Our Richmond Conversion, As Seen in ‘House & Garden’ Magazine

Friday, June 27, 2014

Readers of the latest ‘House & Garden’ magazine may have spotted this beautiful open plan kitchen featured in the ‘Kitchen and Bathroom’ supplement. As the article mainly focuses on the features and appliances of the kitchen, I thought I’d add some insight into our part in transforming a gloomy basement into a social hub.

Ben and Victoria approached us to solve a problem that many of our clients face in Victorian homes: not enough light and not enough space.

In architecture, the two go hand in hand. Allowing more natural light and bright surfaces to reflect it creates the illusion of space, while more space lets light spread further throughout the house, filling those dark, neglected corners.

In the basement, Ben and Victoria had neither. We reconfigured a kitchen, utility room, study and shower to just two rooms: a luxuriously large open plan kitchen and a playroom to keep the children within earshot.

As the kitchen sat alongside their patio and garden, there was plentiful potential for natural light. We replaced the entire rear wall with minimal framed glazing and glass doors opening onto a flush patio floor, letting the kitchen extend seamlessly outside.

Light and space were further enhanced by using pocket doors (doors that slide into the wall when open) for the playroom entrance, which also lets Ben and Victoria keep an eye on the children when entertaining guests.

During development, the kitchen was extended outwards by two meters. This provided a balcony for the floor above, along with a lightweight metal staircase leading down to the freshly landscaped garden with terraces and wide steps forming an inviting path from kitchen to grass.

To truly let this new feature shine, timber framed double doors opened the living room directly onto the balcony, while a new glass door at the end of the entrance hall greets you with a view of the garden as soon as you step into the house.

The challenge throughout was ensuring our clients’ ambitions complied with conservation area regulations. As a Building of Townscape Merit within the St. Matthias Conservation area, work on Ben and Victoria’s home required careful negotiation with local authorities, right down to the removal of trees in the garden.

Luckily, everyone was more than happy with the result: a high quality design that enhances and respects the original structure.

To learn more about Ben and Victoria’s fantastic new kitchen and other stand out home designs, pick up the July issue of ‘House and Garden’ magazine. We highly recommend it for anyone looking for inspiration and ideas.

By Oliver Brown