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A London Terrace House with Brilliant Color by Undercover Architecture

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A London Terrace House with Brilliant Color by Undercover Architecture

January 30, 2018

Spotted recently on one of our favorite real estate sites, The Modern House: a 19th-century Grade II listed house, transformed by Undercover Architecture in London into a five-bedroom family home with a workspace on the lower level.

Established in 2012 by Luke Chandresinghe, an architect who studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London and spent two years living in Tokyo, and his art director wife, Estelle, who studied art history and fashion at London’s Central Saint Martins, Undercover Architecture describes itself as a “London-based practice of young, vibrant, maverick architects and designers.”

“We used bold color throughout the house because London is so gray and miserable,” Luke says. “Estelle is from France and she loves color; the proprietary blue accent colors [from Little Greene and Farrow & Ball] bring in a bit of brightness. We also tried to bring in warmth via shades of gray, which softens the light.”

The house is currently on the market (see the listing at The Modern House). Join us for a tour.

Photography courtesy of Michelle Young. See more at The Modern House.

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Above: According to Luke, “the location of the house and its proximity to the railway lines was used as inspiration, embracing the 19th-century Victorian age of British industrial expansion in train travel, combined with architectural qualities associated with this era. The use of steel in architecture was prevalent in these times, with its detailing of stations such as Kings Cross, Paddington, and structures like Crystal Palace were studied to inspire and articulate the design process.”
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Above: Estelle undertook the interior design and art direction; in the living area, a vintage Azilal Carpet anchors the room and a Lampe Gras Floor Lamp provides illumination. Two custom wall-mounted steel bookshelves flank the fireplace; the painting of a mother holding her children is from Kenya. “The tables are Louise XIV from France,” Luke says. “We like the mix of old and new.”
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Above: The L-shaped living space is flooded with natural light from three large sash windows. A Togo Fireside Chair, designed by Michel Ducaroy for Ligne Roset, anchors one corner of the room.
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Above: “Everything is custom designed and built by artisans,” Luke says. “The banquette is covered in an incredibly resilient Alcantara automative material; the same that’s used in Ferraris and other sports cars.”

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Above: Reflected in the mirror: a Dear Ingo Chandelier, designed by Ron Gilad for Moooi, illuminates the dining area, which opens onto the kitchen.
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Above: A marble-topped central island sits beneath an oversize sheet-metal pendant light and alongside handcrafted cabinetry. “Donald Judd was a huge influence in the design of the sculptural steel pieces,” Luke says. “The countertop is polished white blanco marble [you see the strata], and the range is a Mercury.”
“The kitchen, which is quite small, is the one space we struggled to get right,” Luke says. “We inserted a lot of storage in the kitchen island, and created a coffee and tea station. We also store plates and cutlery and the dining room.”

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Above: The kitchen overlooks a tree fern garden.
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Above: A closeup of the custom kitchen sink with welded steel stand; the sink is made from the same marble as the countertops.
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Above: An oversized Stendig Calendar by Massimo Vignelli hangs in the hallway.
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Above: “The vibrant blue staircase adds a powerful dash of color,” Luke says.
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Above: In the master bedroom, a steel headboard contrasts with the rumpled pastel linens; the bedside lamp is from Lampe Gras.
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Above: “In the master bathroom, we were inspired by the Japanese aesthetic,” Luke says. “The walls are solid Canadian maple, with staves made in thin strips to a specific dimension; we sourced them from a company in Ireland that imports Canadian maple. The wood is treated with a layer of exterior grade lacquer and finished with a natural white oil.”

The second floor contains two bedrooms, both with built-in wardrobes, and the first of two bathrooms. The bathroom has a double basin, a walk-in shower with Tadelakt finish, and a Japanese wooden-barrel bathtub.

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Above: The sink has a custom welded steel base.
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Above: The children’s bath area is also paneled in pale maple staves with black tapware.
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Above: The children’s bedrooms all have colorful painted furniture.

See more color-drenched London houses:

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