colour-match the Tobago oak treads and risers.