Open-plan transformation

An apartment in Highgate cleverly renovated.

The design of this open-plan area in a 2 bedroom apartment in North London was a beautiful adventure. 

Ready for a fresh start, Julia and her husband decided to renovate their flat. They wished to maximize the space and to get the home they always wanted. When they moved into their new home, they already knew that they needed to change the space. They wanted to create something special for their family. 

After our initial meeting, I realized that they had a very clear idea of what they wanted to achieve with the renovation. A big space to spend time with family an friends was a must. For that, an open plan seemed the best solution. They both agreed in the style they wanted to achieve: a contemporary style. However, Julia was concerned about getting a “too plain and cold” mood with an excessive modern look. For her, it was important to create that coziness and warmth that keeps you comfortable at home.

Once I had a better understanding of the space, their preferences and personalities, I started working in a mood board. It showed initial ideas about the style and the mood we were expecting to achieve for their renovated flat.

Open plan - Mood board

My proposal for the open plan was to go for a simple Scandinavian style with the touch of luxurious elements. A neutral colour palette will unify the whole apartment. 

The renovation consisted of changing the layout of the flat in order to achieve a new open area. This new open area was composed of a big kitchen with an island, a dining area, and living room.  

The main goal was to keep it open, but at the same time, having the possibility to separate the living room from the rest when needed. Besides that, Julia and her husband wanted to have an extendable dining table to host at least 10 people during weekends and parties at home.

These 2 petitions were quite challenging for that space. However, I was positive that we could find a great solution to fulfill their needs.

open plan kitchen

Before they expected, I came up with a solution. I provided Julia with a detailed floorplan showing exactly how everything would fit and where to put the furniture to make the most of the space.

The shape of the layout and the position of the windows guided the whole open-plan design. The L open shape was very convenient. It provided more intimacy for the living room and a big space to host the kitchen and dining area.

I also provided an initial idea of how the materials and textures worked together in their space. They wanted tiles in the kitchen area and wooden floors for the rest of the flat. My proposal was to highlight the kitchen with the tiles and also, lowering the ceiling in the same area. This would help to create a subtle differentiation between different areas.

Open plan - Layout design

With the detailed floorplan, they were able to have a better understanding of the space. Together we discussed the different options to achieve the ideas they had in mind.

The key element to be able to separate the living room from the rest was a glass folding panel. This kind of panels are so trendy now, and they also make a great function when well designed. In this case, it was very appropriate. It could separate the living room or, create an open plan allowing an extended big table for big dinner parties.

They were excited about all the ideas. However, they wanted to see how it would look and how the design and the glass folding panel would work.

Check this other project where I also used a glass panel to separate spaces: A small warehouse turned into a comfy studio
Open plan - Dining area

With all the ideas, initial drawings, mood boards, and concept, the design was ready to go into detail. I started working on the 3D images to be able to see how the distribution, the materials, and furniture worked together.

I always tell my clients that the best moment to make changes and to explore ideas is the designing time. If you have plenty of time for the design process, you will be able to see the best options and as a result, you will obtain the perfect home for you.
Open plan - Living room

Separating the living room from the rest with the folding panel brings privacy to that room. It also keeps the light and the open sensation in the whole space thanks to the glass.

The living room is a small retreat where they could relax reading a book, having a nice chat or watching tv. For that, the living room has 2 different areas. One reading area, with books on hand and direct light to read at night, and one living area with a large sofa and the tv conveniently placed.

The neutral and appealing tones compose the whole design, creating a monochrome home with rich textures and subtle contrast. In the living room, the contrast appears between the bright scene and the dark armchair, folding panel and cushions. At the same time, the golden pendant light and the marble and the golden coffee table give sophistication to the design.

Open plan - Living room

The glass folding panel not only has a practical function. It works as well as an important beautiful decorative element. It is one of the main elements since it stands out and can be seen from any angle of the open-plan area.

Once opened, the folding panel separates the living room from the rest. With this option, the available space for a dining table is 4 comfortably seatings. However, folding the panel, the space gets bigger. This allows extending the table and to host 10 people in the open plan area.

We also thought about the pendant light. To avoid a weird looking light in one of the corners of the table, we came up with an idea. The solution was to add a small hook in the ceiling. This way, they are able to hang the light up in there when they are using the extended table.

Another important element of the design in the scene is the bookshelf. It frames the dining table and creates the visual transition between the dining room and the living room. It also adds pops of colour with the books in the whole open area.

The final design is practical, contemporary and cozy at the same time, exactly what Julia and her husband wanted.

In the 3D images, it is so easy to understand the space and to refine the design making modifications in a fast way. I created some visual alternatives for the kitchen floor and worktops, different furniture options, and some different colours and patterns for the walls. 

Open plan Kitchen and dining room

Everything was cristal clear now and all they needed was to start.

I finally provided them with all the information about the design project. 3D images, drawings, layouts, furniture list to buy the products online, and all they needed to make it happen.

My work was all done, and after that, I followed up with them a couple of times to see how they were doing. Everything seems to be working great and they are now enjoying their renovated home a lot!

“I loved working with Tania. She came out with clever ideas for our space! It was so helpful to get advice from a professional designer before actually making the decision to buy.”


All pictures on this website are property of The White Interior and Tania Estevez. If you want to use my pictures, please credit www.thewhiteinterior.com | @thewhiteinterior

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