Houzz Tour: A Dark Modern Mews House Gets an Inspired Makeover
A limited colour palette and boosted natural light have transformed this three-storey house into a serene home
“I knew it could be amazing, because the house itself is really nicely built in terms of the windows, light and ceiling height,” she says. However, although it was all pretty recently done, the décor wasn’t to the new owners’ taste and parts of the layout felt dark and uninspiring. Check out the before and after photos below and discover how Kate created an airy, coherent home.
Who lives here? A professional couple and their two cats
Location Stoke Newington, north-east London
Property A modern mews house
Size Four bedrooms and three bathrooms
Interior architect Kate Whitfield of An Artful Life
The original hallway was starved of natural light, so Kate’s first priority was to open it up and create more connectivity between the spaces. Replacing solid wooden doors with glazed ones lets in light and allows a view out to the garden.
The inspired idea of fitting glazing above and to the side of the door has further boosted the light and sense of space. Pale walls and engineered oak flooring throughout, meanwhile, have enhanced the flow and created a cohesive aesthetic.
Pendant lights, Lampsy.
“It was a really dark and poky little kitchen,” Kate says. “The homeowners are keen cooks, so they decided to move the kitchen onto the upper mezzanine and create a snug below.”
A key element of the brief involved taking the couple’s two cats into account. “We had to think practically about cat hair and scratching,” Kate says. “For example, the couple really liked bouclé fabric, but we couldn’t go for that because the cats would have had a field day, so we stuck with plainer fabrics and leather.”
The atmosphere of the house was also a key part of the brief. “There isn’t much colour, because they wanted everything to be really calming and serene.”
A trio of delicate pendant lights at different heights emphasises the ceiling height, but also brings the level down a bit, so it feels cosier when the couple are sitting on the sofa.
Vertigo pendant lights, Petite Friture. Suita sofa, Vitra. Leather chairs, Made In Design.
“The TV is concealed within the bottom part of the cabinet. The lower bifold doors hinge back on themselves 180 degrees, so that, when the TV’s on, they don’t swing out into the middle of the space,” Kate explains.
Joinery throughout, designed by Kate Whitfield; made by Luxe Projects London.
“I do a lot of bespoke joinery in my projects, and I’m into modernist design,” Kate says, adding that sustainability is always in mind. “If you design something well, using good-quality materials, and you pick a timeless design that someone is always going to love, then they’re not going to need to change it,” she says.
Dining chairs, Made In Design. Artwork, HKliving. Linear pendant, Monologue.
Leather sofa, Aram Store.
More: When Does it Make Sense to Build in Bespoke Storage?
Kitchen, Sola Kitchens. Bar stools, &Tradition. Porcelain floor tiles in Arctic Siberian, Solus Ceramics.
Garden construction and joinery, Luxe Projects London.
Mirror, Heal’s. Basin and taps, Lusso Stone. Yubi wall tiles, Domus. Pendant light, Holloways of Ludlow.
Another desk in the window has a screen next to it that can be pulled right across to create a backdrop for Zoom calls.
Adjustable-height desk, Utility Design.
Tiles, Bert & May.
Mirror; basin, both West One Bathrooms.
The steel rod shelving unit creates an interesting Zoom backdrop from the desk, which is on the opposite wall by the room’s window.
Steel rod unit, Mogg, available at Made In Design.
“We had long discussions about whether to have glass doors to the bedroom or not, but then went for it, as we realised there’s no reason for anyone else ever to come up here,” she says.
Artwork, Saatchi Art.
Arlo throw, Soho Home. Bedside wall lamp, Ferm Living.
Lounge chair, HKliving.
Over the course of a year, Kate and her team took the house from bare bones through to choosing plants and bed linen. Her advice to anyone embarking on a similar project? “If you’re going to get an interior designer on board, do it early,” she says. “And to get all the details right to this level, you must give the project time.”
Freestanding bath, Lusso Stone.
What’s your favourite part of Kate’s transformation of this home? Let us know in the Comments.