ISSUE 56  |  In the Library

In a Modern London Addition, Books Come First

January 23, 2013 9:30 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

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The homeowners of a remodeled London townhouse gave their books pride of place, but still managed an appealing (book-free) kitchen addition and a built-in den for their cat.

Spotted on Dezeen; London-based Platform 5 Architects led a Victorian townhome remodel in Hampstead, whose owners flaunt an impressive and growing collection of books. They wanted their tomes at the heart of their home, and Platform 5 obliged with a double-height built-in bookshelf wrapped around a modern staircase, sacrificing two rooms in the process. But the rest of the home was not neglected: A kitchen addition now lures the bookworms outdoors to the garden, and the kitty-in-residence even got her own private niche.

Photography by Alan Williams courtesy of Platform 5 Architects.

Above: The owners forfeited a first -floor bedroom and entertaining room in favor of a double-height library to house their extensive book collection.

Above: The fireplace at left is one of the many period details the owners elected to keep.

Above: The winding stair leads to a small office sited over the ground floor, which reaps light from a clerestory garden window.

Above: Books rest on stair treads at the bottom of the staircase before the oak bookshelves begin to climb the walls.

Above: Three Tall Beat Lights from UK designer Tom Dixon hang above the dining table.

Above: The architects expanded the existing kitchen at the rear of the house by adding an oak rib-and-skin structure to adjoin the brick parting wall.

Above: The kitchen extension added some additional shelving; this time for art, not books.

Above: A built-in seat with corner glazing offers a prime spot for reading indoors while enjoying the garden.

Above: Concrete floors and a concrete kitchen island complement the warmer tones of brick and oak used throughout the home.

Above: A Victorian cornice, antique doorbell, and ornate chandelier supplement modern features like a rolled steel handrail and modern stair trim.

Above: With a built-in den all to herself, Kitty doesn't know how good she has it (though her owners probably do).

Above: A pivot-hinged steel door opens fully to create an indoor/outdoor living experience (a rarity in London).

Above: By bringing the brick parting wall into the interior of the home, the architects created visual continuity between the dining room and garden.

Looking for more inspiration? See 378 images of rooms with books in our gallery of rooms and spaces.