The property: Quickswood Avenue is a 1960’s built terrace in an iconic mid-century development a short walk from Primrose Hill, London. The property has been owned and occupied by my client, Yuri Poluneev and his family, for several years. The 148sqm, 3/4 bedroom, 2/3 reception, property consisted of closed in spaces across six split-levels that was in need of refurbishment and modernisation to increase the feeling of light and space throughout.
The Client: Ukranian diplomat Yuri Poluneev, had previously lived in Quickswood with his family for several years before being posted to the Ukranian capital Kiev. The original plan was for the family to move back into the property after refurbishment, however due to ongoing work commitments in Kiev the post refurbishment plan was for the property to be rented out in the mid term. This changed the specification of the project and saw the removal of some of the more personal and lavish design elements, to rein in the style and budget to suit the rental market.
The architects were AR Architecture, a London based firm, founded by architect Alexander Rakita. Originally from Moscow, Alexander became Associate Director of Irish based practice Murray O¹Laoire, then established AR Architecture in 2010. The project architect was Alexander Rakita of AR Architecture, who was recommended to Yuri by a friend who had recently employed his services.
Although no major structural changes were required, AR Architecture redesigned the interior to improve the flow and allow light into the previously dark north facing rear of the property through the removal of internal walls, to opened up split level spaces. Installing a new open stair case increased the feeling of space further. AR Architecture cleverly designed an origami style sloping Seedum roof for the rear living room, angled to capture the last rays of evening sun. The natural realm of the house was preserved and significantly extended through the addition of a green roof and creation of a private roof garden.
The rear garden is bijou at best, fully opening glazed doors and windows on two aspects to afford the property an attractive view over the small but attractively landscaped space that could be purely decorative as to property also boasts a roof top terrace garden, plumbed to allow the installation of a hot tub at a later stage, that gives stunning stunning views towards Primrose Hill Park and central London beyond.
The main changes to the property were to reveal and enhance the house’s main existing features most notably the split level transparent design – by fitting new open plan stairs and adding new openings between the levels to allow light from the bright south facing front elevation to flood into the previously dark north facing rear.
Zoning was improved by relocating the kitchen and breakfast area onto a bright, smaller south facing level, which left the larger north facing raised ground floor as a spacious formal living and dining room. Light now flows into the formerly dark space through the large fish tank that separates the raised kitchen from the living area. The master bedroom received an additional slot window to the South facing roof terrace, whereas the staircase got new openings on both sides.
Looking for an interior design partner who would accomplish the space he created with tactfully matching elements of décor and furnishing, Alexander commissioned the services of interior designer Clare Pascoe, of Pascoe Interiors Ltd.
Clare was tasked with supplying the kitchen, flooring, window treatments, bespoke joinery and furnishing. Pascoe Interiors teams of tried and tested tradesmen were brought in to install the interior elements, to meet the Client¹s high level of standard and quality.
(Quote from Alexander): “Clare delivered decoration solutions very much in line with what we desired”. The Vintage, sometimes eclectic, pieces of furniture and décor perfectly matched AR Architectures minimalist spaces by sticking to a simple palette of Ash surfaces (floors, stairs, doors and built in furniture); White (walls, ceilings) and the natural light penetrating the house. The selected vintage furniture was specifically sourced from the 60’s era to match the time when the house was originally built. Interspersed with contemporary elements, as is typical with Clare’s signature Mid Century Contemporary style, to prevent the scheme from looking staged or slavishly vintage.
As you enter the property through the well designed hall off which lead a private study (or bed 4), ground floor utility room, large walk in utility cupboard and spacious coat storage; open tread stairs with hidden drawers lead you up into the large living room and formal dining space.
The living area features a contemporary ‘Jones’ Sofa in truffle leather, by Couch Potato Company; a vintage Bovenkamp leather sofa in the original beige leather and the large vintage inspired three-seater Herbert sofa designed and made in the UK by Pascoe Interiors, upholstered in a mixture of Bute and Moon wool. Grouped around a Laccio coffee table, part of a nest by Marcel Breuer designed for Knoll in 1924 and a Tulip Side table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, both form Couch Potato as before. A Kaiser Idell Luxus floor lamp by Christian Dell for Fritz Hansen at the Couch Potato Company; and the vandalised Portrait of a Lady from Mineheart add height to the design. The faces cushions are by Mineheart, and the remaining cushions are by Missoni Home.
