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Kitchen Extension March 2017

Yahoo Finance Kitchen extension published March 2017 , see article below or click on following link for original publication

Kitchen extension Yahoo Finance March 2017Word from Studio 29 Architects on the kitchen extension:

The owners of this property in Queen’s Park asked us to add a house extension to enlarge the existing open space kitchen.

The brief called for a big dining area off the kitchen for family weekend meals and parties. They also asked us for lots of natural lights and openings to look on to their beautiful garden they personally design and care for, but they specified they absolutely did not want a glass box. The materials of the new house extension mimics the ones of the original house, with reclaimed brick walls and timber French doors, while the design is a very simple pitched gable, in perfect axis with the very graceful and symmetric rear elevation of the house. Brick details frame the pitched roof wall and a round window adds a touch of quirk and an eye to the sky. Inside the walls are painted a light terracotta shade to reflect the clients’ love of colour. Glass hand made pendants by Album hung at random lengths and add interest, creating an intimate light over the big dining table that fulfils the client’s brief no unflattering down-lighters above my head when I am entertaining!.

This article was published by Homify for the Yahoo Finance pages, our Homify profile is

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Planning consultation

Work in progress and a story of Zulu baskets in Norfolk


When we started our project for a holiday house with annexed guest cottage, we knew that neither clients nor we were after the usual “we are in Norfolk but we wish we were in the Hamptons” kind of look.

We have seen too many barn conversions where the power of the

utilitarian architecture has been obliterated by shaker kitchens and chintzy curtains, too many pretty gardens facing the bracing winds of the North Sea and definitely too many colour schemes in white and blue.

We wanted our inspiration to come from the building, the site and their history.

Kings Lynn used to be a Hanseatic city – possibly the smallest of them all, but still – and a hub of commerce. Our thoughts went to the Portrait of Georg Gisze, a young hanseatic merchant, by Hans Holbein and we were not surprised in seeing that the greens, blacks and purple of the painting are so close to the tones of the marshes and the fields surrounding our building.

We thought of vessels and drift wood carved by the sea and found a hand chiselled timber flooring that has the same smooth and textured finish.

To complement such a rich back-ground we are going to plaster the walls white and leave the plaster in view, as we like the chalky and uneven finish. Zelliges tiles, in the same ivory colour, have been chosen for the wall behind the kitchen, as we like the play of light on their uneven and shiny surface.

We do not like kitchen splashbacks – the awkward strips of tiles behind the units -. The whole wall is going to be tiled and on the tiles we will hung a collection of Zulu baskets that our client has been lovingly collecting for years. They will look great, with their brown, tan and auburn colours and the fine weave.

As for the colour black, it is so essential to the balance of the majestic portraits by Holbein that we must learn his lesson, and get some in our scheme. We chose a timber cladding that has been charred with the Japanese technique of the Shou-sugi-ban to clad the dormers of the cottage externally and possibly some cupboards and storage units inside.

The contractor’s stripping out the cottage is still a work in progress and a long way before the fitting out will start, but we take great pleasure in looking at our very own “Norfolk” mood-board.

Refurbishment and interior design of a Chelsea Apartment

Refurbishment and interior design of a Chelsea Apartment

We have now completed our project in Chelsea which was a full renovation of a penthouse apartment with fine vistas over London. Alterations to the property included opening up the main living areas and altering the existing layout to allow more natural light to enter into the space, to enjoy the spectacular view and create a larger area for cocktail and dinner parties. Much needed additional storage was designed into the layout.

Materials were carefully selected to add ambience and warmth to the space. In the kitchen, the central island was clad in brass to give an iridescent warm shimmer in the living areas as well as forming a dynamic centrepiece to the room.The kitchen splashback was a highly reflective marble composite which created a dramatic veining but also reflected the view. Espresso kitchens cleverly designed the kitchen to conceal appliances and increase storage with minimal fuss, giving a neat modern effect.

The floor by Tuttoparquet which runs throughout all the main spaces is a oak parquet basket weave which helped the irregular shaped rooms to appear rational.

In the living room striking furniture pieces were picked to highlight the bay window and height, a sofa by Flexform, arched floor light and mirror from Chaplins to reflect light for the darker lobby space. The windows were also softened in this room using beautiful delicate dark grey blinds which shimmer in the sunlight by Pat Giddens. The existing fireplace was too small for the living area and so a new fire was added at a higher, more intimate, level and bounded with an amber veined marble surround to catch the sunlight.

In the bedroom area a new dressing room and ensuite were added, as well as ample storage behind the bed. All the built-in storage was painted to resemble the walls to maximise the space. The platform bed was clad in tan leather and low in height to make the room feel larger.

