Rear extension and flat renovation design project from concept to completion.
YEAR 2019 | SIZE 85m2 | CLIENT Tania
The ambitious brief for this project consisted of maximising its space and obtain as much natural light as possible in all areas. Besides, a new bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, a laundry area, and more storage were also required.
Even though the existing flat was quite small (40 sqm) it had available a generous outdoor space: a big backyard of 80 sqm. Fortunately, there was plenty of space for the rear extension of the property and still keep some nice garden area.
Maximising the natural light and the available space of the flat were the main requirements of this project. Along with that, warm and embracing interiors to compete with the cold and wet weather in London were also a must.
We wanted to create warm and cosy interiors with natural textures and rich materials. A cohesive and monochromatic story bringing calm, neutrality, and intimacy through minimal aesthetics to the entire flat. Our goal was to reinvent the space giving it a new spirit, modernising it along with the rear extension, and keeping its essence while creating harmony in the transition between new and old areas.
In The White Interior, we love making the most of small spaces and optimise them as much as possible. We have into account the requirements and lifestyle of the homeowners, at the same time that we listen to the space and develop a design that works in all its senses.
The original layout consisted of 4 interior areas, (bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen) and the outdoor patio and garden. The outdoors were quite big in comparison with the interiors, and we also spotted some wasted square meters, like the corridor to the kitchen, which resulted in inefficient use of space.
The main goal of the rear extension was to get a second bedroom and a bigger kitchen for the flat. Having that in mind, we first focussed on the design of the layout to explore the best options of the space.
We thought about the architecture and the interior design as a whole to completely understand and maximise the true potential of the flat.
In the existing flat, the living room was the main area. It was the place to have dinner, to relax, to work from home, to read, to watch tv… As a result, the owners ended up constantly in the same room. It was important for them that the new design allowed different areas for different purposes and it was clear since the beginning that the living room would be the place for relaxation and entertainment.
A comfortable sofa with nice cushions, a coffee table and shelves to showcase beautiful items, and a projector to create a cinema screen above the chimney were the requirements of this room.
One of our first concerns regarding the rear extension was the natural light in the living room. Extending the flat meant removing the existing garden door from the living room and taking away the only entrance of natural light in that room.
The living room is a place where natural light is a must. In a city like London where sunny days are a precious thing, you have to be extra careful about the light. We couldn’t create a window in the wall, but we could design a big roof light close to the living room and the light could illuminate the kitchen and living room in the same way.
The living room was the place connecting the newly extended area with the existing flat. It was important that this transition was designed in harmony, to ensure that the flat looked unified. There are some details where we focussed to create that unification. For instance, the wood finish from the steps and the wood from the kitchen worktop are similar to the existing wooden floors. This creates a visual theme between the rooms and helps to identify the same style in the whole flat. It tells a story about continuity and unifies old and new in a beautiful way.
Creating harmony and continuity is crucial when designing extensions and open spaces. We wanted to create a harmonious theme in the whole flat and visual continuity between the living room and the kitchen, at the same time that making both areas different spaces.
After a rigorous study of the best possible layout, we started thinking about creating the new kitchen where the existing patio was located. The owners wanted a big kitchen and this was the perfect space for it. In order to modify the minimum structure of the building, we designed the new rooms taking advantage of the original shape of the space, instead of fighting against it.
The patio and garden were quite long and its shape inspired us for the design of the kitchen and dining area. As this space was long and narrow, we designed the kitchen in L shape, so the transverse part could be used as a cooking area with garden views and at the same time, as a visual transition between the kitchen and the dining area.
White, black and wood are the key elements of the design. We played with white and bright tones to maximise the light in the whole flat and, at the same time, we added textures, like the brick wall and marble worktop, to create a story and to make the space more interesting, warm and intimate. Also, a few touches in black to create contrast and the same tone of wood to connect the different areas with the same tone theme.
At the same time that we were outlining the layout and the distribution of the rear extension, we were thinking about the light, how it would work inside the rooms and how to design everything to get as much light as possible for the whole flat.
