House FN

Location: Oval, London
Type: residential (refurbishment, rear extension and basement conversion)
Status: Completed

Design: Maryse Renier Architecture
Interior Design: Maryse Renier Architecture with Kromatic Interiors
Staging: Maryse Renier Architecture with Kromatic Interiors
Photographs: Adam Butler

S was a former client. When she contacted us a few years after we designed her Kensington flat, this banker from the City needed to renovate what had been her childhood home. She planned to move there with her companion, an IT professional. Although she was determined to modernise the early Victorian terraced house inherited from her parents, she was still struggling with her recent loss. The new design would have to find a balance between the past and the present, between her family history and the modern lifestyle she shared with her companion, both of them eclectic collectors and food and wine connoisseurs.

The sense of legacy inspires the design of the three upper stories of the house, comprising the bedrooms, bathrooms, and the formal piano room of the ground floor. Throughout these floors, pale greys and greens, with the grey wooden flooring, create a soft, nostalgic atmosphere to shelter the collection of furniture and artwork going back several generations.

The lower ground floor offered an opportunity for a more drastic transformation. Limited headroom and insufficient natural daylight gave a gloomy and oppressive aspect to the kitchen and a separate former dining room, which had transformed into a storage room over the years. The space has been dramatically transformed by opening up and excavating the entire floor, as well as moving the kitchen into a new, glazed rear extension linked to the rear garden. The materials used reflect this metamorphosis: the concrete flooring, the steel and glass extension, and the contemporary design of the kitchen cabinets and tiles create a modern, informal space where the couple spends most of their spare time cooking and entertaining.