In the bathroom a small basin and storage unit and shower were introduced making a compact but practical space. A dressing room was also added to keep the main bedroom free of clothing and clutter.

The colour palette comprised of warm greys, tan browns and ambers to give a relaxed but interesting ambience. The brass and amber tinged marble pick out the more formal side of the flat to give an elegance well suited to its function.

Thanks to James Tarry for the photographs, especially in the ever-changing weather patterns!

For more information regarding this project please see the following blog:

Final touches: a top floor mansion-block flat in Chelsea

Onsite: progress of a full refurbishment to a Kensington town house, black flowers included

Progress of a full refurbishment to a Kensington town house

Great progress on our full refurbishment in Kensington, which we will hand over at the end of May.

The bones, veins and nervous system of the house are in place. These are the walls, ceilings, plumbing and electrics, if you mind my “anatomical” view of the building.

We are now working on … the skin (and the rest!).

The walls are receiving a first coat of colour and  – as the beautiful Ebony&Co floor has been all carefully protected –  we walk around site with a couple of leftover planks, just to check that the all colours work well together on site (as opposed as on our colour swatches).

The stone tops for the vanity units have been finalised. Statuario marble won over a number of other contestants. It is the king of marble, after all, a rare variety of very white Carrara, with subtle grey veins, favourite by Michelangelo and Canova.

The new staircase is in place and we have finalised the choice of banister and runner.

The first is composed by simple raw steel spindles and a white oak handrail. It will be stained to match the floor. The latter is a great little number by Crucial Trading, in their new Sisool range. A clever mix of wool and sisal, the runner is full of “rugged charm and softness” as the manufacturer perfectly says on their website.  It and will add a layer of texture to our mainly monochrome colour scheme.

Sylvie – our favourite garden designer, founder of Ginger Landscape – is working on the garden. It is a small space, but on two levels and with good proportions. We had a look at the planting scheme and are in love with the mix of dark foliage and lime contrasts,  and the blue and greys Sylvie is proposing (and the black flowers: Agapanthus and Irises!).

How to: make sense of decorating a whole house

Making the most of natural light in a full refurbishment

As every make up make-up artist knows, the secret of a good makeover is enhancing the best feature of one’s face, not trying to hide the bad.

We applied this concept when designing this flat in Chelsea: it is not big, it has oddly shaped rooms, but has the best West facing aspect and gets plenty of natural light through the day.

We selected materials that reflect, filter and play with light. The result is an interior which changes every hour of the day and never stops to amaze and delight its inhabitants.

For the window dressing – all by Pat Giddens, we chose simple unlined blinds in sheer fabric with a slight metallic sheen: they do not block the view, but filter the light  – London light can be very cold in the winter – and beautify it. Very much like a good foundation, if we want to keep the make-up metaphor going!

We have sheer curtains also in the bedroom: a good night sleep is guaranteed by very discreet black-out roller blinds.

We use brass for the kitchen island – to trick the light, again, and give it a sunny hue even during a very grey February morning and reflective artificial marble for the splash-back and top. One can see the landscape reflected in the splash-back while having breakfast with the back to the window. (Kitchen by Espresso Design).

The same trick is used in the corridor: a multi-faceted mirror reflects and de-construct the view out of the bay window of the sitting room and provides a touch of surprise.


Photo-shoot in Chelsea: mimosa & Tuareg mats

Last week we shot a flat completed a few months ago, in Chelsea.

Photo-shooting days start always very early at Studio 29. There is a lot to do before the photographer can start, and the hours of light are never enough. This is especially true when shooting in winter, in London.

We started collecting all the props we have planned to take with us. We know from experience that every house can do with a little bit of styling.

This time we brought with us some antique linen, small white accessories that we knew would work on the dark background of walls and joinery and a few African artefacts to add texture.

Recently we have discovered the beauty of traditional straw and leather Tuareg mats, and we brought a couple of them with us. To top it all we added a huge bunch of seasonal mimosa from our favourite plant nursery, Rassells of Kensington.

We left the office in the pouring rain, praying that the weather would give us some respite in the afternoon.  The flat faces West, and in a clear day,  by 4 o’clock the golden light of the setting sun would flood it. We crossed our fingers!

At the flat we met with James, who does all our pictures. We have been working together for a long time and he loves design, so we understand each other well.

Nevertheless, creating pictures is always hard work. We want to show the space, rely the plays of light and,most important, we want the mix of colours, textures and materials of our photographs to be true. By the end of the day we were all pretty tired (but happy!).

Here a few images of the work in progress: we are looking forward to see the final images!

