LLI Design recently completed a total redesign and refurbishment of a seven-story townhouse in Highgate, a leafy and desirable part of London.
The owners wanted to create a new environment; they liked the idea of having a contemporary house and agreed that the house lent itself to this. However, they were concerned that modern design could be cold and impersonal.
The brief was to create a contemporary family home, not in a stark, clinical sense, but rather, colorful and practical. The key to the overall success of the design was to re-think the dynamics of all the spaces and change the existing layouts to provide a composition and flow which responded to their brief. The family had an extensive collection of vintage travel posters that they wished to display prominently around the house.
Although the house was 3500 sq ft, with generous room sizes, the house was very vertical comprising of 7 floors, with each room being effectively on a half landing; with a central core, staircase connecting them. Overall the rooms seemed disconnected from each other without flow or relationship between them. The stairs and hallways were poorly lit and had a gloomy feel.
The design revolved around redefining the General Arrangements. The designers brought light into the staircase, by adding extra skylights on the top floor and also adding a floor-to-ceiling window on the third floor half landing.
They also decided that it would have been logistically complex to replace the existing staircase, so they stripped back the current structure, re-clad it in a greyed oak and re-designed spindles, banister rail, and newel posts, to be in keeping with the new warm contemporary aesthetic.
Ground floor and first floor
LLI Design studio maintained The Ground floor configuration. But they redesigned the office to double as a guest room and as a study in which they lined one wall with write on / wipe off wallpaper.
The designers found out that the kitchen was on the on the second floor which was impractical as the heart of the home. So, they relocated the kitchen to the first floor at the rear of the property which had existing access to the terrace and garden by way of 2 pairs of french doors in a masonry wall. They also removed the wall and the french doors and increased the opening to 4 meters. They installed full height sliding doors set in varnished hardwood frames, creating a light and airy kitchen with great views and direct access to the terrace and garden.
Moreover, they positioned the kitchen island to look out over the garden and created a separate pantry. There was an existing chimney but no fireplace, so the designers specified a gas ribbon fire and added some casual seating in the form of a chaise longue. On the other side of the room, they designed a bespoke fitted banquette and specified a contemporary oak dining table to seat 12 comfortably.
Second and third floor
Before the renovation, the kitchen was on the second floor. The designers reconfigured it with a more heavy landing at the top of the stairs, a very generous sized utility room, a gym, and a family TV room.
On the third floor, the designers wanted to create a welcoming, calming, formal living room. So, they removed the existing french windows and Juliette balcony over the terrace below and replaced them with floor to ceiling casement windows set in varnished hardwood frames. They also removed the existing fireplace and designed and installed a contemporary bespoke Pietra Serena stone fireplace with clean, confident lines. Moreover, on each side of it, they created bespoke storage and display units along with a decorative log store feature. The designers also specified a large and very comfortable L shaped sofa and ottoman as well as some comfy armchairs with tables and lamps beside them.
Fourth and fifth floor
On the fourth floor, LLI Design studio redesigned second, third bedrooms, and accompanying ensuite bathrooms. They created them as spaces personal to the family’s children. In bedroom two they designed a fun mid-height bed unit with storage shelves to be used as steps up to the bed and a den underneath with sliding doors. They also redesigned the bathroom with a wall of mirror fronted storage and specified new feature tiles.
The existing master suite on the fifth floor comprised an oversized bedroom, a small ensuite bathroom, and a small dressing room. The designers reconfigured this to become a more modest but better-proportioned bedroom, a luxurious bathroom suite and designed an extended bespoke dressing room.