|Project Name||House on the corner||Posted in||Interior Design||Location||
|Architecture Practice||Michaelis Boyd||Completed||Summer 2020|
London and New York based architecture practice Michaelis Boyd have a talent for imbuing historic buildings with a modern outlook that highlights rather than overshadows their architectural heritage, just as they have evidently masterfully accomplished in this conversion of a listed Victorian property in north London. Working in collaboration with interior designer Simone McEwan of Nice Projects, they have transformed the detached residence—known to locals as “the house on the corner”—into a modern family home befitting a highly sociable and growing family. Underpinned by a series of bold interventions aiming to increase floor space, and bring in both natural light and views of the garden, the renovation strikes a fine balance between past and present artfully combining period details with contemporary furnishings and playfully introducing bold splashes of colour into the otherwise low-key interior.
In keeping with the history of the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area, the neighbourhood where the Victorian house is located, the exterior has been preserved in its original design, the only notable exception being a second-floor mansard extension which replaced the existing butterfly roof, and a large ground-floor extension in the back of the building which replaced an existing space. Additionally, the garage, which stands separate from the main building, has been converted into a family room with a new timber-clad passage connecting the two volumes, while a new flat roof shed in the garden houses the owner’s photography studio. Clad in charred timber boards, the minimalist-designed shed makes a beautiful addition to the verdant garden which landscapers Rich Landscapes have revamped with their signature naturalistic planting approach.
In the interior, the most significant intervention is a new staircase with semi-circular landings that connects all four floors, from the refurbished basement to the new-built second-floor mansard. Set in a vertical void and crowned by a new skylight, the staircase funnels natural light throughout the house with the help of Crittall glazed doors and partitions harmoniously paired with period details such as the decorative panelling in the formal living areas. The subtle amalgamation of modern and traditional elements underpins the understated elegance of the interiors, as does the neutral colour palette of white and natural wood.
Make no mistake though, this isn’t your typical monochrome design-led refurbishment, as several striking moments of colour attest, from the atmospheric petrol blue family room and dark forest green study, to the vibrant egg yolk yellow powder room. An eclectic collection of artworks further accentuates the spaces as does a selection of statement furniture pieces, both classic and contemporary, such as Utrecht armchairs designed by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld in 1935 and the Pilotis Low Table by Malgorzata Bany, a young designer who works with Jesmonite, a synthetic material that can be cast to resemble wood and stone.
Housed in the new ground-floor extension, the dining room is a bright and airy space with expansive views of the garden courtesy of large Crittall glazed doors and a long skylight which allow ample natural light to reach the kitchen at the back of the space. Straddling elegance and informality, a plain wooden dinner table is paired with an L-shaped, tawny-hued leather banquette sofa to create a setting that can accommodate large dinner parties just as comfortably as family breakfasts. A large built-in window seat in the kitchen offers more opportunities for the family to hang out together, as does the oak pergola and matching banquette outside. Elements such as these were designed to cater to a highly sociable and growing family, as well as encapsulate Michaelis Boyd’s ethos in creating characterful buildings that reflect their owners’ lifestyle.