The project was a complete restoration over 18 months and involved substantial alterations. It is a house full of colour, warmth and vibrancy, whilst being an ideal family home.
The Victorian property is the home of a world renowned publisher.
Notes on the architectural restoration
The house was stripped back to its bare bones with moving walls, adding new walls, ceilings and the roof, and so we had to reinstate historical mouldings, architraves, dados and cornice, sensitive to the period property. We created a hierarchy of spaces by using difference scales of mouldings, including between the living room, kitchen and dining room which was extended; they each have a different cornice. The hall has yet a grander scheme with dentil decoration and gold painted vine leaves. We also created a hierarchy between floors; the mouldings are simplified by the time you get to the top floor.
The opening to the extension, unlike to the living room, is plain, suggestive of the transition to the new architectural element that had been added. The level change down the grand staircase provides further emphasis. The roof was designed to allow for maximum light, with wide panels of glass. The doors are sliding and centred on the terrace, which is flush with the floor. The gold chandeliers from New York are suspended on steel rods, accentuating the architecture of the space.
We used different luminosity of paints throughout the house. The mouldings are painted in high-gloss and a lot of gold paint was used for added reflectivity. In the kitchen the walls themselves are also in high-gloss like a lacquer. When you get to the top floor, however, the walls are dead matt, and the whole atmosphere changes, to one of calm serenity.
Colour and Light
Although a lot of the colours in the house are very strong – the ground floor is covered in yellow, green, red and gold - they are at the same time calm and liveable. The base colours are clays. The lighting is very soft, lit with a multitude of table and wall lights. Mirrors are used to widen the windows in the living room and kitchen, to bounce daylight and reflections around the room.
During the demolition you could see right up from the ground floor to the sky. Even on the ground floor, looking down through the cracks in the floorboards the sunlight shone; there was no insulation at all. On the upper floors we sanded down the original pine floorboards. They give a very light and carefree look, and a few old creaks retain the history of the house. On the ground floor we installed a new solid oak floor.