We planned three roof lights in the kitchen: one big roof light at the beginning, another above the kitchen worktop, and the last one on top of the dining area. These roof-lights would ensure a good distribution of the light in the kitchen and dining room. In addition to that, a large window at the end, framing the beautiful garden, was the perfect background for the kitchen.
The kitchen was taking shape, and we started thinking about the details. As the available space was long and narrow, the best distribution for the kitchen was lineal. We decided to create a high cabinet area on the side and continue this with low cabinets. However, we didn’t want to create a corridor. Our goal was to create the feeling of a room, so we needed to think about a practical use for the wall in front of the kitchen cabinets.
To make the most of all the space in the kitchen area, and to make it feel like a room, we suggested different solutions. To create more interest and functionality, we thought about placing some shelves in the wall in front of the cabinets. This small detail would make a great difference, creating a sense of a complete room and also, maximising the space in an aesthetic and practical way. Adding those shelves, the kitchen feels bigger, as you don’t only focus your attention on one area of the room. It gives more interest to that wall and makes the entire design stand out.
Another requirement was that the dining room needed to be close to the new patio and garden. This area, with the outdoors view, seemed like the best place to enjoy dinner with family and friends.
To connect the outdoors with the interior we suggested bi-fold doors between the patio and dining area. This way, the dining room offered more possibilities. The dining room could be transformed into a bigger outdoor room just opening the doors, with the benefit of shade and immediate proximity to the kitchen. Also, to emphasise this connection, we designed the same floor level in both areas and we used a very similar type of flooring from inside to outside for visual continuity.
The open plan kitchen and dining area allowed great visibility to the garden from almost every area of the flat. To make the flat and rooms look bigger, it was essential to keep everything as open as possible.
With a clever design for the rear extension, thinking about the best distribution of rooms and windows, and dividing areas in a way that is both subtle and practical you can achieve a completely different home.
We always try to bring as much natural light as possible to our interior design projects. The big challenge in this extension was the ensuite bathroom. We needed to choose which rooms were the most important to be placed close to a natural light source. We all agreed that the bedroom and open areas needed to have windows to the outside and that meant that the available space for the bathroom was between rooms, with no access to the exterior or natural light.
After several sketches, designs and ideas, we came up with the best solution for this room. We couldn’t get direct lighting from the outside, but we could get the light from the other rooms. We explored different possibilities and we came out with an idea that elevated the entire bathroom design.
Instead of dividing the shower with a normal wall, a glass panel was proposed. A frosted glass between the shower and the kitchen would allow a good amount of natural light coming from the big roof light of the kitchen. With this solution, we acquired natural light inside the bathroom at the same time that we created an amazing experience for the shower.
From the kitchen side, you could see a beautiful big glass, that would give a touch of colour and some contrast to the area.
The new master bedroom needed to be located at the end of the flat, where the original kitchen was. It was the most protected, quiet and intimate place. The available space was extended to create enough room for a double bed and storage for two people.
In small rooms, we always try to maximise their potential with clever storage, reflecting surfaces and bright colours. In this case, we designed two different wardrobes, one on each side of the bed and one built-in shelf integrated into the wall as the side table. To maximise the storage capacity, we proposed a bed frame with drawers.
To create depth and the sense of a bigger room we decided to put mirror doors on the right side of the wardrobe. These mirrors would reflect the window and the light, making the room feel bigger and brighter.
We always think about function when we design any interior. No matter how small it is, we find solutions to make it as practical as possible. On this occasion, with a narrow space for the entrance, we needed to find space to store coats, shoes, and bags. The goal was to make the most of the available space, keeping it simple and as integrated with the living room as possible.
We designed a low cabinet to place between the sofa and the entrance door. Several drawers and capacity for shoes, bags and other smaller items, created a generous capacity for this small area.
Another space for coats was required and it needed to be close to the entrance door. What we did was take advantage of the previous existing layout and we proposed an entrance wardrobe and laundry cupboard where the corridor was located.
The space for the wardrobe was quite narrow and long, so to make the most of it, we designed a pull-out cabinet easy to use and with enough capacity for several coats and shoes in its lower area. This way, the wardrobe was integrated into the living room in a perfect location for its daily use.