Do you dream of open-plan living? I’ve always yearned to live in a house with communal living spaces for all the family. Not to mention free-flowing entertaining space and huge windows for the light to flood in. But the truth of the matter is that this type of house comes with its own problems. There can sometimes be a lack of character for example. Large spaces need to be furnished carefully if they are to look lived-in, and sometimes there is so much space that areas get wasted and become just empty air. And then there’s the problem of storage. There are less walls to place furniture against, and clutter can become a real problem in a family home. The result is sometimes not quite the calm and airy, contemporary space that was envisaged.
The Brief to the Designer
But this lovely, warm-looking house on the edge of Richmond Park has overcome all of these problems with the help of designer Martin Smith of Holloways of Ludlow. The house is an architectural new build, built circa 2000 and the client brief was to refresh the tired interior with a shift away from the ‘noughties coke chic’ look. Specifically Martin was tasked with bringing the house up to date with a new more open staircase, re-orientating the kitchen, replacing the underfloor heating, replacing the original halogen lights for LED, a new master bathroom design and improving the layout of the master bedroom.
The Finished Result
The result is a stunning, sociable space with a kitchen that now allows the family to use it as an approachable central hub on the ground floor. The added bonus is that now the outlook from the big kitchen windows is views onto the park trees. And for entertaining, there is a newly designed bar under the open-tread stairs. Both the kitchen and the bar have a concrete counter top and a mixture of matt oiled oak and exposed ply edges for the remaining cabinets.
The triangular stair tread design has encouraged better light circulation from the roof windows above, and the tread levels also line up with the bookcase. Such attention to detail can make or break a scheme. The stair treads themselves are stacked ply (layers of ply stacked and then cut through to make the triangular shape of the resulting tread). This exposed ply is a slight theme, with the tall elevation facing the stairs also having a stacked ply veneer and the remaining cabinet doors and carcasses having exposed ply edges.
In order to use materials to create a continuity in the space, a new chequer board layout oak parquet floor was laid through the bedroom coordinating with the oak veneer bespoke cabinetry. This use of oak throughout is what makes the house look so warm and welcoming. And the new lighting has resulted in more fixture features to highlight spaces, rather than having loads of spots which can be flat and cold.
House project designed by Martin Smith of Holloways of Ludlow
Lighting available from Holloways of Ludlow
Photography by Nicholas Yarsley
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