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Office S&M Injects Bold Colour and Playful Details Into This Fun London Home

Picture of Charlotte Luxford
Home & Design Editor
Updated: 16 November 2017
With three young girls in tow, the parents of this delightfully bright and playful house wanted to extend and remodel their Victorian property to give each of their kids the space to grow and flourish.

The family commissioned Office S&M to a create an engaging and spacious interior that would maximise the existing narrow plan of the property. Valetta House was gutted and transformed into an open-plan layout that now meets the family’s requirements for plenty of space.

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It was also important that ample daylight flooded the property, so Office S&M removed some of the internal walls, utilised light wells and opened up internal windows to encourage light into the deepest parts of the house, as Victorian properties are traditionally dark. In addition, a side extension on the ground floor has made a spacious living area for the girls to play, while upstairs an addition on the second floor has created a new bedroom.

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A fun, yellow-framed staircase runs through the house, connecting all three floors, with the same bright hue connecting other elements of the property, including arched windows in the extension, which have a post-modern feel to them.

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‘We created a “child-friendly” home in the broadest sense of the word, adding curves to the walls, a playful snakes-and-ladders bannister running through the house, and an arched window for each child,’ explained architect Catrina Stewart. ‘Meanwhile, adults are treated to a rich variety of materials, from encaustic floor slabs and glazed herringbone tiles, to spherical marble handrail ends and soft cedar shingle on the exterior.’

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The eye-catching, fish-scale-like wooden shingles on the exterior of the converted loft will eventually weather and change colour to a subtle silver-grey over time – the arched glazing installed in the extension references the sash windows of the neighbouring period properties, but with a fun and refreshing twist.

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The colours throughout the property have been carefully considered by the architects, aiming to enhance the sense of volume and light. ‘In this project colour was treated as an essential building material,’ says Stewart. ‘Using earthy, bold hues on the walls of the house allowed for a complete transformation of the spaces.

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‘The wall running alongside the staircase was painted in deep blue tones with a yellow roof lantern at the top, allowing ever-changing light to be carried through into the spaces below. Colour was used to reflect a softer light into the different rooms through roof lights and arched windows. This also ensured that the light would constantly be changing in the rooms throughout the day and the seasons. The myriad of materials, textures and colours used in the house allowed for a feast for the senses.’

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Office S&M is a young and thriving London practice, founded by Catrina Stewart and Hugh McEwen who both graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture; read about their work here.

For more inspiring London homes, check out this project that embraces raw finishes, and see this converted warehouse that’s inspired by its industrial heritage.