With views overlooking Highbury Fields, our renovation of a two bedroomed-apartment on Highbury Terrace sought to extend this leafy outlook to as much of the flat as possible as well as restore grandeur to the listed space.

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Project name: Highbury Apartment
Studio Name: Patalab Architecture
Project size: 61 m2
Site size: 61 m2
Completion date: 2019
Building levels: 1
Location: London, United Kingdom
Photography: Jan Piotrowicz

5077 Highbury Apartment by Patalab Architecture: Sheet 1
Exterior View ©Jan Piotrowicz

Dating back to the late 18th century, this Georgian property was originally built as a house and following the second world war, and a demand for more housing stock, the house was divided up to create a series of apartments. Since this division the first floor apartment has undergone a variety of unsympathetic refurbishments which have eradicated original proportions and mouldings meaning that the windows and shutters were the only historic elements still intact. Despite the lack of original features we were still required to seek Listed Building Consent for our scheme. We achieved this successfully.

The greatest design challenge we faced followed our aspiration to remove an internal corridor that connected the living spaces, bathroom and bedroom. By donating this former circulation space to the living room we increased its size and created a more contemporary-feeling apartment, however our design had to ensure that the five doors that now lead off this central space didn’t result in the opposite, the living room suddenly feeling like a lobby. We achieved this through careful detail design.

5077 Highbury Apartment by Patalab Architecture: Sheet 2
living Space ©Jan Piotrowicz

We made the doors to the kitchen and study, which are also located to the front of the house, tall, double and sliding which means that they can disappear into the wall and the living room visually extending the space to the full width of the flat. A new herringbone floor also helps to enhance this elongation. In order to restore some of the original grand proportions of the space, we aligned the architraves for these sliding doors with the height of the original windows and mimicked moulding profiles. We then extended these details to the three other hinged doors (leading to lobby, bedroom and bathroom) and even extended all the architraves to align (despite the lowered ceilings on the other side that limit the height of the door openings).

Reinstating mouldings such as cornices and ceiling roses referenced the age of the property and reinforced the more square plan of the enlarged living room, however, it was also important that our design was personalised and distinctive. We achieved this by using accent colours such as a red wardrobe in the entrance and a new emerald green kitchen but also smaller details such as custom pink door handles to the sliding doors and a polished brass cabinetry in the bathroom. The colourful moments contrast with the neutral and grey tones of other new finishes installed throughout that provide a calm and warm backdrop.

5077 Highbury Apartment by Patalab Architecture: Sheet 3
Kitchen ©Jan Piotrowicz

Bespoke joinery pieces such as the living room book shelving and custom made light fittings have been designed and manufactured by David B Ross.

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