Houzz Tour: Multifunctional Rooms in a Stylish Victorian House
This design is a masterclass in bringing both flexibility and light into a period home while retaining its character
Read on to find out how Kieran managed to tuck in a large office for both parents, two more bedroom spaces, a snug for the children, and a gorgeous bathroom/dressing room without compromising the character and layout of this period home.
Who lives here? A fine art photographer, a creative director who makes electronic music in the evenings, and their two young children
Property A Victorian terraced house
Location Victoria Park conservation area, Hackney, London
Size Three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus two flexible sleeping spaces
Architect Kieran Hawkins of Cairn
Photos by Peter Landers
In common with many terraced properties from this era, the house is on three levels, but with half floors between each, so Kieran was working with a complicated layout.
On the ground floor is a kitchen and living room. On the half landing between the ground and first floors is the family bathroom and a child’s bedroom. The first floor houses the couple’s bedroom (which can be seen here through the open door) and an en suite/dressing room. On the next landing is the new snug and a child’s room, from where stairs lead to the new loft room (behind the window, top right).
As well as creating the new spaces, Kieran was asked to refurbish the family bathroom and smarten the existing bedrooms and living room. “The owners wanted something thought through and unique to them,” he says.
On the dormer side is a large desk with wide drawers. “The idea of the built-in desk was that it can be used by either of the couple to do music or plan shoots and so on,” Kieran says.
The flooring in here is oak parquet, which echoes the oak boards in the house below.
He also painted the timber beams. “There would have been too many different woods going on otherwise,” he says.
This side of the room hides a secret…
The wall to the right of the doorway contains storage drawers. The heater in the floor can gently generate heat or blow it upwards.
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This panelling (on the next floor down from the loft) could be an original wall, but in fact it hides a surprise…
Now, when the doors are open, the room and corridor feel like one space. “This brings broken-plan flexibility into a Victorian house,” he says.
“The intention is that the wall will be open for the majority of the time and it will be a space where the kids can go and watch TV – or when they’re teenagers they can use it as a bolthole – but it’s still connected to the rest of the house,” he says. “The reason the walls shut is the couple could put down a guest bed in here.”
“It has a magic box feel,” he adds. “You go in and you’re stopped in your tracks a little bit. A lot of thought went into it – even the proportions and placement of the wall panelling; there was a lot of back and forth to get that just right.”
Panelling painted in Sulking Room Pink, Farrow & Ball.
“We took up the original floorboards throughout the house, sanded them, laid plywood, then put the boards back on top, which was time-consuming, but it means you get rid of all the squeaks and draughts while keeping the character of the original floor,” Kieran explains.
The door into the en suite/dressing room goes all the way up to the cornice and is a jib door, so when it’s closed, it’s hidden apart from the handle. “We were trying to indicate it’s not just an en suite to go to the loo in the night; it’s meant to be a special room, so it has a special door,” Kieran says.
The lights throughout the house are vintage. “I’ve never done a project before where every single light fitting was reclaimed,” Kieran says. “I wouldn’t be able to recreate this design, as every light was found from an auction site, vintage furniture site or eBay, then rewired to make it safe. The same with a lot of the door furniture.”
As well as making the home look unique, it’s less wasteful. “Where we can reuse things, it’s always nice to do so,” he says. “The owners didn’t want to feel they were living in a house that was shiny and new and it’s things like the lights, fixtures and fittings that make the difference; this feels like a comfortable house someone has lived in for years.”
He hasn’t wasted the opportunity to pour yet more light into the centre of the home: the slim window on the left channels light into the stairwell.
Drop Décor tiles from the Geometrica range, Domus.
Tiles in Orange Caviar, New Terracotta at Domus.
What do you like about this unique home. Share your thoughts in the Comments.