Oak Village, London NW5

Our clients in Gospel Oak asked for our help to redesign the open-plan reception rooms in their Victorian home.  We worked with them to improve storage, update the furniture, lighting and accessories and create a new, vibrant colour scheme across the living room and playroom areas within the space.

Living Room

In Britain we have become accustomed to extending and knocking through the walls of the period houses we acquire.  We're bringing our homes into the 21st century and making them more comfortable for modern life, however in doing so we are also changing the intrinsic proportions of the property and therefore need to consider how this affects the feel and flow of the space. 

This was the case for our clients at Oak Village who had a kitchen extension which had a lower ceiling and therefore a more modern feel in terms of architecture. They wanted to improve the dynamic between the open-plan reception rooms and the transition to the modern extension.  We designed alcove cupboards and floating shelves across the open-plan reception room alcoves. This maximised the storage potential whilst visually unifying the living room and playroom areas.  We suggested replacing the spot lights in the ceiling for two pendant lights, which would have been typical of a property from this era.  The two pendant lights are different but of a similar style, with exposed light bulbs and a black metal fitting - this helps to relate the two spaces.

As a colour scheme, our aim was to create a bright, fresh space that was both calm in the living room yet energetic in the playroom.  The fireplace was originally painted black, but we had instantly felt that it dominated the room too much, especially as it occupied nearly the entire width of the chimneybreast.  We suggested painting it a deep blue grey colour to soften it's impact yet preserve it as the main focal point in the open-plan reception room.

We incorporated magenta pink in the accessories and a mustard yellow footstool - both help to warm up the space and create a cozy atmosphere.  The rugs are patterned as we wanted to introduce larger scale prints to help break up larger blocks of colour.  They also help to delineate the living room and playroom spaces, especially as they are different shapes.


The Design Process


The transition between the rear reception room and the kitchen extension provided a set of dilemmas which required some consideration.  Previously separated by bi-fold doors, the opening to the kitchen was both cumbersome and clashed visually with the tall proportions of the reception room.  The height of the opening had been determined by the lower ceiling height on the extension side.  We looked at various ways of improving this, such as pocket doors and French doors but ultimately settled on building the wall out on the left hand side and panelled sliding doors which were taller than the opening to the kitchen.  We specified a barn door style track as a feature. This created the illusion of height on one side yet the reduced height of door you can see from the kitchen side looks perfectly in proportion to the opening, due to how we spaced out the panels. 


The Design Process

Check out this project's before and after pictures here.