Clapton is one of those East London districts that often goes under the radar, with a spirit that straddles breezy and bold. With a glittering trail of restaurants and bars, an unmissable weekend market on Chatsworth Road, and a canal that sidles past it, its part-zen, part-zappy character was what caught the attention of one London family. Having set their hearts on an unassuming Victorian
For Iwan and Emily, the remodel was all about finding the light—literally. “We carefully reshaped the exterior and interior to amplify the natural light. Interventions to the architectural shell were executed to maximise the daylight through light wells,” says Iwan. As for the palette, the architect-and-designer duo chose a shade of beige that gave the house a perennially meditative air.
Luckily, the kitchen opens out into a tiered concrete garden so stunning, it’s guaranteed to snap you out of a trance. “Lauren Finch of Tyler Goldfinch used a subtle mix of textured planting and landscaping to complement our vision,” shares Emily. True to her words, an ethereal silver birch tree takes pride of place in a circular well of pebbles; a hat-tip to Japanese minimalism against a backdrop of abiding Englishness. With its familiar ginger tones, sun-blanched fence and dove-grey brick wall, the garden looks like it could have been exhaled out of the interior in one circular breath.
Back inside, the ground floor lounge and study mildly reference the home’s traditional Victorian heritage in the way of deep cream velvets and bouclé, restored cornicing, and new white oiled oak flooring.
“The house combines English minimalism with Japanese influences. A considered selection of mid-century Italian pieces, and pieces from contemporary Japanese designers were chosen,” says Iwan, adding, “Unexpected sculptural artworks give the rooms a playful, youthful vibe.”
The bathrooms are similarly old-world, with English limestone floors and hand-finished tadelakt walls. By the time you reach the first floor though, it’s almost as if you’ve stepped out of the past and into the present through some sort of outlandish time capsule. More contemporary in style and spirit, the upper floors are steeped in golden sunlight, thanks to a clever little loft extension. “Emily Sophie Pearce of Beton Brut and Laura Fulmine of Modern Art Hire were chosen to furnish and style the house,” says Emily.
As you move through the house, the natural light curiously follows–even into the basement. “An extensive excavation resulted in two separate basement spaces, each provided with natural light through three separate light wells at the rear and front of the house,” says Iwan. The basement floor plays host to large bedrooms with built-in storage, as well as a sunken multi-purpose studio space directly beneath the garden level. “Anchored by a striking light well, the studio serves as the perfect hideaway for home-based wellness activities or artistic pursuits,” muses Emily.
The designers left the concrete voids raw and the ceilings exposed, “to emphasise the construction process”. But it’s not all bare-boned around here: Gleaming polished concrete floors (with under-floor heating, no less) counterbalance the rusticity of the ceilings. When it comes to levels, it’s clear that the deeper you go, the more you discover–almost like a rabbit hole that leaves you wanting for more.
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