Houzz Tour: A Dated Flat Gains Storage, Style and Light
The layout of this dingy two-storey flat was limiting its potential. Now it functions beautifully and feels welcoming
Eva had free rein on the design, as her clients had worked with her before and trusted her instincts. “They mainly wanted me to optimise the space,” she says. “We didn’t do anything major – it was more that we made lots of little changes that dramatically improved the flat.”
Who lives here? The home is currently being rented by two flatmates
Property A 1980s purpose-built duplex flat
Size Two bedrooms and two bathrooms
Architect Eva Byrne of houseology
Eva outlines the key areas she changed. “We reorganised the kitchen/diner/living room layout, plus the bedrooms, to give a better sense of space. We also re-did the shower rooms,” she says.
She also came up with an ingenious laundry idea and, because the project unfolded during various Covid-19 lockdowns, flexible spaces are also a key feature.
This is the ‘before’ view of the hallway, with the front door to the left and the living area and kitchen straight ahead.
The flooring is covered in new, cushion-backed grey vinyl. A striped runner and a trio of framed artworks add colour.
Just out of shot, by the door, is a small press (cupboard) Eva adapted and turned into a full-size coat storage space.
Eva bought a job lot of three portfolios from a gallery for €30, which she used throughout the flat, placing them in Ikea frames. “It’s not what you spend, it’s how you hang it – the height and precise location and colours,” she says.
“The furniture was all slumped down in one corner, with a huge table and chairs – irrelevant in a flat of this size,” she says.
Eva moved the dining area to a position by the glass doors – as well as reducing its size. “It seemed as if it would be a lovely place to sit,” she says. “A glass table with chrome legs isn’t something I’d normally use, but because the room faces west, the light really bounces off the surfaces of these and into the room, reflecting onto the ceiling.”
Walls throughout painted in Milk Teeth, Colourtrend. Lamp; rug, both Made.com. Interlocking side tables, Woo Design. Table; TV unit, both Kian Furniture. Sofa, EZ Living. Cushion, Ikea.
The vinyl flooring in the hall continues into this room. “It looks like poured concrete, but of course it’s lovely and warm and soft,” Eva says.
Eva updated the wall lights in the alcoves to single versions of the design she picked for the hall, upgraded the electric radiators and added more artwork. All the lights in the flat are on dimmer switches.
Chair, EZ Living. Eileen Gray side table, available at Aram Store. Cushion, Ikea.
The space is just 1.8m wide, so Eva played with the standard distances between items she’d ordinarily aim for. “It’s a bit narrow at the far end, where the drawers are only 60cm away from the fridge, and the breakfast counter is only 90cm away from the units, but I thought it would work,” she says.
This includes a sink with bins beneath it, a dishwasher and an oven with drawers either side. Eva then removed the existing partial wall and replaced it with a useful bookcase, rather than have dead space there.
Another space-saver comes thanks to Eva’s clever new location for the washing machine (scroll down to see where), meaning the appliance no longer has to squeeze into the kitchen.
A shallow Ikea shelf above the counter allows for decorative display and reduces the visual impact of the sockets below it.
Eva removed the wardrobe and put the bed against the same wall. “When you walked in previously, it was straight into the wardrobe,” she says. She made use of the bulkhead above for dimmable downlights over the bed.
The ginger pine bed is as before, but has had a whitewash and looks fresh and new. “We spent very smart,” Eva says.
One structural change Eva made was to block a doorway surplus to requirements. “This room had a door into the downstairs shower room, but there was also an entrance from the hall, so I blocked this one up and the shower room is now only accessible from the hall,” she explains.
The paintings leaning against the wall are in the position of the blocked up doorway.
“The project began at the start of the pandemic,” Eva says. “So I decided to put a desk in every room that could also be used as a dressing table.”
The quadrant shower and clear glass screen impose less on the space than the previous boxy, smoked glass design. There’s also more storage, as well as light reflected in the mirrored cabinet.
All bathroom fixtures, Sonas Bathrooms.
Table, Flying Elephant.
“As the tenants only have the one social area downstairs, it’s nice to have a flexible space that could also just be a reading room,” she adds.
Side tables, Ikea. Bedspread; cushions, all Made.com.
What are your favourite takeaway ideas from this renovation? Let us know in the Comments.