Continuing the theme, the dining table is a vast, beautiful oval Tulip Table in Arabescato marble surrounded by an eclectic collection of chairs including a pair of pink ‘Frost’ chairs designed by Stouby at Couch Potato Company; vintage Eames shell chairs and a pair of antique French pink and gold arm chairs from Pascoe Interiors. This eclectic mix adds visual interest and personality, demonstrating that you do not have to buy a rigid set of 6 or 8 matching chairs, but can simply by a collection of chairs that you love. If you are to do this, choose pairs of chairs otherwise the overall effect can be chaotic.
The wall of storage consists of open shelving and closed cupboards, behind which is a concealed desk, space for a large flat wall mounted TV and AV system.
The Molten Kitchen imported by Clare directly from the factory in Italy is a simple contemporary design comprising of dark and light brown units with bespoke ash accent elements, off set with a white composite work top. Symmetrical and well planned it offers a large working area and is packed
with hidden appliances and a wealth of storage. The room style is balanced by a stunning Arabescato Marble circular dining table by reknown Mid Century designer Eero Saarinen from Couch Potato Company. The Kai Kristensen dining chairs have been recovered in a subtle fabric from Romo. The simple colour palette is accented by the stunning copper reproduction Artichoke Pendant by Vintage furniture supplier Made Good, while the pink graffiti sprayed Madam Blush portrait adds a bold and daring shot of rebellious colour. The table is set using beautiful hand-made crockery from Melody Rose.
The boys bedroom features an original mid-century bunk bed by Dunlop. A very rare piece of furniture, the likes of which Clare had not seen in her career to date. As soon as I saw the bunk bed I knew it would be perfect for the boys. The design remains as classically contemporary today as it must have been in the 60’s. It can also be used as two singles in the future if they prefer. Throws, cushions and a zig zag ottoman by Missoni Home and duvet sets by John Lewis add colour. I love the Frost chairs by Stouby, and couldn’t resist working this one into the scheme with its smart grey wool and multi coloured buttons. The play room is separated from the bedroom by a full width set of sliding folding doors. Simply set out with shelving for books and toys, the children will enjoy many hours of imaginative play while their parents will be glad to be able to easily shut away the colourful chaos of toys at the end of each day. The vintage pine play table was sourced by Clare from a lot being sold on from a school in Wales, and the colourful Alma Chairs are from Couch Potato Company.
Their daughter’s bedroom features a bed from Loaf.com, with throws, cushions and the Passiflora rug by Missoni Home. The vintage school desk, by Molten Vintage at Pascoe Interiors has been painted gold, and the bespoke hand madeDragonfly¹ chair (and dragonfly wall art) were commissioned from upholsterer Emma Meteslaar of boutique upholstery collective The Makers Yard.
The master bathroom features a Coco upholstered bed by Loaf.com and Moroccan brass topped side tables from Mineheart. The dressing area is zoned with a stunning leather Concord Chair by Thomas Pederson for Stouby, at Couch Potato Company, and a bespoke tan and cream cow hide footstool was commissioned from Jo Johnson of the Makers Yard as before.
A roof terrace is such a rare luxury in London, as it offers private outdoor space with a wonderful view. The roof terrace at Quickswood is no exception. Boasting a terrace kitchenette for alfresco entertaining and dining, it has ample space for a dining chair & sun loungers, and is equipped to take a future hot tub! For now the owners simply want to enjoy the peace and quiet above the traffic and prying eyes, so Clare furnished it with a pair of Eames Shaggy rockers, that sport a beautiful sheepskin cover designed and made by the Couch Potato Company to compliment the Eames RAR chair.
The window treatments have been kept purposely simple throughout, with the use of light oak wood slat venetian blinds by Pascoe Interiors to further underscore the simplicity of the base design. Venetian blinds offer flexible privacy without the loss of light, which can be easily controlled to filter and direct the light streaming in the sunny South front elevation, that turns to an amazing fire red as evening descends.
Throughout the house, the use of the same colour overall simple colour palette of ash and white gives the house an overwhelming air of calm and peace, and the way the light filters through the slot openings, split levels and open stairs gives it a serene and private air.
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