Houzz Tour: A Rejig Gives a Family More Room Without Extending
This house illustrates how clever space planning can make a home feel bigger, even when the footprint stays the same
“In the end, we realised there was enough space in the existing house if we configured it in the right way,” architect Chris Jones of Jones Associates says. He set about transforming the boxy layout to create a home that feels light and spacious.
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Who lives here? A couple and their two young children
Location North London
Property A 1920s semi-detached house
Size Four bedrooms and two bathrooms
Architect Chris Jones at Jones Associates Architects
Photos by Gareth Gardner
An open-plan ground floor was key when it came to making better use of the space in this house, and it also helped to bring in more light.
“At the back of the house, we took out the separating wall between the kitchen and dining room completely and increased the size of the window openings at the rear,” Chris says.
The kitchen now sits to the side of an informal seating area and a dining space, where the family can look out to the south-facing garden through two sets of glass doors. “We chose sliding doors, as they allow a larger area of glass and better sightlines,” Chris explains. “Above these, there are recessed slots in the ceiling that conceal electrically operated roller blinds.”
Aluminium sliding doors, IDSystems. Pendant over dining table, Louis Poulsen. Superellipse extension table, Fritz Hansen. Wishbone dining chairs by Hans J Wegner, available at Heal’s.
The couple were also keen to have a marble worktop and upstand. However, as practicality was key, they decided on an easy-maintenance, marble-effect composite. The surface continues down the side of the island, with a mitred joint on the corner, for a waterfall effect.
The top of the island has been kept clear of appliances and, instead, the back wall houses a double undermounted sink and an induction hob.
Walls painted in Strong White; cabinets painted in Pigeon, both Farrow & Ball. Kitchen carcasses, Ikea. Appliances, Miele. Undermounted stainlesss-steel sinks (in kitchen and utility room), Franke. Minta mixer taps, Grohe. Boiling-water tap, Quooker.
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Chris had the smart idea of building out the upstand to create a shelf for storing chopping boards and utensils off the worktop. The couple also invested in a boiling-water tap, which allows them to do without a kettle.
To complement the modern space, Chris installed a protruding frame around the perimeter of the ceiling to form a contemporary cornice. Lighting is provided by three pendants over the island, under-cabinet LED strips and warm, subtle recessed spots around the cornice that can be angled towards the worktops.
Pendant lights, Bestlite.
“As we’d expanded the kitchen into the dining room, we could afford to take a bit of the space to create this compact room,” Chris says.
There was already a lean-to extension alongside the kitchen with a corrugated plastic roof. The team replaced the roof with a glass one to make it more usable as a place to store boots and bikes, and now a door leads out to this space from the utility room.
“We moved the boiler and water tank to the lean-to,” Chris says. “This was a good way to free up more space inside.”
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In both spaces, the couple requested acoustic insulation along the party walls either side of the chimney breasts. “We built a false wall 100mm inside the wall and installed acoustic plasterboard to minimise noise transfer,” Chris says. “We then matched the cornicing on this new section with that on the original walls.”
The traditional features in the front room differentiate it from the more modern space beyond, but the grey oak flooring throughout unifies the whole ground floor.
Chris’s team opened up the fireplace to make room for a wood-burning stove and installed a slate internal surround and hearth.
Walls painted in Skylight; fireplace surround painted in Hague Blue, both Farrow & Ball. Engineered oak flooring, Element 7.
A row of recessed ceiling lights are angled towards the cupboards to make it easy to see what’s inside. The room is quite long, so two pendants were fitted in the ceiling and there are a couple of wall lights either side of the bed.
“As we’d moved walls around, we needed to replace the cornicing in here,” Chris says.
A cupboard space beneath the landing stairs can be accessed from this room, so only a chest of drawers and bookshelf were needed for extra storage.
Column radiator, Ultraheat.
Simple rectangular tiles are laid in a stacked pattern along the side of the bath and over a built-out wall that hides the pipework and cistern. Along this false wall, the team installed a worktop and splashback in the same marbled composite that was used in the kitchen to give the family an extra shelf.
Full-height mirrored cupboards with recessed LED lights below provide ample storage.
Sanitaryware, Duravit. Taps, Vola. Swadling Absolute shower controls and fittings, Matki. Rubber sheet flooring in Shackleton Grey, The Colour Flooring Company.
What’s your favourite aspect of this reconfigured 1920s house? Share your thoughts in the Comments.