outh Kensington in London, has always been a favourite upper-class stomping ground. Tree-lined avenues and large Victorian terraces give a refined feel to this corner of the world, bringing back the elegance and charm of times gone by. South Kensington is also where our globe-trotting couple have planted roots: she is from Milan and he is from New York. This pair also travels a lot for work between London and New York.
A full refurbishment provides space for a large extended family and visiting friends. This includes a basement extension; a project which lasted approximately two years. The interior remodelling was carried out by Galbiati Arreda of Milan. As this is a listed property with considerable architectural merit, a London studio was drafted in to oversee the building process and help with planning applications.
4 floors, 1 basement, 100 square metres per floor: this is exactly what the clients wanted. The first floor is the main family space and the true heart of this project. Here, partition walls between dining room and living room have been knocked down to create a large open plan area. Large windows flood the room with natural light.
Two Victorian marble fire-surrounds are the focal point of this room. However, enjoying a roaring fire is not so easy, as everyone in London has to abide by the strict rules of the Smoke Control Area. These environmental laws were passed several years ago to help the city of London clear its air, getting rid of its most famous pea-souper; its smog (smoke + fog).
Again, open plan living on the ground floor with no partitions between kitchen and breakfast room. A feature fireplace and small alcoves house built-in storage and domestic appliances. Everything in this room, from the stools to the breakfast bar, is designed so that this family can sit and chat while whipping up something good.
This house was redesigned to create a suitable environment for small children. Key features: white, more white and a lot more white, transparencies, lightness and a compact “roof terrace” which leads to a secluded back garden.
This design detail is more than just a roof-terrace, a glass box built over the basement extension. Nothing could be more perfect for enjoying a little piece of sky in the city. Load-bearing iron beams support a glass floor; this creates a light well over the mini gym below.
Glass and mirrors for a basement flooded with natural light. Rooms for extended family are next to the gym, more guest rooms are on the third floor. Necessity is the mother of all invention: in London, like the rest of the UK, the value of a house is measured by the number of its bedrooms.
A large bathroom filled with natural light, lots of guest rooms, a mini gym for the wife, a covered terrace, a garden for small children and a kitchen where everything has a place. As you can imagine, getting everything just right took some time. The wait was worth while and in the end, this family got its dream home in Central London.
Refurbishmet of a Victorian terrace
Location: South Kensington, London, UK
Size: 400 mq
Interior design: Galbiati Arreda, Milan, Italy
Photos: Courtesy of Galbiati Arreda