01 Jul 2019
Marylebone Apartment, London
Proctor & Shaw
The interior renovation of an apartment in a period block in London. The brief required re-configuring the inefficient one bedroom layout to incorporate two double bedrooms each with ensuite facilities, along with an open plan living space. The response to the brief is bold and simple, pared back to a series of fixed furniture interventions that structure a newly orientated layout, maximising the property’s modest footprint. At the heart of the apartment a finely detailed full height Douglas fir profiled wall divides living and sleeping functions, whilst also incorporating bedroom, kitchen and bathroom storage including integrated appliances, services and cupboards. Lye-washed timber battens modulate the wall to create a subtle texture enlivened by the characterful grain of the Douglas Fir. Seamless doors are achieved with concealed hinges and CNC handles routed into the battens to create a sense of craft and delight. The living space is anchored at each end with bespoke wall to wall furniture units in ultra-matt dark grey through-coloured MDF and black pitted bespoke concrete worktops. Simply finished bedrooms with flush-faced built-in hanging cupboards and bespoke Douglas fir bedside cabinetry are each accompanied by ensuite shower rooms, finished in a seamless microcement finish. Proctor & Shaw also designed bespoke loose furniture including an elegant steel frame dining table finished with a matt black top matching fixed furniture cabinetry.
The design solution is both strikingly simple and subtly complex, resolved on the one hand with formal and material clarity in the plan, and on the other nuanced with subtle gestures in its details, from secret hinges and handles, appliances seamlessly set behind timber cabinetry and soft textural surface qualities. The technical complexity of the space planning and in particular the resolution of the joinery elements of the scheme is impressive, designed to grab every square millimetre away from space hungry furniture, primarily through a single linear beam of storage spanning the apartment. This houses appliances, services and storage provision into a single element to free up space for an extra ensuite bedroom and generous living quarters, resulting in a small footprint apartment that is spacious and uncluttered, light and airy, and at the same time warm and tactile. The very simple material palette of lye washed Douglas fir, dark pitted concrete, matt black through-coloured MDF and hand trowelled microcement combine with simple white plasterwork and matt black metal accents to create a serene interior enlivened with textural detail. The overall design solution draws sensitively from the existing architecture, from its reinstatement of four street-facing traditional sash windows into a single consolidated living space, to its response to the unique structural opportunities of the space offered by a spanning concrete ceiling structure, the result of WW2 bomb damage.