The clock was ticking. Lena de Casparis and Scott O’Donnell had six months to overhaul their terrace house fixer-upper in East London. “We could only afford to rent somewhere for that time, and we have two young daughters, so living in a building site wasn’t practical; we had to make the project happen,” says Lena. “These house s have a tendency to feel like dark tunnels,” she adds. “Ours was very in need of modernization.”
The couple are accustomed to working on deadline and thinking deeply about details—Lena is the associate editor and culture director of Elle UK and Scott is a film producer at Somesuch. In addition to adding more light, their priorities for the remodel included hiring local talent, sticking to a tight budget, and incorporating salvaged elements.
These elements all went into the making of the family’s new eat-in kitchen set in a garden addition. The design is by Hølte Studio, a London workshop that combines its own fronts with Ikea cabinet boxes. “We love Hølte’s simple, beautiful work and sustainable approach [[the company calculates its exact CO2-equivalent impact], ” says Lena. “Also they’re right here and could work within our timeframe.” The room pays homage to a range of references, from George O’Keefe’s pantry shelves to the feel of the wooden floor in De Casparis’s childhood home. Join us for a tour.
The couple worked with George Beedle, an architect friend of theirs, on the back addition that enabled them to have a spacious kitchen: “it occupies what was previously a weird garden side alley,” says Lena. Will Elworthy, another friend, made the table: “we knew we wanted something that seats twelve comfortably.”
The counter is quartz, supplied by Hølte, and the overhead shelves are the quartz leftovers supported on Kilburn Shelf Brackets from Corston.
For more companies that customize Ikea kitchen components, see Ikea Kitchen Upgrade: 11 Custom Cabinet Companies for the Ultimate Kitchen Hack.