ISSUE 26  |  Block Party

House Call: Endless Summer in a London Victorian

June 30, 2014 11:00 AM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

Entertaining in the summer is all about being relaxed and outdoors. It’s a realistic strategy in predictable climes, but in some parts of the world (such as the UK), changeable weather and entertaining outdoors don’t always translate into easy and relaxed. That’s when architecture can save the day. This Victorian in Beckenham, on the outskirts of London, has been artfully remodeled with materials that bring in the sun by interior designer Jamie Blake of Blakes London. And the heart of the house is a kitchen/dining area with a new conservatory that makes every meal feel like a garden party.

Images via Light Locations.

Above: The kitchen’s glass conservatory extension marries indoors and out. Custom shades diffuse the light evenly across the dining area, and when clouds come in, the shades can be rolled up. 

Above: An herb planter is cleverly inset in the marble-topped kitchen island.

Above: The white brick kitchen is completely open to the dining area; the two areas are gracefully linked by a spindle-back wooden bench.

Above: The kitchen’s palette is sophisticated and summery: whitewashed floors are paired with reclaimed wood cabinets and Carrara marble countertops and backsplash. Charcoal gray upper cabinets anchor the composition.

Above: A pair of adjustable vintage industrial lights provides task lighting.

Above: A detail we haven’t seen before: glass fronted cabinets with tiled interiors.

Above: A trio of vintage factory lights illuminates the dining table.

Above: Dinnerware in white and gray.

Above L: Texture plays a great part in keeping the neutral palette warm. In the library, charcoal-gray walls gain depth via a square lattice. Above R: The same charcoal gray is used in the kitchen’s overhead cabinets, which are glazed to keep a transparent and airy feel; their interior white tiles introduce another layer of texture.

Above: Contrasting with the charcoal gray, the library’s books bring color into the room. LIke the look? See Black Magic: Architects’ Top 8 Paint Picks. And for an instant library, see 10 Easy Pieces: Bookshelf-Printed Wallpaper.

Above: In the living room, light-colored neutral furnishings and walls are grounded by dark wood floors.

Above: The square lattice detail in the living room has a more traditional look than on the walls of the library.

Above: The master bedroom is designed in the soothing tones of driftwood. The upholstered headboard rests against a wall paneled with whitewashed reclaimed wood; the wood floor, too, has been been lightened. To get started on your own whitewashed floors, see our recent Remodeling 101: Easy Whitewashed Scandi Floors.

Above: A detail of the paneled wall.

Above: Lattice work reappears, this time in an outsized pattern, in the master bathroom across the hall.

Above: The sink is set in a vintage wood basin stand. 

Above: The pale green/gray lattice wall serves as a textured backdrop for a claw-footed tub. (If you’re looking for an old-fashioned tub, see 10 Easy Pieces: Classic Freestanding Bathtubs.)

Above L: A partition provides storage while creating separate bathing and shower areas. Above R: The white-tiled shower has a dramatic black shower head. In High/Low Black Kitchen Faucet, we take a look at more black plumbing fixtures.

If you like the look of this house, we have more to show you: UK interiors stylist Twig Hutchinson uses a similar palette in Designer Visit: Rough, Rustic and Refined, and another of our favorite London remodels relies on The Power of Pastels.  Over on Gardenista, Texas architects Clayton & Little (members of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory) create a modern version of a Victorian landmark in Outbuilding of the Week: Travis Heights Art Studio.