This central London flat was designed by VW+BS and belongs to an extended family of several generations from South East Asia, who regularly visit London for work and pleasure.
There could be, at the same time, two families staying for two weeks holiday or just two adults in London for a few days of work. Therefore the brief to us was to create as flexible a space as possible that could accommodate a variety of functions, and be simple in design.
Our starting point was to see how we could reinstate the first floor room back to something of its originally intended proportions so that the three tall arched french windows at the front could be restored and the lovely terrace overlooking the street with its wrought iron railings be brought back into use.
Then we wanted to make use of the height of the space (4.2 metres [14 feet]) so we included an additional mezzanine bedroom/study over the open plan kitchen, which could be closed off with a translucent polycarbonate folding screen – a large one opening on to the main living space, and a much smaller screen looking over the staircases at the back. When open, there are views from the front right through to the back bedrooms. At the same time, the spaces can be closed off with a large floor to ceiling pivoting door so that people can come and go with a level of privacy.
The finishes are simple – oak floors and joinery, and white painted plaster walls – so that it can suit the tastes of all the visitors. Although the feel of the flat is now very contemporary, (there were no original Victorian features left in the flat when we started work) the sense of an elegant Victorian drawing room has been partly restored by the careful refurbishment of the windows and shutters along the full width of the front.