A Cozy Minimal London Remodel with Clever Clutter Concealing Ideas — House Tour

Name: Zane and Aldo
Location: London, UK
Size: 860 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned

We lived together in Australia before moving to London in 2014 on a work transfer. We were only going to be here for two years, but we fell in love with the city and decided to stay. Aldo works as a Senior Designer in a prominent architectural firm, and Zane became COO of the tech consultancy 101 Ways.

We were already living in Borough and knew we wanted to stay here. We had our eye on the apartment—a characterful warehouse conversion on a quiet street near Borough Market—from the beginning. So, when it came on the market in 2016, we jumped at the chance to buy it.

The apartment offered a generous amount of natural light and outdoor space, both rare commodities in London. It had been a rental property for almost a decade, so was in a sorry state and in desperate need of attention; particularly in relation to the layout, which didn’t make the best use of the space.

Moving so recently from Australia we had no furniture of our own, so we started with a clean slate and enjoyed finding pieces that would work in the space we’d created. While it was financially daunting, design-wise it was liberating to put our stamp on it.

When he has the time, Aldo is a keen painter, so we have some of his art on display alongside other pieces we have collected while travelling. They serve as inspiration when designing the space.

The space is minimalist yet remains homely, as we have essentially edited it down to include only the elements we connect with. A tough job and one we would think twice about doing again, but it was absolutely a labour of love. Waking up every morning to light pouring through the windows, we know it was totally worth the effort.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Cozy minimalism. Clean lines; uncluttered spaces with a hint of surprise in every room. Visually calm surroundings where you want to relax and put your feet up.

Inspiration: Aldo’s artwork; pieces and trinkets collected during our travels; modern, relaxed restaurants; foreign cultures (particularly local experiences that are off the beaten track); contemporary galleries; design museums; boutique hotels; as well as architectural and culinary media.

Favorite Element: The copious amount of natural light that comes from large windows on three sides of the apartment.

And the kitchen. It is a cook’s kitchen; it has lots of clever tricks to make typically dominant elements disappear. The bins, microwave, toaster—even hanging space for wet tea towels—are cleverly concealed. Sometimes guests can’t even find the fridge, which is amusing.

Biggest Challenge: The logistics and risks of designing and planning the renovation prior to completion of the property purchase. We couldn’t commit to anything before exchange of contracts took place as we didn’t want to end up with a whole load of furniture, and nowhere to put it!

We used the buying period to spend time planning and researching everything from materials and fixtures and fittings to contractors and suppliers so that we could start the day after we got the keys.

Proudest DIY: Bedside tables. It seemed that we spent an inordinate amount of time talking about which ones to buy, continually debating the trade-off between costs, style and functionality. In the end we opted for budget IKEA Tarva pine bedside tables, which we painted the same colour as the bedroom feature wall, and had glass cut to size for the top surface. The tables are now designed to fit our personality and yet totally functional with an open shelf for device charging and a drawer to store our possessions out of sight.

Biggest Indulgence: The white Knoll Saarinen dining table and four orange Knoll Bertoia dining chairs. We purchased two additional white Bertoia chairs for the guest room, which we use when we have extra guests.

Best Advice: Be honest about your needs. Examples for us include:

  • We prefer showers to baths, so we gave up the bath in the main bathroom to accommodate a laundry area (which was previously lacking) and a shower.
  • After long days, we often eat dinner on the couch. We didn’t want to hunch over a coffee table, so we opted for side tables that overhang the couch.

Resources:

PAINTS & COLORS
Feature elements (e.g. steel column) — Little Greene Lamp Black (228)
Feature walls, doors, bedside tables — Little Greene Scree (227)
Everything else — Little Greene Loft White (222)

LIVING ROOM
Amor Corner Sofa & Cushions (Fabric: Stone) — Camerich
Montis Annex Side Tables — Clippings
Hay Square Side Table — Clippings
Black Fatboy Footrests — Clippings
Mart Armchair — B&B Italia
Apotema Rug (Blue) — Calligaris
Bespoke Floating Media Unit — Barnaby Reynolds

DINING ROOM
Knoll Saarinen Dining Table — Material Life
Knoll Bertoia Side Chairs (Orange Red, White base) — Material Life
Hem Lift 6 Wall Shelf — Hem
Arod Floor Lamp — Ikea
Turned Leg Planter — West Elm

KITCHEN
Bespoke Kitchen Joinery — Barnaby Reynolds
Linear Black Matt Splashback Tiles — Topps Tiles
Nero Assoluto Granite Benchtop — Touchstone
Geometric Storage Jars — Weylandts
Delonghi Coffee Machine — Amazon
Morphy Richards Kettle — Amazon
Salt and Pepper Grinders — Le Creuset
Smeg SFP109B Single Built In Electric Oven — Smeg
Smeg SR264XGH 4 Burner Gas Hob — Smeg
Hektar Pendant Lamp — Ikea

MAIN BEDROOM
Furl Air Storage Bed — Furl
Tarva Bedside Tables — Ikea
Arod Table Lamps — Ikea
Malm Chest of Drawers — Ikea
Bedding, Throws and Cushions — John Lewis

GUEST BEDROOM
Minster Storage Bed — Warren Evans
Alex Desk — Ikea
Knoll Bertoia Side Chairs (White, White base) — Material Life
Arod Floor Lamp — Ikea
Hitchcock Table Lamp — Heals
Bedding, Throws and Cushions — John Lewis

BATHROOMS
Matt White Metro Wall Tiles —
Tons of Tiles
Grey Floor Tiles — Topps Tiles
Bathroom Fixtures, Fittings — Soak
Nero Assoluto Granite Benchtop — Touchstone
Round Ensuite Mirror —Ikea
Vintage Amber Glass Scientific Containers — Street Market in Copenhagen
Ensuite Washbasin and Cabinet — Kohler

HEATING/COOLING
Anthracite Wall Radiators — Soak
White Wall Radiators — Soak
Nest Smart Thermostat — Nest

OUTDOOR SPACE
Fatboy Formitable Table — Clippings
Hay Hee Dining Chair — Clippings
Loll Designs Adirondack Lounge Chair — Surface Matter
Decking Boards — Recycled Plastic (Black) – Saige Decking

Thanks, Aldo and Zane!


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