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An Architect’s Minimalist Haven in North London, Maximized for Entertaining

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An Architect’s Minimalist Haven in North London, Maximized for Entertaining

Theo Games Petrohilos always knew he would renovate his North London apartment, so he spent the first couple of years as its steward throwing big parties and making a mess of it. But the architect and Unknown Works co-founder still wanted to be able to host convivial gatherings after he overhauled the lower-ground floor home, so he focused the remodel on creating an indoor-outdoor living space infused with natural light and lots of seating for guests.

To accomplish this, Theo added a side infill and a one-meter rear extension, which he filled with a bright minimalist kitchen that opens to the lush, jungle-like garden. He also carved out a tiny courtyard for cross-ventilation and extra sunlight, since there aren’t any windows at the front of the unit. “We struck on making it as light as possible, so we also have lots of whites and light-colored materials,” he says, referring to the use of birch plywood and pale gray concrete throughout.

Much of the furniture, from the timber storage bench to the long, stainless steel dining table, is set on casters, so the place can accommodate a soirée at a moment’s notice. “We wanted to have flexibility so that we can get a lot of people in here whenever we can,” Theo explains. “We move the table inside and out; we spin it around. We’ve got the wardrobes on hidden casters so that you can reconfigure the back of the space, too.” It’s an entertainer’s oasis.

Let’s take a tour:

Photography by Lorenzo Zandri.

smooth poured concrete floors start in the garden, with its leafy fig and bay t 17
Above: Smooth poured-concrete floors start in the garden, with its leafy fig and bay trees, and continue through the sliding glass door to the interior.
theo paid special attention to the layout and dimensions of the kitchen. &# 18
Above: Theo paid special attention to the layout and dimensions of the kitchen. “We cook a lot, so the ergonomics of it really needed to work well, and we’re super happy with it,” he says. “One of the main things was having enough counter space. The side of it flaps up so that we can get even more space if we want. And we’ve got a spice drawer that pops out next to the cooker, which is a delight.”
brushed stainless steel composes the countertop and backsplash, while the cabin 19
Above: Brushed stainless steel composes the countertop and backsplash, while the cabinets are made of birch plywood with a white oil finish. “You can still read the grain,” Theo notes. “You still have some warmth from the wood, as well, which pairs really nicely with the concrete. It still it reflects light.”
theo couldn&#8\2\17;t find a dining table that suited his needs, so he desi 20
Above: Theo couldn’t find a dining table that suited his needs, so he designed one himself that’s sleek and fits up to 16 people. “This laser-cut panel of stainless steel is just the format that comes straight off the factory floor, so we didn’t actually cut it,” he says. “We just sanded down the edges and built a frame as simple as we could do it. It really didn’t need to shout too much.” The table is surrounded by mid-century Giancarlo Piretti for Castelli chairs.
the ceiling is free of recessed can lights, per theo&#8\2\17;s preference.  21
Above: The ceiling is free of recessed can lights, per Theo’s preference. “I don’t like seeing bare light bulbs,” he admits. “I just don’t like seeing the glare from them. Lighting needs to be something architectural and needs to be something built-in.”
a linear aluminum pendant, another custom unknown works creation, provides illu 22
Above: A linear aluminum pendant, another custom Unknown Works creation, provides illumination over the sink.
the little pebble lined courtyard isn&#8\2\17;t meant for lounging—i 23
Above: The little pebble-lined courtyard isn’t meant for lounging—it’s a clever tool for ventilation. “You just open up the doors and it draws all of the air through, so despite the fact we’ve got lots of light when it’s super sunny and hot, it’s super cool as well,” Theo says.
in the bedroom, the mattress is elevated on a plinth equipped with drawers for  24
Above: In the bedroom, the mattress is elevated on a plinth equipped with drawers for storage. “Because my dad was an architect and my mom was a designer, I grew up in a bedroom which had multiple levels in it and then the bed just was on a platform, so I don’t mind not having a conventional bed situation,” says Theo.

Above the bed is a hidden LED strip for moody ambiance. “All the lighting generally in the flat is warm, so 2700K,” he says. “Everything’s on dimmers. We mostly keep things quite nice and settled.”

a beige hay mags soft low sofa is sits beneath a wall of books and framed art. 25
Above: A beige Hay Mags Soft Low sofa is sits beneath a wall of books and framed art.
the bathroom is crisp and contemporary, with subtle terrazzo floors and a concr 26
Above: The bathroom is crisp and contemporary, with subtle terrazzo floors and a concrete sink. “We wanted to keep it super simple,” Theo says. “It is something that my dad always did, just simple white tiles. There’s no need to do anything really fussy with that. And we’re obsessed with grids, so that comes through there.”
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Frequently asked questions

What inspired the renovation of Theo's North London apartment?

Theo Games Petrohilos always knew he would renovate his North London apartment to host convivial gatherings.

What additions were made to the lower-ground floor home during the remodel?

Theo added a side infill and a one-meter rear extension, creating an indoor-outdoor living space infused with natural light and lots of seating for guests.

What materials were used in the renovation?

Birch plywood and pale gray concrete were used throughout the space for a light and minimalist feel.

How is the furniture designed to accommodate gatherings?

Much of the furniture is set on casters for flexibility, allowing for easy reconfiguration of the space to accommodate a soirée at a moment's notice.

Why is the courtyard included in the renovation?

The courtyard is for cross-ventilation and extra sunlight since there aren't any windows at the front of the unit.

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