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materials with careful detailing. The project had to be about perfecting what was already there, without cutting corners.


AN ALTERNATIVE APPROACH However, as the design process got underway everyone involved began to realise that something just wasn’t right about the layout of the house. “We knew that if we wanted to get the refurbishment right first time, much more work needed to be done,” Ruta explains. The existing ground-floor extension had an unsightly and old-fashioned roof lantern and the home’s oversized windows were overpowering the internal spaces. It was also convoluted in terms of layout, with a number of ceiling levels and structural elements exposed in a problematic way. “We had to find a way to tidy up and simplify the layout of the ground floor,” David explains. On the top floor, the layout didn’t function well; there was no real flow between each living zone. Coming to a decision together, David, Martin and Ruta decided the whole house needed to be reconsidered. “We all agreed that it just wasn’t worth adding something beautiful upstairs, when the rest of the house wasn’t working,” says Ruta. The project quickly became much more all- encompassing and the team began looking at how to bring the whole house together. The changes would all be aesthetic, making the


40 www.sbhonline.co.uk


planning and design process that little bit smoother. “The aim now was to remove all the aspects of the house that would become troublesome later down the line,” Ruta says. “We decided to take a wider approach and began designing a complete facelift that would include garden landscaping, the remodelling of the existing rear extension, a ground-floor refurbishment and reconfiguration of the first and second floors.”


GETTING TO PLANNING Working together on the design, the group met regularly to hone their ideas. David and Martin had plenty of thoughts about what they wanted, but were also keen to take on suggestions from Ruta. Their focus was on creating a seamless design that would work for years to come. The key to the design was to create internal spaces that were arranged in a comfortable way. Every aspect needed to flow together effortlessly. Since the house is located in a Conservation


Area, formed from prominent Victorian residences, any exterior details needed to be considered carefully. So, instead of leaving conversations with the local planning department until last, Ruta included them in every aspect of the design process. “We knew the rooftop pod and terrace would need to meet certain criteria,” she explains. “With period properties, keeping your design sympathetic to the surrounding architecture is


may/june 2021


INTERIOR The home’s chic and simple interior effortlessly blends Victorian elements with contemporary design


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