New Project: a barn & cottage in Norfolk

salt marshes in Brancaster Staithe, Norfolk

Our lovely clients of the colourful house in Holland Park have come back to us with a new exciting project. The location: Norfolk, a county that we did not know, but we are quickly falling in love with. The building: a flint and timber barn with annexed guest cottage in Brancaster Staithe. The brief: to refurbishing it and fitting it out, to be the couple’s coastal retreat.

The house has uninterrupted views on the salt marshes to the North and a secluded and sunny garden to the South.

view on the salt marshes, Brancaster Staithe

Both barn and cottage originally belonged the adjacent grand Georgian house. The barn was used to receive and store grains and coal for the local brewery. It was then converted – very cleverly – in to a house in 1971 and not touched ever since.

Our clients fell in love with the big spaces, the almost brutalist 70’s additions and the perfect North-South aspect. The latter gives the house a double personality.

The North side speaks to us of the atmospheres of the North Sea, with its mercantile past and connection with the Baltic and Hanseatic ports. The South side is all about the comfort and colours of the classic English garden plus the thrill of extra-large and tall rooms with glass ceilings and doors and stone walls.

We are working on the design to re-organise the space and express and combine the house’s opposite aspects and we will be sharing our progress on the blog. Stay tuned!

Brancaster beach, Norfolk

How to: make sense of decorating a whole house

Our project in Kensington is proceeding at very good speed and is now the time to fine-tune the decoration scheme.  This stage is always quite daunting for our clients, but we are here to help. The best way forward is approach the job step by step.

Step 1: is to reflect on the brief and understand the challenges.

The brief in this case is deceptively simple. The client likes neutrals – with a preference for cold greys – and she wants a modern, welcoming interior. The floor has been already chosen: a pale grey continental oak by Ebony and Co. It will be laid as parquet tiles on the main floors and as wide floorboards on the basement and bedrooms. The amazing Sabrina at Ebony customised it for us and even gave it a name: Faded Silvergrey Glossy (Poly)!

The challenge is to put together a scheme that is not bland and feels warm and elegant.  Every room must have a special atmosphere but the house has to feel homogeneous in style.

Step 2: using the right tools for the job.

Decoration is a hands-on process. We do not rely on drawings – as with do when designing layout and spaces – but on the real materials. Paint sample pots, swatches of fabric, small pieces of floors and objects like handles and switches.

We use mood boards as working tools, to check that all the materials we choose for a room work together. It is never about the beauty of a single piece – even though some time a favourite can be the starting point of a project– but how every piece works with the rest.

Step 3: putting together the team.

In this case a “team” of trusted brand we use over and over and we know we can rely on.

As all aspects of the décor must work together we chose brands that have a similar style and will be at ease side to side. For this house, we found natural to use Farrow & Ball paint (heavy pigmented and complex, therefore great to give body and depth to neutrals), De Le Cuona fabrics (a great choice of neutrals, interesting textures and finishes, clever ways to play with yarn and weave sizes for a sophisticated and modern approach to textiles) and Tabu veneers (their attention to trends and their way with wood grain, finishes and colours is superb). The extravagant touch in this case is the De Gournay hand painted silk wall paper: a favourite of our client and a great way rock the boat of such an understated elegant scheme.

We will be working on the colour scheme for ceiling walls and woodwork, on the window dressing (24 windows!) and on the furniture and decorative lighting layout.

Stay tuned as we will be posting about every aspect with information on our method of work and tips.

Other related posts:

Onsite: progress of a full refurbishment to a Kensington town house, black flowers included

Final touches: a basement re-design in Brook Green

So many times we live in spaces that do not suit us and we do not know how to start the change.

Our clients had been living in this house for a few years and never manage to like their basement. The kitchen was large but plain, the garden view was interrupted by the frames of the concertina doors, the dining table seemed to float in the space without anchoring and a seldom used full size ping-pong table filled one third of the plan.

After our first meeting we assessed the clients’ priorities: they love entertaining and always start their gatherings with drinks to then have full seated dinner.

We started the design with the kitchen. An oversized island doubles as bar for the guests to have drinks while the host finishes cooking. The kitchen wow factor is provided by a copper worktop, lit by a couple of Tom Dixon’s glass pendants (for atmosphere) and a technical spotlight (for the cook).

After drinks the guests move to the dinner table. This area is very cosy, with lowered ceilings (to hide a couple of ugly down-stands) walls modern panelling hiding storage and the staircase and a chandelier formed by translucent porcelain disks provides warm indirect light to the table top.

After dinner the conversation continues on the coral sofa by Habitat in front of the fireplace which has a cantilevered concrete hearth doubling as extra seat and shelf.

Fineline sliding doors frame the garden and are opened in the summer to connect the inside and the patio, both tiled in Jumble tiles by Domus.

Now the basement is our clients’ and their friends favourite floor of the house.