Project: NCH House
Architect: TR Studio
Location: West London, United Kingdom
Area: 235 sqm
Photo credit: Billy Bolton
FF&E: Riley Brooks
Bespoke joinery: TR Studio
Glazed extension: Panoramah
Landscaper: Emma Griffin Garden Design
Featuring a double-height glass and bronze-framed rear extension, TR Studio showcase NCH House, a 235 sq meter, five-storey Grade II listed townhouse in South Kensington, London, reconfigured and refurbished by the London-based architecture and interior design studio.
Briefed by the residential client, TR Studio were tasked with reconfiguring the lower and upper ground floors to create more space and provide a clear, visual connection to the garden which was to be landscaped to make the most of the small but private outside space. Alongside this, the studio was tasked to overhaul and create a master bedroom suite across one floor, create separate his and her study rooms and refurbish the floor belonging to the clients’ children. No small task in a Grade II listed property.
“Establishing a close working relationship with our Client was absolutely key to getting the most out of this, and every design project we undertake. Enjoying family life and the ability to retreat to a sanctuary within city life was of the utmost importance to them and something that remained consistent in our approach.” Tom Rutt, founder and lead architect TR Studio
Part of the prestigious Anstruther Kensington Estate, the property has a sense of history that TR Studio wanted to preserve, enhance, and restore wherever possible, adding too and respecting the property whilst ensuring it worked for the client. Opening spaces only where they thought it would add benefit to the family, and adding modern interventions, such as the rear glazing element were carefully considered so as to not to destroy the existing features needlessly.
As with every project, TR Studio approached NCH House by firstly spending time with the client to learn about their family and how they live, their routines and habits in order for their designs to embrace the client’s daily life and make the property work for them.
Working closely with the client, who had a keen eye for design and clear ideas on function and aesthetics for the NCH house, together with interior designer Riley Brooks, TR Studio set about designing numerous built-in, clever recessed storage and bespoke joinery across the property that would improve storage across the home and maximise the floor area, which in relative terms was quite limited, given the overall width of the main rooms. By learning at the initial stages about the client’s daily rituals, activities and desires for their future home, TR Studio were able to customise spaces to work hard whilst maintaining a clean, practical, and aesthetically pleasing outlook.
Working from the lower-ground floor up, TR Studio relocated the kitchen to the upper ground floor to create space for a casual family room, storage, and guest bedroom. The colour palette across the refurbishment was considered and strategic, in a monochromatic style to the taste of the client. On the lower ground floor, moody mid-grey tones were used on walls, which when mixed with darker shades of timber and dark blue velvet furniture, create a cosy and comfortable setting for a family TV room and study area. Off a storage clad hallway, a utility room can be found alongside a guest bedroom featuring a small, but statement terrazzo shower room complete with brass fixtures.
In moving the kitchen to the upper ground floor, TR Studio were able to create an airier, light-filled setting, connected to a formal dining area desired by the client. Here again, a pared back palette was established to give a sense of calm and elegance. The kitchen features bespoke floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall cabinetry, and solid marble splashback with contemporary track lighting. This sleek, modern space and part sunroom, seamlessly complements the more period dining room dressed in furniture and accessories in neutral tones and textures and featuring a marble fireplace installed as part of the refurbishment and original sash windows. To create consistency throughout the property, chocolate oak veneer was used across bespoke joinery including shelving and cupboard interiors and exteriors, whilst lime-washed oak veneer flooring was laid top to bottom to unify the space. This contrast in materials adds a timeless sophistication to property’s aesthetic.
“For this project, a monochrome palette is dominant throughout, and this married our Client’s sophistication along with a clear identity that carried through the home. Subtle bronze work and texture from layered materials in the soft furnishings added the elegance and luxury.” Tom Rutt says
To fulfil the need to use bring in natural light to these lower floors and to integrate the garden into the property in a more holistic manner, a modern, minimally framed glazed extension was carefully selected for the exterior to ensure it complied with the Estate guidelines. The sleek addition to the rear of the property adding a modernity to the space that was previously lacking and completely changing the character of the house adding elegance inside and out. This is most prevalent on the upper ground floor in which the thorough aspect to the garden creates an instantly relaxing and calming atmosphere.
Part of the brief tasked to TR Studio was to remove a large, but diseased tree in the rear garden which cast a huge shadow on the rear facade and garden. Working with Emma Griffin Garden Design, removing the tree had a huge impact on the outlook from both the lower and upper ground floors. Refurbishing the patio area and planting created two usable outdoor spaces to separately relax and entertain.
On the first floor, two receptions rooms provide an elegance and formality, away from the more practical living floors. A sanctuary from daily life with space to move, built-in joinery by the studio easily keeps the space clear and minimal. Here, softer, and warmer earthier tones are mixed into the grey, neutral palette providing a lighter, more inviting, yet elegant setting. A WC and half landing reading nook are also part of the floor’s layout.
The master suite on the second floor encompasses true luxury with a generous bedroom and ensuite. Featuring a custom made, built-in headboard and bedside tables design by the studio, the contemporary space appears framed by the mixed materials. Bespoke fabric lined wall-to-wall wardrobes trimmed with bronze sprayed metal and bespoke handles designed by TR Studio add texture and interest. A large marble clad master ensuite is connected by a space-saving sliding crittal-style glazed door. Here, double vanity units and a large bath with clean, sharp angles add an ultra-modern and minimalist edge.
Accommodating the client’s need for a his and her study, TR Studio made the most of the half landing closet wings on the first and second floors to create work from home sanctuaries, one being more formal and functional home office, the other a casual retreat with day bed.
A family bathroom with sky light completes the third floor, alongside two children’s bedrooms and half landing reading nook. Following the crisp and clean aesthetic favoured by the client; slim linear tiles, terrazzo and matt black fittings decorate the functional bathroom space. Like the rest of the property, the children’s bedrooms feature bespoke joinery to accommodate their growing and changing needs.
First and foremost, NCH house is a family home, but it also successfully achieves the elegant, timeless, and luxurious ambience requested by the client, providing a new, fresh, modern way of living to a home the client had lived in for several years. Respecting the buildings original style, TR Studio have created an enhanced way of life for the client and their young family through their interior architecture by utilising natural light, bespoke joinery and clever detailing, a signature of the studio which is at play throughout. Combined with beautifully crafted furniture and soft furnishings in a liveable palette of neutral tones and rich textures, selected by interior designer Riley Brooks, NCH House is a sophisticated example of modern, city living.
“Our approach echoes a desire we have as a studio to design for the way people live. We believe that in the practical lies beauty and in creating an ease of movement and use through a home we can transcend fashion and create for the long-term.” Tom Rutt says