Eleri Lloyd, Senior Interior Designer at Landmass London, is no stranger to designing for those with an aesthete’s eye, as she was part of the team that won Best Residential Property in the United Kingdom. But she was about to embark on her trickiest endeavour to date: transforming an important 58 m2 historic home into a 305 m2 light-infused contemporary residence on a difficult site.
“A lot of things inspire me as a designer; architecture, nature, textures – but what inspires me the most is aiming to achieve an amazing space despite any constraints,” says Lloyd.
Her philosophy is deftly illustrated in the Ladbroke Grove property. “It’s a complete transformation of a site. The space has been designed in a way that the floor plates feel large, airy, light and open-plan,” she explains.
The home’s roots are historic, as it was an end of terrace, WWII bomb site ripe for conversion. Today, it features a double basement the height of two double-decker buses, and is one of the last projects of its kind in light of the planning permission regulation restrictions being implemented in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea on basement excavations.
“We always take inspiration from great architects and styles. I have always been inspired by the clean lines and beautiful sculptural elements within Le Corbusier’s architecture, which might have influenced certain elements of the project,” Lloyd says.
The project was extensive in every sense. “The five-bedroom home has increased in size five-fold. The construction took two years and it was a difficult site to work on,” she continues.
To achieve the light-filled design, Landmass London used a spatial combination of lightwells and roof glazing. “The stairwell and rear glazing are the most remarkable elements. The helical staircase is a key sculptural element of the house; it has a roof light above, allowing light to filter down all the way to the basement, and its curved concrete style looks solid but elegant at the same time,” she says.
However, it’s not merely the intelligent use of space that distinguishes this property – it’s also quality. While other firms may have tried to desperately try and squeeze in an additional bedroom, Landmass decided to dedicate the first floor to a luxurious master suite, including a grand master bedroom, beautifully presented en-suite bathroom the size of a bedroom, and walk-in wardrobe and dressing area.
Lloyd explains the project’s many challenges: “It was a challenge to get an exterior design which fitted in with the Victorian street scene, whilst also being contemporary. Although securing planning permission was relatively straightforward, we invited local residents to an event at the church hall, to give them the opportunity to share their opinions. At this event we showcased the designs but, ultimately, no major objections arose, and so no significant changes were necessary.”
Attention to detail is also evident in the interior architecture. The sculptural helical staircase provides a stunning central feature and allows light to flow all the way from the glazed roof down into the lowest floor.
“As the property has many sculptural and architectural elements, we wanted them to be the main focus, so we chose subtle colours and details, such as shadow gaps, that worked in harmony and complimented the space itself. We also wanted a fresh and light palette, and we introduced contrasting elements in the bathrooms and en suites, “says Lloyd.
Each room speaks to the others in a timeless, elegant fashion. “The layout of the property enables natural flow through the space, and the materials and details specified create a continuity throughout the whole house. For example, a joinery detail in the wardrobes in the basement will also be found in the wardrobes on the top floor. All the bathrooms have a minimalistic feel with similar sanitary ware, and although we have specified different wall finishes in each bathroom, the overall palette is continuous,” she says.
Her favourite space: “The lower ground floor, where you have the kitchen, dining and family areas, all opening up to a small garden. It’s filled with natural light, even though you are technically underground!”
The property is truly the epitome of the contemporary London home. “The spaces are more open plan, with fewer smaller rooms, but it retains certain features, such as the ceiling height, which is similar to what you would usually find in a period property. The interior is clean and understated, with subtle refined details which are timeless.” We think it will be enjoyed for generations.