Houzz Tour: A Split-level Former Rental Flat Gains a New ‘Room’
Before and after photos show how thoughtful interior design transformed and personalised this home for its new owners
Key requirements included improving the storage and making a stronger connection between the flat and the leafy views from its windows and terrace, which Claudia turned into an all-weather area, effectively extending the kitchen in the process.
Who lives here? A couple and their labrador, Amber
Location A leafy residential street in north London
Property An Edwardian conversion flat on the first floor of a detached house
Size Two bedrooms and two bathrooms
Designer Claudia Dorsch of Claudia Dorsch Interior Design
Joinery CAST – by The London Joinery Co
Contractor Green Sheen Construction
Photos by Malcolm Menzies at 82mmphotography
The flat was comprehensively renovated. Work included interior architecture, a new kitchen, two new bathrooms, new flooring and underfloor heating, a complete rewire and replumb, and bespoke cabinetry throughout. In addition, every piece of furniture, plus all the fittings and textiles, was sourced by Claudia, since the owners had previously rented.
“We were also keen to improve the enjoyment of the terrace,” she says, “which is actually quite spacious and adds another dimension to the kitchen.”
Terrace table and chairs, Fermob.
Outside, she installed a modern awning and three discreet electric heaters that look like speakers and are operated remotely. “It means the owners can enjoy the terrace all year round,” Claudia says.
Seen through here, the storage in the kitchen that’s closest to the doors hides the wiring for the heaters and the awning, as well as the boiler. It also provides space for a vacuum cleaner and ironing board.
In the adjacent cupboard there’s a washing machine and tumble dryer. The cabinet doors are sliding to save space. Above the sliding section there’s more storage for occasionally used items, with a bespoke ladder for access to all the high cupboards in the room.
Claudia explains that the next bank of units “pop out”, creating a deeper area of kitchen storage. Inside these are a full-height fridge, a full-height freezer and a larder unit.
Awning; heaters, all AEL. Wychwood limestone floor tiles (inside and out), Artisans of Devizes.
Claudia reconfigured the kitchen to improve storage and functionality. The run on the right-hand wall includes the sink, with a deep drawer beneath it built in a U-shape to fit around the plumbing. There’s also an integrated dishwasher and a recycling bin.
The kitchen table is, in fact, a bespoke island that doubles as an extra work surface. It can be moved out onto the terrace if needed.
Oven, Rangemaster. Bell Lamp pendant lights, Normann Copenhagen.
The splashback is also more than just functional. “The tiles have that handmade look,” Claudia says. “The glaze is a bit crackly and they look quite tactile.”
Worktops in Lagoon, Silestone. Splashback, Topps Tiles.
Units painted in Pavilion Gray; walls painted in Dimpse, both Farrow & Ball. Glass pendant lights, Rothschild & Bickers.
Claudia also installed an integrated extractor and tiled the surface of the housing that hides it. She then used the surface to mount armed wall lights. The kitchen lighting is a mix of spots, pendants and lamps. “I like different types of lighting in an open-plan space, and that big tiled surface really lent itself to having something pretty and decorative on it,” she says.
The tiled front edge of the panel needed extra attention. “The front edge [where the tiles end] needed to be finished nicely,” Claudia explains. “We found a very slimline pencil trim that makes a really nice finish between the tiled vertical and the plastered and painted horizontal.”
Next to the cooker is a narrow wall, which Claudia had built. The wall divides in two a window which, from the outside, still appears as one. “It’s a four-pane window,” Claudia says. One pane is on the kitchen side, and the other three are in the newly created hallway.
“We wanted to define the space,” she says. “On the other side of that wall is a tiny bench seat [just visible] and, above that, a coat hook. The door you can see is the entrance to the flat.”
Pencil trim, Topps Tiles. Moroccan-style pendant, Vaughan. Blind fabric, Christopher Farr.
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The door to the master bedroom and en suite is to the right of the cupboards (not seen). A door at the end on the left, out of sight, leads into the second bathroom, while the arch leads to the guest bedroom/study. The door on the left of the cupboards leads into the living room.
The alcove units, designed by Claudia, have slightly different proportions to each other, with the one on the left acting as a media unit.
Units painted in Clerkenwell, Mylands. Chandelier over coffee table, Tigermoth Lighting. Walnut flooring, Parquet Flooring.
“The owners wanted a moody, cosy bedroom, so we chose these dark blue walls,” Claudia says. The joinery is also dark – either walnut veneer, to match the new flooring, or painted in dark blue.
“We offset this with large areas of creamy white, such as the linen blind and the linen-wool headboard,” she says. “It makes for a nice contrast.” The accent colour here is red and this runs throughout the flat.
Walls painted in Velvet Blue, Zoffany.
Claudia’s packed in storage all around the flat. Here, for example, the bedside table is also a set of drawers. “I love offering people function as well,” she says.
Pendant light, Ochre. LED light, Porta Romana. Bedside drawers, Chelsea Textiles.
Artist-designed rug, Toulemonde Bochart.
A limited palette of colours and materials keeps the look calm, as the flat isn’t large.
The walk-in shower replaces a bath in this newly configured room.
Tiles, Artisans of Devizes.
“The room is a tight space and designing it was challenging,” Claudia says. “We stripped everything back to the walls and built a wardrobe that includes a desk. It has a pull-out to make the desk deeper when in use.” It’s also in walnut to match the floor.
Cabinets, walls and desk joinery painted in Cadogan Stone, Mylands.
Unit painted in Serpentine, Mylands.
Sofa-bed fabric, Lewis & Wood.
Walls painted in Dimpse, Farrow & Ball. Tiles, Artisans of Devizes.
Which space-maxing ideas would you take from this storage-packed flat? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section.