Houzz Tour: The Inspiring Transformation of an Ex-council House
The clever use of space, light and low-cost materials has given this 1980s house a distinctive new character
Who lives here? A woman in her early 40s
Location Bermondsey, south-east London
Property A 1980s ex-council house
Size Two bedrooms and one bathroom
Architect Bogdan Rusu of Vatraa
Photos by Jim Stephenson
Faced with a tight budget and a tired old building, it was obvious to the owner from the outset that this house was going to need an injection of clever and creative solutions to make it function successfully.
“Right from the beginning of the project, we knew our budget was restricted, so we decided to work with what we had and reduce waste as much as possible,” Bodgan says. It was decided not to extend the house, but instead work with the compact 76 sq m footprint to make it feel more spacious and open.
“We instantly saw the potential of enhancing the front-back transparency by opening the interior to two different gardens – an evergreen one to the front, and a seasonal one to the back,” Bogdan explains.
“The biggest change we made was to swap the overly detailed bay window with a larger square one to neatly frame the front garden and let in more light,” he says. “A dated porch area was also absorbed into the hallway to create more internal space.”
“To enhance the interior-exterior connection and let in more natural light, we simplified the windows so more of the gardens could be seen from inside,” Bogdan says.
“We decided to make use of this heat source by organising the laundry room around the tank to create a perfect place to dry clothes,” Bogdan says. “We also relocated the first floor bathroom to right above the tank to create a sustainably warm floor without the cost of fitting an underfloor heating system.”
“By absorbing the old porch into the new hallway we also improved the connection between the lounge and kitchen-diner, creating a semi open-plan layout, with the stairwell in the centre,” he says.
“To create a cohesive feel between the living room and dining area, we designed a series of solid oak furniture pieces to suit the owner’s way of entertaining,” Bogdan says.
Bespoke joinery, Vatraa.
“To create enough space beneath the stairwell for a large walk-in pantry, we angled the doors to add more depth,” Bogdan says.
“To highlight the qualities of space, light and texture, we limited the finishes spectrum to only three complementary materials,” he says. “White painted ceiling joists and whitewashed oak flooring are tied together by a plaster finish.”
Walls plastered in MultiFinish, British Gypsum.
“We wanted to create a morning transition between the night and day zones, giving the owner a sensation of energy immediately as she steps into the stairwell and descends to the ground floor,” Bogdan says.
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