Balancing the traditional and contemporary, XUL Architecture have renovated this arts and crafts Hampstead Garden Suburb house working in collaboration with Joanna Williams Interiors and Blakes London bespoke kitchens.
As with all XUL Architecture residential projects, the starting point came from the consideration of the passage of natural light through the home. The home previously had significant layout issues dating from when the house was originally built, and the new homeowners were keen to address this to create a harmonious flow throughout.
As with many homes within the Hampstead Garden Suburb, the opportunity to extend was restricted, which meant it was important to maximise the effectiveness of the existing building footprint. To achieve this, XUL Architecture removed the original chimney stack to laterally connect the ground floor and first floor spaces, and relocated the kitchen to a new section of the home. This allowed the ground floor space to be opened up and created a far more balanced flow through each of the ground floor rooms.
“Always start with the kitchen, and then the rest of the home flows from there,” explained XUL Architecture director Sebastian Sandler. “When homeowners are beginning to plan their renovation project there is often a common concern that the existing kitchen cannot easily be relocated. We always consider the best position for the kitchen within the home, allowing as much natural light as possible to flow through the rest of the living space.”
Having decided on the location of the kitchen, Joanna Williams Interiors brought Blakes London in to design and build a kitchen that would become the heart of the home. The client wanted a warm welcoming family kitchen with plenty of preparation space for cooking and entertaining.
“By taking the decision not to put any utilities on the island, we were able to create a space that served as a fabulous buffet station when the family entertain,” said Annie Ebenston, Lead Designer at Blakes London. “The hanging shelf above the island, created an interesting and unusual focal point above the island and by supporting the shelf on a blackened steel hanging frame we were able to inject a touch of industrial style edge to what is otherwise a contemporary shaker style kitchen.”
The kitchen exudes a country Mediterranean vibe with a colourful patterned tiled backsplash and sawn timber cabinetry, and the welcoming space has been made even more inviting with the addition of a banquette seat beneath the bay window that looks out onto the garden, helping to connect the interior and exterior spaces and give a purpose to a space that might otherwise be wasted. The window seat even has ingenious hidden storage built in too!
“Rooms that don’t require light can be placed in darker parts of the home, allowing more light into the rooms that benefit from it,” added director Sebastian Sandler. “In this project, the view from the front door now extends towards the garden window that was once the downstairs cloakroom, while hard functions such as the plumbing, has been moved to the front of the house out of direct view.”
XUL also reduced the number of bedrooms on the second floor, from three smaller bedrooms to two large and spacious ones, both with generous en-suite bathrooms. In combining two previous rooms, the landing space has been reduced imperceptibly to allow for the creation of more usable – liveable – space alongside smaller liminal ones, such as corridors.
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