The picture of a Dorian Gray-esque interior in Highbury
During the period of post-war urban flight, Aberdeen Park was not viewed as a grand street with impressive buildings but just another part of the inner city in a state of increasing decay. Subsequently, the project building was used as low rent accommodation by the municipal authorities who sub-divided rooms and installed plastic-encased electric cables and exposed heating pipes across wood-chipped walls painted lurid greens and bright oranges.
The concept behind the renovation was to do as little as possible to the structure of the building in order to reveal and enhance what lay beneath. The original size and proportions of the larger rooms, the window ratios and the unusual detailing of the doors were of exceptional quality and required little structural change to revive them. The smaller rooms, particularly the entrance hall, were untidy with too much visual clutter. These rooms needed thoughtful redesigning and reconfiguring. The small hallway needed a grander appearance that was in keeping with the spaces that led off it. This was achieved by using a combination of windows to create long views, mirrors to increase the appearance of space, a coffered ceiling to create the illusion of a greater ceiling height, and concealed doors to simplify the aesthetic.
With the layout changes complete, the interior fit-out was based on a sumptuous Victorian aesthetic but one benefiting from contemporary additions; wall panels that opened as storage, library shelves and ladders highlighted with concealed LED lighting and chandeliers operated with dimmer switches. The colour concepts and furnishings were produced and selected by the interior designer client Chris Lian. The darkness of the small hallway was lifted using light colours and the larger rooms were made intimate and warm with bold colour, rich textures, and strategic lighting. Art and decorative pieces work in conjunction with lighting to create a logical flow to the spaces.
The resulting scheme returns this part of Aberdeen Park to the Victorian splendour of its conception but with the added improvements of central heating, Soss hinges and wi-fi.
The flat had not been revamped in any meaningful way for 50 years. It was completely dilapidated and needed fully refurbishing before it was habitable so we needed to do a complete renovation of the interior. This included the removal of stud walls to turn two bedrooms into one; reconfiguration of kitchen and bathroom; replastering; new electrics; new plumbing; new ceilings; new lighting; new kitchen; new bathroom; new flooring.
We had a few problems and delays during the renovation which were caused by the flat-roofed portion of the building, as the flat roof structure was in a state of disrepair. The main problem was with interacting with the building’s freeholder and trouble in obtaining the necessary permissions to rectify these defects, which caused the project to be delayed.
If we could have done anything differently it would have been to have taken more time to consider the design and layout of relatively minor things. For example, we would reposition a number of the sockets, and we would have given more thought to what use we would make of the kitchen cupboards to ensure they were arranged in the most ergonomic way. We also would have tried to be a bit more forceful in our control of costs, as we spent quite a bit more than we originally intended.
But we are totally thrilled with the outcome and I guess that's what matters most in the end.Watch Video