Houzz Tour: A Loft Conversion Transforms a Top Floor Victorian Flat
Converting the loft, installing huge skylights and designing a glass and steel staircase added space and light to this north London flat
“The logistical complications of taking the roof off to build the dormer extension while living downstairs were huge,” says Ewan Walker, who owns the property and worked on the redesign. “We managed to do it in about three weeks, but I had to be really organised to pull that off!”
Who lives here Ewan Walker, co-founder of a design and build firm
Property A second-floor flat with a loft in a large Victorian villa, which is now semi-detached and converted into flats
Location Highbury, London
Size 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Designer Ewan Walker and the team at MADE Property
Photos by James Hawley Photography
Ewan Walker bought this flat in 2013. It had been rented out and was in a tired but habitable state. “I was really attracted to the three arched Victorian windows in the front, and wanted to make the most of the space there,” he says. “There was a small kitchen pushed into the far corner, so we put in a long steel beam on the internal wall of the living room and could then open out the space.”
Nose around another – but very different – Victorian flat
b1 kitchen, Bulthaup. Hob and oven, Gaggenau. Yeoman zinc dining table; Yeoman benches, all Habitat.
Brick tiles, Reclaimed Brick-Tile.
“We also had to provide samples to building control to prove that, once we’d put them together, they would meet the regulations and act as a fire screen,” says Walker. “We inserted flame-retardant material into the join between the door blanks.”
Flex, fittings and bulbs, Urban Cottage Industries.
The walls were not perfectly straight, so a batten framework had to be constructed first, to which the panels were then fixed. Walker added an LED strip into the recessed handrail to create a warm seam of light that leads you upwards.
Discover how the right staircase could be the key to your perfect loft extension
“I got a steel fabricator to put in the framework for about £2,000 and a structural engineer designed the stairs for about £500,” he says. “Then it’s triple laminated glass for the treads and double laminated for the balustrades, which cost around £5,000.”
The whole design came in at a much more reasonable £7,500. “I had to do a fair bit of running around between the trades and a lot of the measurements were my own, so there was some risk! But I saved money,” says Walker.
A team of builders worked on the extension and a separate team of roofers constructed the new roof and fitted two skylights. “We did run into a couple of rainstorms during the three weeks of work and the tarpaulin we were using to secure the roof was becoming less watertight the more we used it,” says Walker.
“I remember getting up on a couple of stormy nights and walking barefoot through all the sawdust and screws to reposition buckets, hoping none of the rain would come through to the bedroom below. It was a relief when the skylights went in and the whole roof was sealed!”
Wall lights, Urban Cottage Industries. Bed; bedside tables, all Habitat.
Walker didn’t fit doors to the hanging space tucked into the eaves. “Once we’d put in the floor and the insulation in the ceiling, this all sandwiched-down on the head height. I’m 6ft and would have been crouching to open a door. It seemed a bit of a faff.”
Leaving doors off also increases the sense of space, as the floor stretching into the eaves can be seen.
An internal window allows additional light from the stairwell skylight to flow into the bedroom.
“They are 800mm x 800mm and work well in the space,” he says. “I put the toilet centrally against one, the basin against another, and the towel rail against one, too. They lend a kind of logic to the layout.”
All sanitaryware, Duravit from QS Supplies. Tiles, Tower Ceramics.
Impressed by this beautiful two-floor flat? Add your thoughts to the Comments below.