WIMBLEDON FAMILY HOUSEVictorian Living Room, London
The ground floor of the property has been opened-up as far as possible so as to maximise the illusion of space and daylight. The two original reception rooms have been combined to form a single, grand living room with a central large opening leading to the entrance hall.
Victorian-style plaster cornices and ceiling roses, painted timber sash windows with folding shutters, painted timber architraves and moulded skirtings, and a new limestone fire surround have been installed in keeping with the period of the house. The Dinesen douglas fir floorboards have been laid on piped underfloor heating.
Photographer: Nick Smith
What Houzz contributors are saying:
Remove a wallThis is a big house, but the hall was cramped before the owners decided to take out part of the wall that divides the living room and entrance. Not only does this mean that light can flow freely everywhere, but the new open-plan design also makes the entire ground floor of the house feel larger. Always get professional advice about how Building Regulations may affect your design before committing to remove a wall. The now-spacious hall looks stylish thanks to that statement pendant.Find builders in your area in the Houzz Professionals Directory.
Designate a bits and bobs spaceEvery home has an assortment of odd things that don’t quite fall into one clear category. This is where the bits and bobs drawer comes into play. Everything should have a home and this is the home of those odd widgets, tools and useful things. Add drawer dividers to instil a little bit of order, otherwise you won’t find what you’re looking for when you do need it. And be ruthless – only store things you know you actually need, and be sure to have a clear-out if the contents start to overflow!
Match in pairsIt may sound like the sort of problem most of us wouldn’t mind having, but filling a large space with the right seating can be just as tricky as trying to pack everything into a small one. To avoid people having to shout at one another from opposite ends of the room, try creating separate seating zones, and to keep the look considered not chaotic, double up the designs, as seen here. Clustering the sofa and a pair of chairs creates one zone, while matching pouffes breaking up the dead space in the centre of the room forms another. Using tonal shades of velvet on all the furniture helps to link the pieces, and, when required, the chairs and pouffes can be easily moved and regrouped to accommodate more people into the social hub.
Draw the eye upwardsA huge chandelier or light fitting is another way to capture attention and create a talking point. Pairing a modern fitting with a period room makes a great contrast; similarly, an ornate, antique chandelier would make a wonderful juxtaposition in a contemporary scheme. When choosing a design, generally the lower the ceiling, the smaller the light fitting should be to help keep a room in proportion (there are always exceptions, of course, but it’s a good rule of thumb).Take a look at these ideas for working with Victorian ceiling roses and chandeliers
Remove the hall wallTaking out the wall that separates your downstairs living space from your entrance hall ensures the light coming in from a glazed front door, as here, travels further into your home. Not only will this help to light the living area more effectively, the open-plan design will also make the whole floor feel larger.If your hallway wall is a supporting one, you may need to replace it with an RSJ (rolled steel joist) beam to take the load from above.Browse open-plan living rooms to see how you could replicate the look.
Frame with simple shuttersSolid shutters, as opposed to slatted plantation ones, bring a touch of tradition to a home, as they have been used since Georgian times for both privacy and security. Here, simple white wooden shutters provide a neutral frame for the street view.Discover versatile ways with window shutters
Divide a spaceUsing rugs to mark off each area in an open-plan space is a tried and tested formula, but you don’t have to go for contrasting colours. This scheme uses a pair of generous but neutral rugs, with statement chandeliers above each. They do the job without stealing attention from the gorgeously velvety furniture. Explore more style benefits of rugs